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.
This Sunday, May 12th, most will be celebrating a very special lady in their lives, their mother. Moms are the glue that hold our families together. They are the anchor that keep us grounded. Moms bring calm and reasoning in situations that would otherwise send you in a different direction. Thank you to all of our mothers for everything you do. May your day be filled with beautiful flowers, a delicious breakfast in bed, and lots of love. Now a word of advice from Mr. T.
Our web hosts are going to be taking our servers on an exciting adventure this upcoming Friday morning, as they relocate their facilities north into Seattle. They have estimated that the migration will begin at 12am PST on Friday morning and be complete by 4am PST Friday.
The site will be unavailable during this window, but should be up and running by 4am PST. Thanks for your understanding.
Update 6:35am PST
The server techs are still working on getting systems operational. We have half our normal web servers online, as well as our database, but they've still got quite a bit to do to get things running normally again. Current page loads are slow whilst they scramble to get the rest of the web servers (and all the behind-the-scenes servers) functional. Though they don't have an official estimate on their completion time yet, I'd wager it's at least 1-2 hours off. Stay tuned...
Update 7:35am PST
Getting closer to normal. All web servers are back online, as well as search. Still working on getting our behind-the-scenes servers running, so stuff like long batch edits won't work yet. Rate of progress seems to be increasing though, hopefully we can be fully operational... (continued)
Over the last four years, almost every page of Bonanza has gone through one, two, or more evolutions as we continually get feedback to improve what we have to offer. The Bonanza forums have been the exception to this -- they still look, feel, and offer an experience that is largely unchanged since Bonanza's earliest days.
This is partially because we think the forums have delivered a ton of value to users in their current form. But as time passes, we have seen more and more cracks in the forums' ability to deliver on the goals we have in mind for them:
- Upbeat, positive introduction to Bonanza for new users
- Place to swap tips on how to maximize selling effectiveness
- Free opportunity promote booth
- Location to keep users up-to-date on what's new on Bonanza without all the overhead of blogging
Since our launch, we have witnessed sites like Etsy significantly cut back on the breadth of topics covered in their forums, while newer sites like Addoway, Copious, and the like don't even offer forums at all. I'm not aware of any credible marketplace launched in the last three years that even has forums.
For our part, we have always had... (continued)
If you visit our changelist on Bonanza then you are already aware of our often updated programming journal which lists bug fixes, new updates and features as they go live. So if you want to be "in the know," make sure and keep an eye on that page. Here are some recent items to note:
"Show larger images in search results"
This one has not been added to our changelist yet but it is just about ready to be launched. Shoppers will now be treated to an even more appealing search with much larger images. Make sure the images you are using for your main image are tops. Great pictures sell items so be sure to use all of the tools available to you to make that happen, including our background burner!
"Add magic brush to Background Burner"
If you have not used our background burner recently then now would be a good time to get reacquanted with this lovely photo editing tool. We have added new features and continue to optimize this Bonanza exclusive tool. Rumor has it that Bill is going to lift the already low fees for our background burner and make it free... (continued)
When is the last time you used our feature Saved Item Search? Homie say what? You mean you have never heard of this feature? Have no idea where to find this gem? Well then this here blog is dedicated to you my good friend (aka "homie").
A Saved Item Search will automatically keep you updated on a daily or weekly basis when new items are posted to Bonanza. First created for buyers to shop, we found that many sellers use this tool to keep a pulse on newly listed items in categories that interest them. Setting up a saved item search is easy peasy. To do so, go to your "My Bonanza" page and locate and click on the "Saved Searches" icon.
Once on your Saved Item Searches page you can click on the "Create a new saved search" icon to get started. If you have existing searches you can also manage them from this page.
- This is where you will enter the title of your search (this is for your reference and will not influence the search results).
- Here is where you would enter your search terms (i.e. "Civil War"). You can edit this at any time to... (continued)
I wanted to give a heads up about a new featured we launched yesterday in Bonanza search: the ability to supplement search results with Amazon products when Bonanza has little to no inventory that matches a particular search query.
This feature is designed to fix the situation when a buyer comes to Bonanza and wants to find something that is ordinary, or a commodity (things we don't specialize in). For example, if a user comes to Bonanza seeking accessories for "Halo 4 limited edition," they would find just one lonely result:
This is not a surprise. As has been established, new video games are not an area that Bonanza is trying to excel at, so the results for a query like this are limited. And given the limited quality of our results, we can either leave the buyer with the impression that Bonanza was the wrong place to search, or we can show that even when we are short on results, we can still help them find exactly what they seek. Amazon to the rescue:
A couple key points about this implementation should be noted:
- Amazon results are not shown when we have more than 20 results for the query the... (continued)
This short user anecdote sent to us recently from Kabbage.com, about a Bonanza seller who had tried Kabbage. I thought it sweet:
My name is Mohamed Rachadi and I am the owner of Morach Regulatory. Our main selling focus is pest management supplies.
I started in the ecommerce world in 2002. We were an import and export company and selling online internationally made the most sense for us economically. At first it we sold our products through our own website and now we sell on Bonanza, eBay, and Amazon.
I first learned about Kabbage through an ad I saw on Bonanza. I thought this was a very creative idea! I applied and was approved in 5 minutes. We have to be very competitive with our pricing in this business and Kabbage has afforded us the opportunity to do that.
It has been very easy to do business with Kabbage. I appreciate how quickly the funds are made available to you. No one else is capable of giving you funds so quickly. I know that with the help from Kabbage my business will meet our goal of a 40% profit margin!
Update Monday Afternoon
Our landlord called and said that he has been unable to get clearance for us to house a limitless number of sick and infirm animals, so it looks like we'll have to put the BPE on hold for now. Thanks to everyone who sent in their animals, we will get them mailed back to you ASAP.
Seems like we always have such rotten luck with the new features we launch on April 1...
Original Post as Follows
Successful business is built on identifying opportunity and becoming the leader of a niche.
When it comes to Bonanza, this can be difficult, because our sellers span such a wide breadth of categories that picking one niche to focus on can be challenging. But after talking with family and friends, we've realized there is one crucial niche that no business has yet to fill.
Today we're excited to announce that we will be closing down the Fashion Exchange, and replacing it with the Bonanza Pet Exchange (BPE). We're confident that the BPE will offer an experience unlike any other you'll find online.
Cocker Spaniel to your doorstep, packaged with love & care
What To Do When Pets Become Pests?
Every year,... (continued)
This morning we're unveiling a new opportunity for our sellers to earn tokens: helping to build our item catalog.
What is the Bonanza Catalog?
Amazon has built one of the most valuable assets in all the ecommerce land by cataloging all of their products, such that reviews & smart product recommendations are possible. The challenge with bringing this powerful sales booster to a marketplace like Bonanza is that most of our products don't have a unique identifier. Until now, to add an item to a product catalog, a marketplace would need an ISBN, UPC, or MPN. However, after several months of programming, we have developed & patented a means by which a product catalog can be applied to "long tail" (i.e., rare) merchandise like that sold on Bonanza.
The product catalog is not yet visible on Bonanza since we are still working to flesh it out, but we are hoping to present it within the few weeks.
What is the Catalog Builder?
One data point needed to catalog items is the manufacturer of the item. While our servers are pretty smart (and getting smarter) at figuring out manufacturers, we still need some human assistance to pick out the company that created a certain product. Enter... (continued)
Alright Bonanzle Action Club members, it's time to step it up! Yeah, we are approaching one million users, but you know what would be cooler? A billion users. Can you help us make it happen? Can you even remember the BAC? Seems like yesterday but that was now over four years ago. Who can remember Bizzy and her grand entrance (and exit)? Good times indeed!
We are literally days away from welcoming our one millionth user which is freaking awesome! We are thrilled to have hit this milestone in such short time. Reaching this number is only possible thanks to our amazing community who continue to organize and carry out events like the "Millionth User" promotion (follow the link to sign up now, it is not too late!). Our one millionth user will be given a welcome that can only rival what it must feel like to win the lottery. There are a "Bonanza" of gifts that will accompany salutations for this one lucky user!
Thank you to all past, present, and future Bonanzlers! Because of you we are. Your excitement and adoption of Bonanza are what motivates us every single day. We see your success on... (continued)
A couple quick updates we thought you may want to be in the loop about:
"New" Lexity Features
Well, it might not quite be "new" anymore (launched a couple weeks ago), but in My Bonanza, there is a menu item called “View buyers in real time” from our friends at Lexity. Lexity recently enhanced this feature with several more tabs so you get lots more info to help you run your business:
- Insights tab - gives you analysis of your store's traffic and makes helpful suggestions.
- Traffic & Revenue tab - shows you graphically the sources of traffic to your site such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest, and more. You can use checkboxes to turn off and on different sources.
- History tab –provides you a graph of your traffic over the last 12 months, which you can adjust for the time period you want.
One note is that you’ll need to click on these new tabs and typically wait 48 hours for the information to be refreshed. Go check it out..!
From Our Feedback Site...
Since launching our new feedback.bonanza.coma few weeks ago, we've had a plethora of terrific suggestions submitted. In the weeks since launch, we've already implemented the following top-voted... (continued)
The results are in for the 2013 edition of the Ecommercebytes Sellers Choice awards, and with more than 11,000 sellers voting (!), Bonanza has won the "Ease of Use" category for the second consecutive year! We could not be more thrilled with this result, and we deeply appreciate those in our community that took the time to vote for us. Bonanza again had a very strong showing in all categories, ranking 3rd in "overall recommendation" and 4th in "communication," "seller support," and "profitability." These results are all the more encouraging when one considers that more than 40% of all survey respondents had experience using Bonanza, which indicates that our appeal isn't only limited to a small number of niche sellers, as is the case with some of the other marketplaces that ranked highly on the list.
One of our favorite things about the Sellers Choice awards is that it gives us the opportunity to get honest (sometimes brutally honest) feedback about what we are doing well and what we need to improve. This year, there were two primary themes amongst those that offered ideas for improvement: (1) Bonanza should try to do more to raise brand awareness amongst buyers ("do more advertising") and... (continued)
We've just added three new features to the new item form (NIF) that are worth a quick blog.
1. More room for your pictures
The standard size for Bonanza images is increasing from 125x155 pixels to 185x155 pixels. This change came about as we have seen the availability of broadband internet explode over the last couple years, to the point where it's now possible to feature much larger pictures than would have been practical back when 20% of our users accessed the site via dialup connection.
We've also changed the default cropping mechanism so that your entire picture will fit in the 185x155 window, even if it is horizontal (previously, if a picture had the wrong dimensions, we would cut off the edges). This means that even if you've cropped your pictures specifically to the old 125x155 dimensions, you will still have the entirety of your picture visible (with white borders) in the new image dimensions.
2. Upload pictures en masse
Feel the surge of productivity as it flows through your veins, as six pictures upload all together
Uploading six pictures one-by-one is no pleasure. So as of today, we are allowing you to select multiple pictures from your computer, drag them... (continued)
Since the beginning of Bonanza (then Bonanzle), providing a first class support experience has been a priority. Fortunately for us, we have a Founder/CEO who agrees and backs it up with every imaginable tool and resource that our support team desires (still waiting on the taco truck we requested a week ago!). We also have solid examples of world class customer support right here in the Pacific Northwest (Costco, Nordstroms, Starbucks, and Amazon) that we can draw on for examples on how to best serve our customers.
We receive about 10,000+ new opportunities (aka support requests) to interact with our customers every month. The majority of our requests are via email (Bonanza"Contact" page) but some are also via our Live Chat Support. We also receive requests via our numerous social networks (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc). That is quite a bit of opportunities to interact with our customers. Most of them are not "on the fence" customers or people who we have to convince to visit Bonanza, they are already here.
Having that sort of access to our customers is a prime opportunity to advertise our business. We may not be pushing specific services or items,... (continued)
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)