Update on Rush Functionality

Hi everyone.  Thanks for all the feedback on our new Rush functionality!  As I mentioned a few times before we launched, Rushes are going to require some tinkering over time.  I thought I would share some of our top findings which are based on stats, live feedback in the Rush chats, reviews of forum threads, and user testing with 'new to Bonanza' users.  Here's a quick snapshot of our top 'take-aways' from the feedback thus far.

1. Chat is buggy - we hear you and believe we have most of the bugs worked out.  Chat software is notoriously finicky so thanks for your patience.  Also, we are bringing the avatars back to booth chat soon.  

2.  The Rush notification at the top is too prominent - I understand some are concerned that the global Rush notification is perceived as too strong and taking users away from their items or booths during a Rush.  We hear you.  And while we are not going to remove the feature entirely, as we want site-wide Rush discoverability, we scaled it down to the smaller version by default last night on every page but the homepage.  It's far less prominent and we feel this is a good compromise.  You can see the smaller version on the live site, or, right below….

3.  Rush Chat is too big and/or it's bad for buyers - I saw this one a lot in the forum, but also observed lots of fun dialogue in the chat itself for those were participating in the Rush.  After watching several user tests with prospective buyers, we found that some users appreciated the chat and found it unique while others were less interested.  So, what to do when the feedback is so mixed?  First, we are going to run more user tests as we really want ‘new to Bonanza’ feedback.  It’s so important to improving the product and experience for buyers which I know everyone wants.  Second, we’re going to shrink the size of the chat about 25% to get items higher on the page.  Third, we’re going to look at re-envisioning the log-in requirement so it’s easier for buyers to chat and ask questions.  

4.  Where are the buyers?  At this point we have only held a few Rushes and some are more popular than others.  We will work on fine tuning our social outreach methods and our email subscribers are growing each day.  We expect email to be a big driver for Rush promotion.  We will also work to get all of you better promotional tools too.

5.  I can't attend the Rush due to its time slot - there really is no great answer for time-limited sales.  However, as you may have already noticed we have different Rush time slots this week.  Our first few were early morning.  Our next few are mid-day and afternoon. We will keep experimenting.  We scheduled the first few during office hours so we could address issues as they come.  Given our live bug fixes this turned out to be a good move.

6.  I can't find my items in the Rush - you have to sign up for a Rush the night before the Rush is scheduled at the latest.  If you sign-up the day of the Rush your items won't be included until that Rush is repeated.  We need to 'index' (aka ‘crawl’) all the items in a Rush before it starts and this takes some time.  We will update the Rush signup page so this is much clearer.  

That said, we did add one feature to make it easier to find your items.  Click on your username in the chat and the link that says “show username’s items.“  The page will reload showing only that user’s items.  Click the ‘x’ in the search bar to remove the filter.  

Those are the highlights for now.  We will continue to monitor Rushes and make changes of course, but I wanted to let you know we are listening!  

One last note, our Rush functionality is getting noticed.  You can read press coverage on Auction Bytes and on Seattle's top startup and technology blog - Techflash (linked below).  

- Alex

 


29 responses to Update on Rush Functionality

  • cdvdmart says:
    11/09/10 at 10:38:11

    Very cool!! Thanks so much!

  • Sofy'sSeasonal says:
    11/09/10 at 11:00:11

    THANK YOU for reducing the size of the Rush notification.

    And thank you for the avatars coming back…Pace will be beside herself lol

  • chill02wolfart says:
    11/09/10 at 11:25:48

    I think it’s great that you guys are listening to everyone’s Input. I also like the idea of the avatars coming back. Thank you.

    When experimenting with different times for Rushes, (as Critter said), evening hours would be helpful for many people.

  • CritterCreekRanch says:
    11/09/10 at 11:30:11

    Looks much better and only problem i have is wishing some rush sales will be in the evenings or weekends I have so many family members that work during the day (and do not sit at a computer) and would love to attend a rush, right now I am trying to attend the rush for them lol, and buy for them ughhhh please consider people who do NOT sit behind a desk there are alot that would love to attend if they were after work hours. overall seems like a quick coupon thingy with a rush, but some of the rush catagories are so large (alot of items) to go thru I just gave up looking

  • Lisas_TX_Treasures says:
    11/09/10 at 11:57:43

    I think overall it is a great feature and like what you all are doing to improve things.

  • alexwberg says:
    11/09/10 at 12:03:49

    @CritterCreekRanch – early evenings are coming. We want to make sure things are stable before we have Rushes occurring when we’re less likely to be at our desks. ; )

  • shellbysbooth says:
    11/09/10 at 13:04:57

    Can you schedule a rush on clothing right after the elementary kids get on the bus ??? Thats when moms can do there online shopping for clothes and thats what I sell. I have seen an uptick on sales on other sites when school started back up again.

  • bogcandle says:
    11/09/10 at 13:38:47

    Thanks for keeping us informed and for listening.

    Two questions: Are the Rushes resulting in higher sales? Since collectibles is a huge category, and chance there will be Rushes for sub-categories in the future?

  • Rosenthal says:
    11/09/10 at 14:11:10

    Thanks for the update. And thaks for the improvements.
    Question still – why not making a Rush way longer?
    Then many more people can stop by.
    We even were asking for 12 hours – what about at least 6 or 7 hours?

    Avatars back in the booths: I hope the chat feature will stay the size it is now….. somehow?

  • alexwberg says:
    11/09/10 at 14:22:42

    @Rosenthal – we’ll look at different durations too. For now we are focusing on time of day.

    As for chat, we’re only making the Rush chat shorter, not the booth chat.

  • alexwberg says:
    11/09/10 at 14:41:15

    @bogcandle – some Rushes have generated more sales than others. We’ll learn more about which categories (or subcategories) work in the Rush dynamic as we get more under our belt (so to speak).

    For example, without divulging specific sales numbers, the DVD Rush generated 5x more sales than Antiques. Likewise, today’s Rush did 2x what Antiques did. I’m sure you all have your own theories why some categories do better than others, but that’s what we have seen thus far. It’s early yet. We’ve only had four Rushes so far. ; )

  • GenericUser says:
    11/09/10 at 15:23:44

    Alex, I so appreciate EVERYTHING you boyz and girlz are doing for us!!! Understandable things are not going to be perfect in the beginning stages. I am so thankful for everything being done on our behalf to give us exposure. But, you all go above and beyond by listening to our feedback and implementing changes as you can and when appropriate based on your professional knowledge and experience. Keep up the Awesome work!

  • lol1955 says:
    11/09/10 at 15:48:53

    Thanks for all the feedback, Alex. Great to see how this is evolving; I know it is a work in progress.

  • debdoll says:
    11/09/10 at 16:18:03

    You’ve done a great job with these Rush’s so far. It was very smart to start them out when you didn’t expect top traffic in order to work the bugs out. I highly commend you all for doing that. Thanks for the update,listening to the comments, and all your hard work making BOnanza top notch!

  • sparklemotion says:
    11/09/10 at 17:47:08

    I think all the changes are good ones. I really like the new chat function to show all your Rush items.

    I’d like to see Holiday themed special Rushes (Christmas, Halloween, maybe 4th of July) but I’m not sure how that would work with the categorization requirements.

  • okiemarket09 says:
    11/09/10 at 18:46:48

    You’re all doing a great job!

  • cshort0319 says:
    11/09/10 at 20:05:59

    It would be good, I think, to schedule a dolls and bears soon, since they are often holiday gift items. A quick glance shows that there are over 30,000 items listed in this category.

  • bizzysplace says:
    11/09/10 at 20:38:09

    Personally? I hope that the avatar reappearing doesn’t happen – I don’t like it if I’m shopping, go into a booth and the ‘owner’ is sitting there – and even though I’m there to shop and not yak, I feel like I have to respond to their ‘hi’…just sayin – haven’t missed the avatars at ALL =)

  • momspennies says:
    11/09/10 at 21:00:46

    we’re going to look at re-envisioning the log-in requirement so it’s easier for buyers to chat and ask questions

    This, in my opinion, would alleviate so many issues we as sellers have because of buyers being Anonymous or unregistered. Too much confusion for the buyer and the seller, especially if they decide to come back and shop with us again. So this to me is good news.

    And personally, I don’t miss the avatars in chat. They make people less self conscious to browse and float around without being completely visible.

    Thanks for hearing us~

  • SensualPleasures says:
    11/09/10 at 21:38:57

    Great job on the Rush! I do believe there is still a bug that is not putting our items in the Rush Sales that we join. I joined last week for the one today and all of my items have been in my booth for months with correct categories. Half of the items I have did not show up in today’s Rush :(

  • alexwberg says:
    11/09/10 at 22:40:34

    @SensualPleasures – I’ll message you over bmail.

  • robinscornernest says:
    11/10/10 at 00:00:09

    Great news love all the hard work and tweaks your making as we grow and go forward. I am looking forward to my first rush Friday evening for jewelry. Even if I don’t sell anything, I want to see how it runs and really do needed fine tuning of my own.
    if i see any bug I will get to you all promptly.
    I also do not miss thew avatars. Just not necessary. How about a choice. Not just to close it but to be invisible. Just a thought. I can just picture your eyes rolling about now lol.
    But really you are all Rock Stars in my book. Rock On!! Robin

  • SweetnSassyBuyGones says:
    11/10/10 at 00:25:29

    Thanks for this update. Great job and Rush is fun and great idea.

  • AbbysAttic says:
    11/10/10 at 05:55:25

    I only spent time at the first rush. Thought it was a lot of fun. I’m thrilled the avatars are coming back. It was frustrating to have to “click” on the users, to see who was still there.

  • BookbinEtc says:
    11/10/10 at 08:06:08

    I would like to be able to click on the visitor’s name in the booth chat, and go directly to their booth. This was the method I used to make return visits to people who left me messages.

    Alex, I had children’s clothing items not included in the RUSH as well. They were in the right main cat., but in the Unisex clothing sub. All my items that were in either Girls or Boys got in. I’ve bmailed Mark about it, so hopefully that gets fixed for next time.

    I like the Rush idea, and hope it continues to evolve.

    Now, if we can just find a way to eliminate the mis-categorized items. That alone, will be enough to make people stay away after one or two visits.

  • alexwberg says:
    11/10/10 at 08:15:03

    @BookbinEtc – thanks for emailing support. I’m sure they will help you find out why your items were not showing.

  • memaw7 says:
    11/11/10 at 08:58:06

    Why not a “round-up” instead of a “rush”? Sounds like a better fit in my opinion. Just my two cents worth.

  • alexwberg says:
    11/12/10 at 08:18:35

    In addition to the Bonanza play and ‘gold rush’ connotations we also like the implied sense of urgency in ‘rush’ given that the sales are time limited. ; )

  • CritterCreekRanch says:
    11/12/10 at 15:24:55

    wow just tried to go to the rush and the chat box is so full my computer locked up then it I went back and it took 6 minutes and still chat box was trying to load, so I tried to click on a sellers items and it locked up sighhhh, someone needs to be able to clear the chat box from time to time this is bad!


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