Sellers Required To Use Bonanza Shipping, Pay $2 Label Deposit Starting November 8

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Comments

UPDATE 11-9-23

Bonanza is forging ahead with this controversial new shipping program despite significant seller backlash.

Disappointingly, CEO Quincy Faison has reneged on his previous commitment to exempt sellers who ship small items that cost under $2.00 in postage with stamps and comments on the official Bonanza blog are still being heavily moderated.

Here's what we know so far about what exemptions are available, how to opt out if they apply, and all the hoops sellers will have to jump through to try to obtain a credit with Bonanza's supposed "lowest-price guarantee":

Bonanza Forges Ahead With Controversial Shipping Program
Bonanza is forging ahead with controversial shipping program requiring sellers to purchase labels from the site or pay $2 fee.

UPDATE 10-27-23

Bonanza has now closed comments on the "clearing the air" blog but is graciously "allowing" a few mostly positive ones out of moderation, giving a very clear answer to any lingering questions sellers might have had about how the company actually feels about transparency and collaboration.


UPDATE 10-26-23

CEO Quincy Faison has posted another blog post to clear the air about the new Bonanza shipping program.

Clearing The Air About Bonanza Shipping from CEO, Quincy Faison
Shop for everything but the ordinary. More than 25,000 sellers offering you a vibrant collection of fashion, collectibles, home decor, and more.

Right off the bat, this blog should have actually been posted under Quincy's ID not by BonanzaSarah. We know he has one as he was answering in the comments last night.

It's a small thing, but small things matter in crisis management and whether Bonanza wants to admit it or not, they have created a crisis here.

Unfortunately, none of the many seller complaints were really addressed in this communication - it was simply rephrasing what was already posted in the replies last night as if the only problem here is simply that sellers didn't understand the new program, not that they have legitimate concerns or objections to it that Bonanza should seriously consider.

Clearing the Air About The $2 Credit

First and foremost, the $2 is a credit towards your shipping label purchase, not a fee. We're not adding any hidden charges; it's essentially a deposit that goes right back into facilitating your shipping.

I hate to say it, but anyone who didn't understand this from the way it was worded before is still probably not going to get it.

Bonanza may need to consider that the friction and complexity this deposit/credit system introduces to the seller experience may be an insurmountable obstacle.

Not Everyone Is on the Same Boat

We understand the diversity in our sellers, so here are some of the exemptions, but not limited to:

  • Sellers using third-party API services for fulfillment
  • Dropshippers
  • Non-US based sellers shipping from abroad
  • Sellers whose shipments cost less than $2 (e.g., using stamps)
  • Those who sell digital products

Again, if you have to have an ever growing list of exemptions to your new policy, and hedge that with "not limited to", perhaps it's time to reconsider whether or not it's a good policy?

QR Codes
For our printer-less sellers, we’re introducing a QR code option. Come November 8th (or shortly after), just take this code to any USPS, FedEx, or UPS counter. They'll scan, print, and label your package.

Compatibility for All Printers
We've heard some of you faced challenges printing labels. We're addressing this by enhancing our printing process to ensure all printers can easily print our labels. This will be on its way very soon.

Hedging dates (shortly after) or using vague terms like "coming soon" simply have no place in a mandatory program.

If the product is not actually ready to launch with necessary features, the short notice 2 week timeframe should be pushed back until these features are actually ready to be included.

Some Other Things I Wanted To Clarify

Our shipping program's essence is to enable our smallest sellers to avail the largest discounts. The shipping program isn't about extra fees – it's about creating a more seamless process.

The core idea of shifting to Bonanza Shipping, is to give our sellers the competitive edge against giants like Amazon Prime, ensuring you get the best shipping rates possible.

That’s why we have included the price match guarantee. If you can get it cheaper elsewhere, we’ll match that.

This ensures both our bulk sellers and those shipping a handful of orders get the best rates. This isn't a 'junk fee'. It’s our way of helping more, through Bonanza, to minimize issues and complications.

It's tailored to be flexible, and we’re committed to addressing that, such as those situations mentioned above. When it comes to your business operations or finances, know that we have your back.

Funny that Quincy mentions Amazon Prime here, considering that Amazon recently backed down on a planned 2% extra fee they were going to charge sellers who use Seller Fulfilled Prime without using Amazon's logistics services - maybe there's a lesson here?

Amazon Backs Down On Seller Fulfilled Prime Fee For Not Using Amazon Logistics
Amazon is backing down on 2% fees for sellers who use Seller Fulfilled Prime without using Amazon logistics services.

Also still not actual details about the "price match guarantee." As discussed below, who has time to chase down credits, submit documentation, or wait for a refund?

Or how about a rate table so sellers can see what the rates will be?

The details of this "guarantee" will make or break this program and the lack of transparency here is concerning.

Sellers leveraging multi-channel solutions for shipping that are fully integrated with Bonanza are exempt. While we offer a similar service, we recommend you to continue using whatever streamlines your business operations.

If you're enjoying a fully integrated shipping solution elsewhere, we urge you to stick with it. But if you aren't, our aim is to save you from repetitive tasks and assure competitive, if not cheaper shipping rates.

In wrapping this up, I wish to emphasize: this is a collaborative journey. Your success is Bonanza's success.

We only add some change to Bonanza if it benefits both sides. Hence the new Bonanza Shipping.

"Our aim is to save you from repetitive tasks and assure competitive, if not cheaper shipping rates."

If not cheaper shipping rates? Is that a question now? This does not inspire much confidence.

In wrapping this up, it's difficult to understand how Quincy believes this can possibly be a collaborative journey when instead of actually taking seller feedback or delaying implementation, he's simply doubled down on insisting the program will somehow benefit both sides despite all of the obvious evidence to the contrary.

Interestingly, there are so far 0 comments on this blog post, though it's not clear if that is because no one has commented yet or if comments are being held for moderation like they eventually were last night.

I'll say it again, this whole plan needs to be pushed back and given more time and much more detail before moving forward, if not scrapped all together.


UPDATE 10-26-23

After receiving immediate and very passionate seller backlash about this new program, Bonanza appears to slightly edited their blog post though it doesn't really offer much additional clarification.

The original post said:

Does this apply to all sellers?
Yes! All sellers will be automatically opted-in to the Bonanza Shipping program (except for API approved partner client accounts, dropshippers and sellers who ship from outside the U.S.A.)

That has now been changed to:

Does this apply to all sellers?
Yes! All sellers will be automatically opted-in to the Bonanza Shipping program. We have such great rates that we'll be saving you money over what you are currently paying to ship orders.

Exempt will be sellers who manage their order fulfillment through a third-party Bonanza approved API partner, sellers who obtain and fullfill their inventory through a dropshipper service, and sellers who ship from outside the U.S.A.

It's not entirely clear if "third-party Bonanza approve API partner" would include Pirate Ship or other popular applications that multi-channel sellers use to manage their shipping, though CEO Quincy Faison's answer to one question would indicate this is at least a possibility.

Seller Junction_Discount said:

I also am not interested. I have multiple channels and marketplaces, and consolidate all of my inventory and orders through a single shipping/inventory system.

Having to monitor multiple places is not an option. First of all, I seriously doubt you could save money over the rates I am getting, and secondly, even if you DID save a few cents, it would not offset the additional expenses needed to be monitoring and checking multiple places, and tracking expenses.

I know how I want to run my business, and as others have said, if you are going to try and tell me how to do it, I will close my booth.

Faison responded:

Those using 3rd party integrated system are exempt

Several other sellers mentioned the ship using stamps.

This sounds like a nightmare. My standard shipping is regular USPS First Class Mail with a stamped envelope, which is less than $2. My product is not shipped with FedEx, UPS or USPS Packages. This sounds like it will hurt me, not help me.

What about items we ship with a USPS stamp? Low cost, free shipping, we will NOT pay $2 for a label. We do not need a label.

I sell many things that I use regular stamps to ship such as greeting cards or envelopes. This only costs me .66 cents to ship and now you want to charge me $2 instead? I won’t be able to afford to sell on this platform if I can no longer use a .66 cents stamp to mail things.

I suppose I can increase my price on those things by $2, but that is time consuming for me and the items are not likely to sell if I have to raise the price on a greeting card that much. Forced use of Bonanza shipping is a very bad idea. Every other e-commerce platform gives sellers their own shipping choices- as it should be. I never thought that Bonanza of all places would be so rigid.

Faison responded to each of these sellers and said:

You will still be able to use your stamps without a $2 fee

Honestly, it looks like Bonanza is in crisis management mode on this and rather than making things better, these vague answers are actually making it worse.

This whole plan needs to be pushed back and given more time and much more detail before moving forward, if not scrapped all together.


Bonanza is unveiling a new shipping program that promises to give access sellers the lowest rates on USPS, UPS and FedEx but requires the use of Bonanza labels with a mandatory $2 per transaction deposit fee for US sellers, excluding those who dropship or use the Bonanza API.

The new program goes into effect November 8, giving sellers just 2 weeks notice.

New Bonanza Shipping Program for All Sellers as of November 8, 2023
Shop for everything but the ordinary. More than 25,000 sellers offering you a vibrant collection of fashion, collectibles, home decor, and more.

Everything You Need to Know About Bonanza’s New Shipping Program

How do I benefit from the new Bonanza Shipping program?
We support USPS, FedEx, and UPS for US domestic shipments and international shipments shipping from the US with deep savings for you.

How will this work?
A $2 non-refundable shipping label deposit will be charged for each completed transaction. The $2 deposit is paid by the seller at the same time as their monthly FVF fees are collected. This deposit will be applied to the purchase of the shipping label upon order fulfillment.

Does this apply to all sellers?
Yes! All sellers will be automatically opted-in to the Bonanza Shipping program (except for API approved partner client accounts, dropshippers and sellers who ship from outside the U.S.A.)

Wait, I will be purchasing shipping for USPS, UPS, and FedEx for all of my transactions through Bonanza now? How will this benefit me again?
We worked hard to get you incredible rates and save you money, not to raise rates for listing or Final Value Fees. We feel so strongly that we can save you money that we even have a lowest rate guarantee on our shipping labels!

When will this go into effect?
November 8, 2023.

Are there more updates to Bonanza Shipping in the works?
Yes! This is the first phase of our new program. The second phase will dramatically improve our cart experience for buyers in order to raise transaction completion rates as well as update the seller account shipping account settings (which many of you have asked for).

Lowest Rate Guarantee: Because You Deserve the Best
Everyone loves a good deal, right? Our Lowest Rate Guarantee is our little promise to you.

Find a better rate somewhere else? No worries! We’ll make sure you're not losing out. Your success, after all, is our success.

We’ll refund the difference, as credit, so that everything becomes that little bit easier.

Big or Small, We Love You All!
New to the e-commerce world or been around the block a few times? Either way, you’re family here!

By making this available to everyone at Bonanza, everyone gets the benefit. Using our labels is the new standard at Bonanza, and will be generated automatically upon a sale. So you don’t have to worry about a thing.

While the promise of price matching on labels may seem enticing, Bonanza may find that convenience is very valuable to sellers too - especially those who may seller on multiple platforms who wish to use order and shipping management solutions they already have in place.

Not to mention the convenience (or lack thereof) when it comes to claiming that credit for any differences. While they don't give details on the process, who has time to chase down credits, submit documentation, or wait for a refund?

Excluding dropshippers from the program could also put those who stock and ship their own items at a disadvantage.

If dropshippers are not forced to pay the $2 per transaction deposit, it stands to reason that may encourage more dropshippings - is that really what Bonanza wants to do here?

While it's understandable that Bonanza needs sellers to participate in order to have the volume to get those supposedly lowest rates, forcing participation through a $2 deposit fee may not be well received by some sellers, especially with such short notice.

Sellers are commenting on the Bonanza blog and with over 50 comments so far, there don't appear to be any positive.

Many are confused about the $2, believing it is an extra fee on top of the full shipping amount and not understanding that it is a deposit that will be against the shipping amount when the label is printed.

Others say this could be a bookkeeping nightmare and some simply object to having Bonanza interfere or insert themselves into their business with this mandate.

CEO Quincy Faison was answering questions for a while, but after more than 50 comments (none positive), Bonanza appears to have put any new comments in "pending moderation" and is not posting them - which is never a good sign for transparency and seller trust.

Forcing sellers into your program will not work. This change does not save me more money. I will be suspending my store at the end of the month. Not giving sellers a choice is a bad idea. I sell way more elsewhere anyway.

Not a fan of a forced $2 fee. I prefer Pirate Ship to manage my shipments on multiple platforms.

I don’t need to be punished or forced into using Bonanza shipping, and making me rely on this platform to maintain my shipping data, when I already do that with Pirate Ship.

Guess I’ll raise all my prices $2 to cover the $2 charge.

Seller: So we are getting “cheaper” shipping rates but are being charged an extra $2 to use Bonanzas ship labels AND we still pay the 95 cent processing cost? I dont get charged anything for using Pirateship labels so how is this going to save ME $? Can I opt out?

qfaison: Not at all! The $2 is a down payment on the label purchase. No label fees at all. You will pay the cheapest rate to ship your products. If you can get cheaper we will refund the difference!

Wait, what? So if we choose to purchase a shipping label elsewhere we will still be charged $2 per item sold? And automatically opted in?
This seems more than a little bit sneaky, and you might want to provide more information about opting out before springing something like this on your sellers in less than two weeks.

Forcing people to be in this program, during the 4th quarter was not thought out well enough. People are already stressing. This should have been introduced to the masses and then, offered as an option, not forced upon people. I am seriously considering closing my booth after all of the years I have been here.

Just based on this initial reaction, it's clear at the very least Bonanza needs to provide more time to collect seller feedback and find a mutually beneficial path forward for their new shipping program to get sellers on board, preferably after the busy Q4 holiday season.


What do you think about these changes to Bonanza Shipping? Let us know in the comments below!

BonanzaShipping

Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!