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.
Well it's not really a vote for a contest or anything like that. I just thought it would be fun to review some of our changes from 2012 and see which top 3 features mattered to you most. Below is a list of some of the more major enhancements we have made this year. To get the full list, go to our changelist page (aka, "What's new"). You can "vote" by replying to the blog in the comments section with your top 3 choices from the year. One thing I noticed while compiling this list is that our programming team could never be accused of being slackers. There are a bunch of other improvements that would invoke sleep if I listed them, but they are necessary to run a site ( aka, update hardware <yawn>, etc), as well as a ton of bug fixes, etc. So nice work team GSD!
Top features from 2012:
- Launch the Background Burner
- Add custom signature option for Bmails
- Add ability for buyers to leave feedback without logging in
- Add mobile site
- Add ability to mouse over item image to zoom
- Add Lexity Live to stat pages
- Add new rewards for tokens (i.e. massage by Helga) ... (continued)
Lots of great news from Bonanza headquarters. First, Bill decided that no one is going to eat the case of Fig Newtons (aka mini bricks) he bought from Costco and we have finally been given the green light to remove them from our snack cache at the office and hand them out as Christmas gifts to unsuspecting family members. That means that there is a Costco delivery in our future and a potential riot at my house on Christmas morning. Woo Hoo!
The other good news is that there are some serious sales happening on Bonanza but you already know that. November numbers smashed last year and December is shaping up to be a humdinger of a month, by a wide margin! No doubt, those who are taking advantage of our Google Shopping Advertising Programare realizing many sales, but another great stat from this holiday season is that Bonanza is seeing a 60%+ increase in direct visitors over last year! A direct visitor is a visitor who comes to Bonanza directly vs a search engine or referral link or other non direct source. In short, shoppers are remembering where to go to find "Everything but the Ordinary" and more... (continued)
Just in time for this one to be relevant, today we are launching shipping arrival estimates for our holiday buyers.
The range of time we estimate depends on a handful factors
- Time that the seller has stated that their items will be shipped within (see Sell -> Edit Booth Options -> Shipping & Returns)
- Shipping method specified when setting up item (e.g., "UPS 3 day shipping")
- Historical time taken to mark an item as shipped
- Location of seller and buyer
In the case where we detect the item may not arrive by Christmas, we make the buyer aware of that as follows
If you ship faster than our estimates predict, please do update your handling time as mentioned above, or edit your item(s) to specify the expedited shipping options you offer. Last minute holiday shoppers are here for the taking, just gotta go get them!
For our blog-reading sellers, here's a quick sneek peak at how we'll be promoting your booths this Friday and over the weekend to Cyber Monday:
That's right -- top of the home page, front and center. Each seller has the chance for 15 minutes of fame* as our holiday gift to you.
Here's how it works: starting Black Friday at midnight, we'll begin showcasing the two most recently published booth coupons. Booth coupons can be created by visiting "Sell on Bonanza" -> "Edit Booth Options" -> "Discounts & Coupons." From there you can create coupons, and publish up to two of them per month.
After your coupon has been showcased on the home page, buyers will still have the chance to find your booth by browsing the coupon categories, which we will prominently link on the top left of the page.
My advice: log in this weekend, publish a coupon, and take advantage of the free advertising. And thanks for helping us make this November one of our largest growth months in Bonanza history so far, let's keep on selling and enjoy the ride!
* It's not actually timed at 15 minutes, it just cycles as new coupons come in. The actual length... (continued)
Happy holidays to all of our buyers and sellers! With sales increasing by almost 100% here over the last three months, we certainly have plenty to celebrate this holiday season. That said, while we've been thrilled with our progress capturing the hearts of so many buyers, we remain committed to solidifying Bonanza's position as the best destination to visit when browsing for merchandise that is better than ordinary.
To that end, we will later today be updating booths so that buyers no longer need to click a button every time they reach the end of a page. Instead, when they hit the end of a page, they will see something like this:
Why make this change now? It's all about keeping the buyer locked into the browsing experience. It was about a year ago that we moved item search from click-based pagination to automatic pagination. We immediately saw the number of buyers who reached page two jump. Currently, about 45% of buyers make it to page 2 in search, vs 15% of buyers that make it to page 2 of a booth. The rationale here is that the less distraction to the buyer, the more engrossed they can become in the hunt... (continued)
While the rest of the country is busy voting for the new administration and measures, the Bonanza team is busy with our own initiatives. One of them is updating our categories to be more in line with eBay's categories. We are also in the process of updating all of our traits to be more in line with what eBay has for item traits. If you are wondering why, well, for several reasons. One, it is going to make importing from eBay a much more streamlined process for our sellers (If you have ever imported from eBay then you surely are aware of items coming over missing key traits and such) and make shopping easier for buyers. Secondly, eBay probably spent billions of dollars figuring out which are the best categories and traits for sellers and buyers and there really is no need to reinvent the wheel (thank you eBay). Thirdly, we had an election at our office and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of this measure. Plus any reasons Bill wants to add (always give myself an out).
During that process you may notice that an item for two were moved from one category to another or in some... (continued)
Good morning Bonanzlers. We are continuing to upgrade the hard drives on our main database server. In the meantime, we are running off our previous database server, which was fast and fancy back in 2010, but can't really keep up with the traffic of Bonanza in 2012. We have multiple technicians working to get the real database back up and running, my best guess is that it should be online again between 8am-9am PST. Until then, page load will be slow or broken, so you are probably best advised to hold off using the site if possible until a bit later this morning when the database upgrade is complete.
Thanks for your understanding.
Update 8am: Main database is back online. Speed is returning to normal. Time for breakfast.
You love the different, the unique, the extraordinary. That’s precisely why you sell on Bonanza. So, when it comes to getting funding to fuel the success of your online business, why would you want to tap out your personal credit or jump through hoops at your local bank that won’t give you a decision for weeks?
Bonanza chose to partner with Kabbage because it is the simplest way to get quick cash for unique businesses like yours. Kabbage serves thousand of small businesses with instant access from $500 to $50,000.
By raising money with Kabbage, you’ll have the cash you need to buy inventory, supplies or even to hire more staff. You can sign up with Kabbage in as little as 7 minutes and have cash deposited into your PayPal account in seconds. What’s great about using Kabbage is that you don't have to use the cash if you don’t need it. You are only assessed a fee when you take cash.
Now you can avoid the hassle of dealing with humorless loan officers, and you won’t even have to wait in line for a teller. With Kabbage, you’re a few clicks away from getting the cash you... (continued)
So you did not book the chapel in enough time to have that wedding on 11/11/11? No bigs, you can get married today! Already married? Well then go buy a lottery ticket, hit the track, have a Vice Presidential debate why don't you! People are celebrating 10/11/12 in many different fashions and there is no reason why you should not go and get your game on today.
If those options do not flip your pancake then you can hang out on Bonanza and maybe have a live chat with a Bonanza support agent? Maybe you would instead like to make hand picked lists and background burn the images on your list? Maybe checkout some of the newest browsing features added to the site? In case you have not guessed, we are celebrating 10/11/12 by adding more features to the site.
"Add ability to have an online chat with support for Gold and Platinum members"
Subscribing Gold and Platinum members now have the ability to engage in a live chat with members of the world famous Bonanza Support Team! If you have not already, first sign up for a Gold or Platinum Membership(What are you waiting... (continued)
We tried to resist. We wanted to allow personalization. We wanted to showcase the type of professional photography that captures buyers' attention. We wanted to show coupons and new items.
But we can't resist.
As of our next update, Bonanza will be launching a new old home page that will look quite familiar to any of our longtime Bonanzlers.
This home page update is the first step in a revised strategy that is going to refocus our efforts back on our core strength: eveything but the ordinary. Fashion is certainly an important part of the "everything but the ordinary" equation. But so too are crafts, collectibles, home decor, and the many other categories that thrive on Bonanza over other marketplaces.
In the weeks to come, we will be following this update with others that make Bonanza into the most browse-friendly marketplace. We want to build an experience that snatches attention at the home page, and then straps the buyer in for a ride through the booths, hand picked lists, and search results that align most perfectly with their interests. "Serendipity engine" is our internal buzzword for the experience. We will know we have succeeded when you find yourself on Bonanza, wondering what... (continued)
Q. Who has the most badass programming team on the internet? Facebook? Twitter? A. Well they may have a respectable team but pound for pound, the Bonanza programming team has to be one of the most productive online (in addition to their mad ping pong skills)! For example, from our "What's New" list from today:
Freshen look of My Bonanza page.
Fix an assortment of reasons that eBay items wouldn't export.
Incorporate suggestions for higher ranking Google items.
Create brief overview page for how Bonanza Ads work.
Allow suggestion of non-existing trait from new item form.
Be more explicit with Facebook about which item picture it should use.
Fix wretched formatting of Tweet box from item detail page.
Allow user to change the eBay ID they export with.
Show FVF percentage of each offer on user's bill.
Fix back button not always working when traversing from search -> item -> search.
If you visit your My Bonanza page you will see a cleaner look and a much easier page to navigate. Bill mentioned that he is not done with that page so stay tuned.
You should also note the entry, "Allow suggestion... (continued)
Well, it doesn't seem to be working in its current form. In a recent article on EcommerceBytes, Social Networking Not Driving Sales to Online Marketplaces, Ina Steiner of Ecommercebytes writes:
Combined, the top three social networking traffic-drivers - Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter - accounted for just 1.1% of the total 100 million visitors to these marketplaces.
I could almost hear a collective sigh of relief from sellers who felt pressured to participate in social networking in order to drive sales. Comments posted to the article seem to support my intuition: "You just saved me a boat load of time. I'm done tweeting," "I gave up on the social sites eons ago," "I feel this social e-commerce is a MAJOR time suck." I also heard from several friends outside of e-commerce with similar feelings.
Let's back up
Before you give up on your social media campaign, let's look at what social networking actually is. Per Dictionary.com:
- the development of social and professional contacts; the sharing of information and services among people with a common interest.
This definition pretty much sums up how many people view social networks. Nowhere in the definition does it imply sales,... (continued)
Since we launched Bonanza nearly four years ago, it has always been our top priority to drive sales. Along the way, we've received a lot of accolades for building the best user interface (AuctionBytes 2012), being the best marketplace for Collectibles/Antiques (About.com), or even being the best eBay alternative period (Ecommerce Guide), but at the end of the day we see our tools as a means to an end. It's great to be the most feature-rich, easy-to-use marketplace, and it's great to have the best support team we could hope for...but that stuff is really just the backdrop for our main purpose: helping stores make sales.
With that in mind, we are soon launching our biggest paradigm-shifting feature ever to drive more sales to our sellers' booths.
In the next couple days, we will be releasing an advertising platform that lets our sellers publish their Bonanza merchandise to Google Shopping (prominently featured, see screenshot) or eBay. In the coming months, we plan to add Bing Shopping and at least one other shopping platform.
The way the new platform will work is that you choose the maximum level of commission you can afford for your product, and we get you as many... (continued)
As many of you have keenly observed in the forums over the last few weeks, we have slowly been rolling out Lexity Live to our merchants, allowing them to watch buyers browse their store and buy items in real time. We're excited to announce that, as of today, all Bonanza stores now have built-in access to Lexity Live.
Lexity Live lets you see what pages your buyers are viewing, which products they are putting in the shopping cart, and how they move from page to page. Once you're signed up, you can check out your store's Lexity Live dashboard any time to see what your customers are doing. You can signup now by visiting your "My Bonanza" page and clicking the link to "View buyers in real time."
- Monitor what pages every visitor currently in your store is viewing, up to the second; drill down to unique visitors with one click
- Find out which of your visitors are in the shopping cart, and where your visitors drop off
- View detailed, real-time path reportsfor unique visitors with real-time visitor tracking
- See the effects of your marketing campaigns immediately withreal-time website traffic statistics
- Understand your business better with detailed statistics including keywords,... (continued)
Bill's Grandpa and Bill pretending to play Ping Pong
It's true. Managed Merchants on Bonanza have access to our live telephone support line that is answered by a real human between the hours of 9am and 5pm (PST), Monday through Friday. So if you call, do not be surprised if you hear a ping pong battle (lol investors, we are totally kidding! It's actually a recording of a ping pong game, so that they think we are a lean start up) or a Scategories game in progress. New merchants are given the option to be a Managed Merchant upon creating their booth. Existing merchants can sign up via their "Sales Booster Dashboard" linked on your My Bonanza page. The support number is located on the "Contact" page which is linked at the footer of each Bonanza page.
No matter where you sell at online, the pending Google changesthat Bill blogged about in May have been on many minds, including ours. We wanted to let you know that we are feverishly working on several initiatives on Bonanza to compensate for any inconvenience from Google Shopping moving to a 100% paid model on October 1st, 2012. While we are... (continued)