Relentless Simplicity - The Bonanza Blog
Welcome to the Bonanza Blog! Here you will find all the latest news about our online marketplace, with timely stories about how to get the most out of your selling online and effectively manage your online shop.
We'd like to extend a huge thank you! to all our sellers who participated in this year's annual seller survey. After gathering data for a few weeks, I wanted to share what we learned, along with the actions we plan to take in the coming year to respond to your input and keep Bonanza's distinction as "the most seller-driven marketplace" online.
Where you're coming from
Bonanza was born in a multi-channel world, and that trend clearly continued in 2014. Here are the other marketplaces you used during the past year:
The largest contingent of Bonanza sellers are those active on eBay. No big surprise there. More interesting is Amazon's emergence as the runner-up platform, now representing almost half as many Bonanza sellers as eBay. I believe this is a testament to having built a toolset that can handle the needs of both small and large stores. With all the great merchandise listed on Amazon, we are excited about the opportunity to provide an increasing number of Amazon sellers with a platform that's more affordable and less anonymous. The key to repeat customers is to build a relationship with the buyer, and we will continue to help you cultivate those relationships.... (continued)
What a start to the holiday season for Bonanza sellers! It has already been one heck of a Q3/Q4, between the launches of Webstores, Direct Checkout, Affiliate Program, and Background Burner Pro (not to mention the recently lowered price of Shipping Labels, our top-voted feature from the feedback site). Even by Bonanza standards, our programming team really outdid themselves this quarter. They get a cookie. Most websites wouldn't be able to launch that many big features in a year, let alone 4 months.
Yeah, it's about that time
Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview, we can finally begin to gauge what kind of impact these new additions have had on our sellers' bottom line.
Put it in context
Before jumping into our numbers, it is worth noting for context that its been a good start to the holiday season across the web. According to the Washington Post, ecommerce sales were up an average of 12.6% amongst their surveyed retailers. Comscore was even more bullish, measuring an average increase of 29% over Black Friday & Cyber Monday. From the improving economy to the proliferation of mobile connectivity, it's a great time... (continued)
Have you been thinking about opening a standalone store for the holidays, but you're not up to speed on the tradeoffs between a marketplace and a standalone store?
Then you're in luck: Today's infographic provides a nice introduction to the differences, pro's and con's of each option. (Hint: If you want the best of both worlds, open a Bonanza Webstore. You'll get a standalone website, plus access to one of the world's biggest online marketplaces, all in one.)
Help us get the word out by sharing this gorgeous graphic on your favorite social network! Click if you want a giant version.
If you've been buying and printing shipping labels using Bonanza, then you may have noticed a nice surprise this week: The price of USPS postage on Bonanza is now lower than ever before.
Just in time for the busy holiday buying season, Bonanza sellers now get access to "Commercial Plus" (CPP) discounted shipping prices - automatically. That's more cash in your pocket, and more savings to pass along to your customers. Consider it an early stocking stuffer.
What is CPP pricing?
Commercial Plus Pricing is the absolute best discount offered by the US Postal Service, and it's only offered to large-volume customers like Bonanza. CPP is cheaper than Commercial Base Pricing (CBP) and significantly cheaper than retail pricing. So when you sell on Bonanza, don't buy your postage down at the post office - save money by buying and printing your postage labels directly inside of Bonanza.
How do I get the discount?
It's easy. You get it automatically, every time you buy postage on Bonanza. Just click "Buy shipping" from the order summary page (or the notification email) for any order you receive. For an in-depth description of Bonanza's online postage system and how to use it, please see... (continued)
As holiday shoppers get their hineys into gear, there's one thing we as online sellers know we can count on: Procrastination. We love the increased sales that November and December bring, but all the last-minute orders can cause timing headaches. Especially if you ship holiday merch using multiple carriers.
To help you plan your shipping strategy, our pals at ShipStation made this infographic to let you see, at a glance, when you're getting down-to-the-wire with various carriers. Set it as your desktop wallpaper, or print it out for a constant, friendly reminder that the clock's a-tickin'.
(Click thumbnail to view full-size infographic.)
Just a quick note to let you know about a feature that we added a few weeks back. Sellers can now go to their "My Bonanza" page and view recent bug fixes, site updates, and improvements that we are pushing live on the site. This would be the area to get the latest updates on Bonanza (hint, we just added an update/improvement that is going to make many sellers super happy so hurry up and go look). Updates are posted constantly, within minutes of them being implemented on the site. Below is a screen shot where you can find this new feature. If you ever notice that this area is blank then not much is happening, which really means you need to send more candy to headquarters.
Responsive design looks great on every platform.
Barely a month has passed since we announced Bonanza Webstores, and already 1,000+ merchants have signed up and created their own beautiful, professional online stores. We thought this would be a good time to update you on improvements and new features we’ve added since launch.
Added: Delicious Themes
We’ve added 4 new themes (one every week!): Swiss, Baby Beluga, Otter, and Poppy. All of our themes use responsive design, meaning they automatically look amazing on every platform - desktop, mobile and tablet.
You can check out the new themes at our demo store, http://www.ATestableStore.com. Try out different themes using the theme-preview bar at the top of the page. And be sure to view it on your smartphone - they look great, even on a tiny mobile screen.
Improved: Custom Page Menus
When editing your homepage, now you can specify navigation for your custom pages. (Previously, it listed all pages and wasn’t configurable.) To customize the menu, click the blue box next to “Products” in the customize/edit homepage view. The box will say "Edit page navigation” if you haven’t added any pages yet.
Improved: Featured Items
Your Webstore homepage can show a... (continued)
Webstores coming at you on every platform!
I know we just released a giant new feature last week (our Bonanza Affiliates program), but why stop there? Today, we’re announcing our next big feature: Bonanza Webstores. It’s your ticket to getting your very own, customizable, standalone ecommerce website.
I already sell on Bonanza, how can I benefit from a Webstore?
As you build your online business, selling at a marketplace like Bonanza gets you up and running quickly - sales can start right away thanks to our direct visitors and our Broadcaster network of search partners. But as your business grows and you start to build a unique brand, getting a standalone website also becomes an attractive option.
- A standalone website offers a dedicated home for your business, to print on business cards and link to in social media
- It gives you control over your site’s visual design, to more closely represent the tone of your brand
- It can make your business look more professional, especially if you use a custom domain name (www.YourCompany.com)
How is a Bonanza Webstore different from other website builders?
We think Bonanza Webstores are uniquely well-suited for existing Bonanza sellers, because we built it... (continued)
Yet again we have outgrown database server, and tonight we will be moving to a biggernewerfaster box.
Here it is gathering all the power in the universe to prepare for some x-treme data processing:
We'll be bringing the site down at 10:30pm PST to make the switch. If all goes well, we hope to be back online (and faster!) by 11pm PST.
Since so many of you spent the time to let us know what was important to you, I thought it would be fun to follow up on this survey and see the progress that we've made on your requests.
As a refresher, here's what was voted for by you, the users:
Done so far
More Advertising Committed $1m to advertising in 2014. Also added several new advertising channels for our sellers (Bing Shopping, TheFind, Nextag, eBay, and Pricegrabber) on March 4th, 2104. Added advertising by Affiliate Program in the past week. We project the sum of these new channels to result in tens of millions of new buyers to your products over the next year.
Better Ability to Bulk List/Bulk Edit Listings Added an Amazon importer January 2014, to import and synchronize your Amazon inventory. Opened our eBay importer sync tool for all sellers, March... (continued)
Another week, another megafeature launch at Bonanza. This is one we’ve been working on for several months now, based on the belief that it will (slowly) become our #1 or #2 source of buyer traffic.
Banner ad for affiliates
What is it?
Judging by the title of this blog post, it is the Bonanza Affiliates Program!
Affiliate programs are not a new idea. eBay has one. Amazon has one, which is purported to drive up to 40% of their buyer traffic. The basic concept is that if you run a blog, reviews site, or some other web property that generates meaningful traffic, you can turn that traffic into revenue by joining an affiliate program. Ideally, ours.
What makes Bonanza’s Affiliate Program different?
We made a list. But in a nutshell: we pay about twice as much as the “web's most popular affiliate program" (Amazon). And unlike other affiliate programs, we pay the publisher not only in dollars, but in new subscribers to their blog or website.
I’m a Bonanza seller (or prospective seller). What does this mean for me?
More sales. That you don’t have to pay a dime for until we find buyers for you.
One of Bonanza's most requested features is now live and ready for use, direct checkout! Beginning today, sellers who meet the criteria for this feature can now accept credit and debit cards for buyer purchases on Bonanza. Direct checkout will take Bonanza's checkout process from 5 pages and 3-5 minutes (mostly spent waiting for PayPal to load) to 2 pages and under one minute for return buyers. We expect that this increased ease of checkout will drive higher conversion rates, as well as an increase in return customers.
Direct checkout will help pave the way for fun initiatives like allowing shoppers to add an additional item to their order after checkout, or subscribe to getting regular items from sellers. Neither of these ideas will be implemented immediately, but are representative of the increased latitude we now have with direct checkout being live. Direct checkout will allow shoppers from around the world to use a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card when they are shopping on Bonanza from sellers who have enabled this payment method, without shoppers being redirected away from Bonanza.
Direct checkout is currently available for sellers who:
Have an active Bonanza selling account with multiple transactions... (continued)
At Bonanza, we work hard to help our sellers be successful. For example, we all know that setting your product images against a white background (instead of your messy garage floor) looks nicer for shoppers and can increase sales conversion. That's why we built and launched our Background Burner tool in 2012 to do exactly that: remove the backgrounds from your product images, automatically.
Our seller community has already made Background Burner a huge success, with millions of product images Burned. But it's always nice to get some "formal" recognition! This week, no less than TIME Magazine recognized Background Burner in its 50 Best Websites of 2014 for being a great service.
If you haven’t tried Background Burner yet, there are two ways to use it:
- Integrated with Bonanza seller tools. While editing any of your product listings, click the "Background Burner" button under the product photo to remove the background.
- As a stand-alone web app. Go to http://www.bonanza.com/background_burner to upload any photo, and even replace the background with a different image. (Also great for Photochopping your buddy Mark.)
We're honored and humbled at this international media recognition.... (continued)
Hot weather, hot sales, and happy customers
About the only thing hotter than the weather this Summer has been the increase in sales on Bonanza. Whereas a normal Summer means sagging sales, this year has been unique, with sales and GMV surging (and setting new record highs) with every passing month. It is with this backdrop that we know we must be focused on ensuring all of these transactions result in happy buyers and word-of-mouth growth that benefits the entire selling community.
Keeping out-of-stock refunds to a minimum is essential to that goal. When a customer receives a refund for an out-of-stock purchase, their impression of Bonanza is an unfavorable one. Finding something to buy has an air of excitement that comes with it. When this excitement is dashed by a refund before receiving the item, it creates a negative experience that buyers remember and avoid. Being a collective marketplace means that the refunds of one seller can result in lost sales for other sellers. This is what we seek to avoid as sales keep getting hotter.
Read on to learn more about how we track refund rates and... (continued)