Yesterday, Mashable and Google announced a new feature of YouTube brand channels – “shoppable” gadgets that allow you to view product information and even shop for products featured in videos. The first channel to get this treatment is TRESemmé, a brand of Unilever hair care products.
The YouTube brand page is the first of its kind, and has the potential to impact how shoppers interact with YouTube content in a much broader spectrum of applications. The Google Retail Blog says:
To shorten the path to purchase and translate video views to sales, today we’re introducing a new channel gadget on YouTube that will enable consumer goods brands to connect consumers directly with retailers throughout the entire YouTube experience. This new channel gadget will enable shoppers to seamlessly move from browsing how-to videos and featured products to finding which retailers carry them, check availability, compare prices and make a purchase, all with fewer clicks than today.
The TRESemmé channel already featured a ton of helpful how-to videos, which seem to be a perfect fit for distributing product information to consumers. Viewers can search for videos or select a filter to view different types of hairstyles. Each video features a TRESemmé stylist showing how to create the look and what products to use to achieve the style.
When you are on the video page, you can see which products are featured in a sidebar on the right:
You have a ton of options on the page – view related videos, read through the how-to steps, learn more about products, buy products now, share on social media, launch a web cam viewer so you can style along (only on supported browsers), and even view and add product reviews. I find the reviews to be incredibly helpful, because I have “problem hair” and I always want to know how certain products work on people with similar challenges.
What do you think of the new TRESemmé gadget? Would you like to see other brand channels with this type of feature?
Disclosure: The company who produced this technology, Gloto, is my regular day job. I don’t know if I’m required to tell you that, but figured it couldn’t hurt Side note – it was awesome working on this project. I’ve learned how to do twists and buns so far. Still working on braids.
When I started using eBay, it was all so new and different, like an online yard sale. I can’t remember what my first purchases was, but after that initial transaction, I was hooked.
I bought. I sold. I loved it. That was 15 years ago. Today, I’ll never shop or sell there again.
I have a weakness: handbags. I love them. I buy them new, use them for a few years (or a few months), and sell them on eBay. I take meticulous care of my bags, which I change with each outfit I wear. Some, I only use a handful of times. All are babied: dust bags, leather conditioner, etc.
I’ve had over 65 transactions on eBay, both buying and selling. In all that time, I’ve never had a bad experience. I follow the rules, and it always seemed to work. Until it didn’t.
Two weeks ago, I set up 25 or so auctions for my pre-owned handbags. It was hard letting go of my babies, but I had my sights set higher. I wanted a Prada. So, I created auctions for my collection of Coach and Dooney handbags. I took two photos of each bag but offered to provide more upon request. I also wrote in each auction that bidders should absolutely ask questions before bidding because I would not accept returns. What a joke that was.
Almost immediately, my bags started selling via eBay’s handy Buy It Now feature. As soon as one sold, I’d box it up and ship it right out. On the final day of the auctions, I was a boxing maniac. My entire dining room looked like a Coach stockroom. But I boxed up each one, lovingly said goodbye, and sent them to their new homes.
eBay runs on feedback. Next to each Member ID are a number and a percentage. The number shows how much feedback the member has; the percentage shows how much of that feedback is positive. Members are also encouraged to leave comments about the transaction.
My feedback is 100% positive. Some of the comments include:
“Wow i got two beautiful bags from this seller, love them both, excellent service!” - Buyer: Member id dcs1964937
“Love it! Perfect experience. Great seller. 5 stars! Thanks!” - Buyer: Member id havetohavenow
“Fabulous bag just as described, super fast shipN2! Seller highly recommended ” - Buyer: Member id koolbree
I could go on, but that would be bragging. The bottom line is that I’m a kick-@ss seller. I set my prices low and let the bidding take over.
On Saturday morning, I received notification that a member had created a “Resolution Center” case against me. Since I can’t do her communications justice, I’ve included them:
“ok i got the bag and it was not all decribed has tears and stains all over the place! i want the price reduced!”
Right away, I was pissed off. Not only for her inaccurate description of the item, but also for her “I want” comment. It reminded me of a four-year-old. Moreover, her abuse of the English language was enough to send me over the edge. I responded with:
“This bag had absolutely NO tears or stains when it was shipped. I do not provide inaccurate descriptions of my items for sale, as evidenced by my 100% positive feedback. The photograph in the listing (not the stock photo, but the one of the actual handbag) clearly shows the excellent condition. I also offered to provide additional photos, upon request. I purchased this bag for $358.00 and used it approximately three times. At $105.00, you got an amazing deal for a beautiful bag.”
I hoped this was the end of it, but alas, I was disappointed. She fired back with:
“ok yes it did even in your pics u can see all the stains, you know it and i know it.. it has 2 scapes on the back/.. this is bs and im mad cuz u said nothign was wrong with it!”
I bumped my age estimate down to three-years-old instead of four. But, calmly, I replied:
“I know no such thing. I as wrote in my previous message, there were no stains or scrapes (or tears) when the bag left my home. Moreover:
1. If you can see stains in my photo (which clearly you can’t because there are none), why did you bid?
2. I find it interesting that in your nine transactions on eBay, two have been negative. I’ve been on this site for 15 years, and I’ve had zero negative feedback in over 65 transactions.
3. Even if there were stains and tears “all over the place” as you wrote (which there aren’t – you know it and I know it), I sold this bag as used, not new. Now, this is a matter of principle.
I will NOT issue a refund or “discount” as you demanded. I clearly wrote in the auction, NO RETURNS. If you are unhappy with that, I suggest you escalate this to eBay Customer Support for resolution.”
She just had to get one more in:
“I will cause you’re a dam liar who can’ the am truth.. I hve taken pics of all of it and contacted you right away when I recieved the bag. it’s a pity and u got to lie and cheat to get some $$$.. so bag must of got dirty it self.. yes u can see the stains in your pics. I will be getting my money back.”
But she didn’t escalate the case. Oh, and what I didn’t mention was that as soon as she opened the case, the funds that paid for the bag were placed “on hold” in PayPal. That’s right, she has the bag, but I can’t access the money.
Not liking the idea of being held hostage by a bratty buyer, I called eBay. I had every confidence that based on my feedback, length of time on the site, and the integrity of the auction’s listing, they’d decide in my favor. It was a no-brainer, right? Wrong.
Unwilling to “take sides,” eBay’s policy is to have the buyer return the item and issue her a refund. End of story. It doesn’t matter that she’s got two negative comments in her feedback. It doesn’t matter that the auction was accurate. It doesn’t matter that I’ve got 65+ other happy customers. Their policy is to protect the buyer not the seller.
I was, frankly, shocked that I would lose this battle. She can return the bag damaged, and I can’t do a thing about it. Oh, and did I mention that I lose the shipping costs, too? Yep, she gets a refund of her purchase price and shipping costs. I get screwed.
So, after a 15-year affair, I’m dumping eBay. After nearly 70 transactions, it’s over. I hope they enjoy their new relationship with their young, immature, irresponsible buyer. I hope it was worth losing a loyal, respected, and devoted member.
Today’s Etsy Spotlight post features Dvora from Dvora Schleffer Designs. This Etsy store is a great find for petite and plus sized women everywhere, because everything is designed with you in mind. That said, these designs are near and dear to my heart because I’m a fairly small person myself, and it’s always been difficult to find jewelry that really fits well. (My fiance can attest to that – my size 3 engagement ring was a surprise to us both!)
As a special gift for ShopHappens readers, Dvora has graciously provided a discount code. Use code shophappens at checkout to save 15% on your order of $20 or more!
How long have you been selling on Etsy? How did you become interested in creating your own handmade products?
I’ve been creating jewelry ever since I can remember myself. When I was a teenager I found a box of tools and some supplies that were left from a jewelry course my mom once took. I started playing with that and never stopped. Later I took classes, read books and also learned a lot by experimenting and trying out ideas.
When I decided to turn my hobby into a full time thing I tried a lot of venues. I did craft shows, sold to stores and even had my own store for 3 years. Then I discovered the wonderful world of online selling and especially Etsy. This was perfect for me. I love the direct contact with my clients. I also love that I can work in my small studio and sell my jewelry all over the world. I have been doing this for a couple of years now and It’s just perfect for me.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by everything around me. Places I visit, other art forms, people I meet. But the greatest inspiration for me is nature with it’s endless possibilities of color, shape, texture etc. For the past 5 years I’ve been living in a beautiful village in the north of Israel. There’s a big olive orchard right in front of my house and a lot of other beautiful nature spots all around me. So it’s impossible not to be inspired from all this.
What are some of your favorite colors/patterns/design aesthetics? How do you incorporate them into your work?
My favorite colors are purple and green. My design aesthetic is very delicate, modern and subtle. I think this also describes my work. My own designs are also very delicate, small jewelry that add a touch to your look but don’t take over it. This is why my jewelry are perfect for every day or for work. As for color, I use gemstones to add colors to my designs. Amethyst is my favorite stone.
Who are some of your favorite celebrities? Whose style would match up with what’s available in your store?
I don’t have a favorite celebrity. If I had to think of a celebrity who I think my jewelry would fit, I’d go with, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway, Gwyneth Paltrow.
What is your workroom like? What conditions lead you to create the best work?
I have a small studio located inside my house. The studio has several working areas, each for a different type of work (a desk for drawing designs, a jewelers bench for making the designs, etc). There are also several storage units for all the supplies. I am always trying to organize better and throw away things I don’t need, but it’s a work in progress.
I actually don’t need any special conditions to create. I just need to have some quiet time to think and try out my sketches and ideas. I do find that a vacation always re-charges my energy and creative juices. So a lot of times new collections are born after I’ve been traveling to some nice place.
How long does it take to design and create each piece?
Each piece is different. Some designs can come to me quickly and be ready on the same day I thought of them. Other designs might take longer. I basically have a little notebook where I sketch my ideas. Later I start working on these ideas in metal. Some may turn out exactly like the drawing, others will change and evolve along the way and there are also some that are “cancelled” because I’m not happy with the result. Occasionally I can get back to a “cancelled” design in a later date and think of a way to make it work.
What is your favorite product so far?
That is a difficult question. It changes all the time, as I make new designs I fall in love with new things I’ve created. If I had to choose I’d go with my black rose ring. I just love flowers and roses in particular and I find this ring to be timeless and so versatile. I have people buying it as an engagement ring as well for everyday use.
What is the most interesting request you’ve received from a customer?
Customer requests are a sort of dialogue where I can learn what they need and think of a way to make that happen, so I’m always happy to hear from people. For example, during the holiday season I had a lot of people who wanted to buy rings as a gift for someone but did not know the size that person wears. So at first I just gave suggestion on how they can find out the size, but than I thought I should also offer a solution for cases where it wasn’t possible. I had a very popular ring at the time, the leaf ring, and I simply designed a new ring that was open and adjustable with a leaf at each end. Today this is one of my most popular rings that is constantly selling out. I just love how a customer request can set me on to something I just didn’t think of so that I can improve and offer a better product for them.
What makes your Etsy store different from others?
My focus is perfect fit jewelry. As I hand make my jewelry, I am able to adjust and customize my designs to my buyers’ exact needs. So if someone is looking for a ring, I don’t just offer a selection of sizes, I offer any size, half size and even quarter size you want. Same with bracelets, necklaces etc. No compromises, you can get exactly the jewelry that is perfect for you.
This is why a lot of my clients are plus size or petite who have a hard time finding jewelry that fits them.
Also, my designs are very dainty and classic so you can wear them every day and for many years since they don’t go out of style.
Thank you so much Dvora for the interview! Please follow Dvora on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on her blog! (And of course don’t forget to use code shophappens for all purchases over $20 to save 15%!!)
As you can probably tell, I’m in the midst of planning my wedding. I still have a few months to go, but I wanted to share some of the resources that have been really helpful for me so far. Please feel free to chime in with your recommendations as well! I’d love to hear about your experiences!
I have a special account set up for JUST wedding stuff. This helps me to cut the clutter from my personal account (which is also chock full of awesome, just not relevant to weddings). Pinterest allows you to easily organize helpful photos or articles that you find online. I’d recommend setting up several detailed boards so that you can keep everything very organized.
2. Wedding Wire
When you’re starting to look at vendors, ceremony sites, or reception venues, you should definitely take a look at Wedding Wire. I have found myself searching Google for “Wedding Wire [vendorname]” more often than I care to discuss… but it’s so helpful! Wedding Wire is a review site for everything nuptial-related. If you’re unsure about which florist to pick, I highly recommend checking out their reviews. Former brides share experiences, photos, and an overall rating, which could help you make your final decision on which vendor to go with.
3. Wedding Mags
I know… magazines are an old school version of Pinterest, but I find them really relaxing to page through. My favorite is actually Martha Stewart Weddings, which is surprising since I am so non-domestic. Her magazine features beautiful photography and lots of helpful hints that other magazines tend to gloss over.
4. Friends and Family
I am placing my wedding planner in this bucket as well, since she has been really helpful with providing references and setting up appointments for me. I know that many brides plan their own wedding without much help from others, but I’ve found that relying on friends and family (even if it’s just to vent about prices or gush about finding the dress) has been really helpful just to keep my peace of mind. Planning a wedding is super stressful – you want it to be perfect, and sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the details. Friends and family can be really great in bringing you back down to earth and keeping your stress level lower. Just try not to be a bridezilla… no one likes that!
Do you have any other resources for weddings? Disagree with something I’ve said? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!
There are a few gifts that every couple seems to get when they get married: A chip and dip set (often shaped like a pepper or some other kitsch), an ice-cream maker (or, alternately, a bread maker), and a crystal bowl (presumably used for punch … or fruit?). Most of these gifts get a lot of attention in the first few weeks after being opened, but they are soon relegated to the back of the cupboard, where they are forgotten about with the rest of the gadgets that were gifted or purchased on impulse.
If you have a wedding to attend soon, make sure that your gift is really useful for the couple and will be around long after the honeymoon. Here are 5 wedding gifts you can choose that a couple will really use:
A good knife set is a kitchen staple. A couple will likely use it every time they cook something that requires more than tossing it in the microwave. A good knife set will also make cooking easier by making cutting quick and effortless. If you choose a quality knife set — and not just one of those $30 blocks that you get from Target — the knives can be maintained and sharpened to last for years.
Pots and Pans
Like knives, the quality of the pots and pans you choose is important. Consider a stainless steel set that will stand up to rust and stains, will help food cook evenly, and will eliminate the transfer of toxic materials to food (unlike “non-stick” pans that are coated with chemicals). Choose a set that includes all the basic items, include a sauce pan, saute pan, and soup pot.
A hammer isn’t exactly the kind of gift you want to get when you’re celebrating love and romance, but it is the kind of gift you need to start your life together as a couple. A good tool kit will serve a couple for years to come. Consider a kit that includes all the basics, such as a hammer, level, measuring tape, different sizes and types of screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, and more.
Luggage is another gift that’s not exactly romantic but it completely necessary. A good luggage set should hold up under the pressure of many trips — being thrown around in airplane cargo, being shoved into an overstuffed trunk, and being dragged around on busses and taxis. Choose a set that’s made of quality material, that’s reinforced, and that includes several sizes and pieces.
The thing that most young couples need the most when they are just starting out is cash — especially after they’ve likely just spend thousands of dollars on a wedding. You can write a check or stuff an envelope with cash to donate to the couple’s wedding, honeymoon, or fund to buy a new home. You can mark the gift with its intended purpose if you like, but no couple is going to wonder what they can do with cash.
Don’t waste your money on kitschy items and kitchen gadgets that a couple is just going to forget about after a few weeks or a few months. Be sure that the gift you buy will really be useful for the couple.
What other gifts have you given (or received) that you felt were really useful? Share your suggestions in the comments!
Chloe Trogden is seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as cosmetology scholarships. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and playing her guitar.
Recently, a good friend of mine posted on Facebook asking whether or not Amazon Prime was worth signing up for. At $79 annually, it’s something that many people would have to plan around to save room in the budget. Personally, I could not live without Amazon Prime and I feel like it’s a fantastic investment. Why you ask?
And not just free shipping – free two day shipping! I have placed an order in the morning on a Monday and received it by Tuesday afternoon. It is fast, efficient, and best of all FREE! This article outlines a great example of how shipping works for Prime vs. Non-Prime orders:
Here’s what you would pay for various shipping methods without an Amazon Prime membership:
Standard Shipping (5-8 business days) $3.99 per shipment charge + $.99 per book + $.99 each for the DVD and CD, for a total of $7.95; however, there’s a good chance that this order would cost over $25 and thus qualify you for free Super Saver Shipping.
Two-Day Shipping (2 business days) $9.99 per shipment charge + $1.99 for each item, for a total of $17.95; with Amazon Prime, two-day shipping is free.
One-Day Shipping (1 business day) $12.99 per shipment charge + $4.99 per book + $3.99 each for the DVD and CD, for a total of $30.95; Amazon Prime one-day shipping for this order would be $3.99 per item, for a total of $15.96.
If you were to use two-day shipping on this same type of order five times throughout the year, the savings on shipping alone would more than equal the $79 membership fee. As one Amazon Prime member put it to the Tecca team, the internet was created to indulge instant gratification, and free two-day shipping is about as close as it gets!
Kindle Owners Lending Library
I was able to read all of the Harry Potter books absolutely free of charge (and about ten years too late, but I digress), along with two of the Hunger Games series (I caved and purchased one of them on my own). It’s a great way to catch up with some great books absolutely free of charge. With Amazon Prime, you get one free rental per month.
I’ll admit that I don’t take advantage of this one, but with Amazon Prime, you have access to thousands of movies and TV shows instantly on your computer. If you ever wanted to catch up on that series all of your friends are talking about (for me, that’d be Downton Abbey), now’s your chance.
Amazon Student and Amazon Mom
If Amazon Prime isn’t for you, the Amazon Student and Amazon Mom programs offer something similar if you are a student or a mom. With these programs, you don’t have access to free streaming video (you’re supposed to be studying/raising children, not watching movies!), but you do get free shipping benefits, as well as exclusive deals and promotions depending on your account type. Amazon Student members are eligible for the shipping benefits for six months and receive deals and promotions exclusive for students. Amazon Mom members receive the Amazon Prime shipping benefits for three months, with the ability to extend by earning an extra month of free shipping for every $25 spent in the Baby Store. Amazon Mom members also receive discounts and exclusive deals on various baby products.
Do you have Amazon Prime? Do you think it’s worth the cost? What’s your favorite aspect of the program?
The first big style decision you’ll have to make for your wedding is what your Save the Date cards will look like. There are tons of services that have pre-made designs that can work for you and your wedding. Wedding Paper Divas came very highly recommended, as well as other services such as The American Wedding and Online Photo Magnets (for those of you who are interested in sending magnets). Each of these services provides a bunch of affordable price points and many options for styles and designs.
My wedding coordinator Aubrey also recommended a company in Bel Air, Maryland, for any locals who’d like to work with a custom stationery company. Here’s what she had to say about Preston’s Stationery:
I LOVE Preston’s!! Kim is awesome, creative and open to doing anything. She will sit with you and play with colors, paper styles, show samples, etc. She is also totally open to working within anyone’s budget.
While I appreciated all of the suggestions (and almost went with a design from Wedding Paper Divas), I opted for a simple postcard that I designed myself from Zazzle.com. However, many brides do much more clever things such as magnets, photos, or other trinkets. It all depends on your budget and how much time you plan on spending on your Save the Dates.
Besides the affordable cost (just about $65 for an order of 75 cards) I liked using Zazzle because I could lay the cards out how I wanted. They provided a background image template, to which I applied a simple black and light blue border. I used large, bold black text that draws attention to the names of the bride and groom, stated the date and location, and then added “formal invitations to follow” at the bottom. I think they came out pretty nice:
One small concern is that my Save the Date cards are probably not going to match my wedding colors or my invitations (both of which I am still very undecided about), but that doesn’t bother me so much. If that’s something that matters to you, I’d recommend going with Wedding Paper Divas or another full-service vendor so that you can have a continuous look and feel from your Save the Dates to your invitations to your programs, therefore encompassing your entire wedding day.
How did you put together your Save the Date cards? Were you happy with your decision?
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- Why I’m Dumping eBay
- Etsy Spotlight: Dvora from Dvora Schleffer Designs
- Wedding Planning Resources
- 5 Wedding Gifts a Couple Will Really Use
- Amazon Prime: An Online Shopper’s BFF
- Wedding Shopping: Save the Dates
- News Flash: Target Announces Next Designer Collaboration!