| 10:34 am on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
How do you know those carts increment successive orders by just one digit, not 100, say?
| 12:43 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I've done back-to-back test orders, and I've seen that the order increments are based on 1 digit.
| 2:39 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
In my niche, most items are customized/personalized for the customer so they tend to have TONS of questions. So we get a lot of phones calls from the website visitors. Our policy is to try and close them on the phone if possible, so those "website orders" are not counted with your testing.
Neither are our local customers who "shop" our site and come into the B&M knowing exactly what they want.
While, there could be underlying factors creating big sales gaps between similar sites, the first question in your test methodology should be "what is the company's website goals and how do they measure performance?"
For our site, direct order count is not the only measure of performance we care about due to the way our niche operates. I also have to consider phone sales generated and local B&M customers that utilize our site.
| 2:48 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Yes, I also thought that "phone orders" and "B&M orders" could cause these variances too.
But after researching these websites even more they are a purely 100% ecommerce site (no B&M stores), and they don't accept phone orders.
| 4:20 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|I've done back-to-back test orders, and I've seen that the order increments are based on 1 digit. |
Your competitor may giving abandoned carts order numbers. They may be using the same order number sequence for phone orders. The order numbers may be based on time, not necessarily sequential. Your competitor may be dramatically outselling you.
| 4:28 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
A couple major factors:
SEO — many sites are idiots when it comes to SEO
PPC — with a good budget, a good PPC ad manager and a decent site, one can really ramp up sales as long as the ad budget holds out.
I have two competitors that do a similar business.
One has tons more products but zero SEO skills, horrible site design, but does lots of PPC
The other is an older site, decent SEO skills, bland site design, rarely does PPC.
Same annual sales for both. Go figure.
| 4:44 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
T_Miller; how did you find out what your competitor's annual sales were? Did you base them off an average; similar to what I did once I knew a guesstimate on their daily orders?
I feel like I have good SEO for my website, and I've tried using PPC campaigns like Adwords, PriceGrabber, etc... However, I don't know how people can turn a profit unless most PPCs convert into sales.
I had great increase in traffic using PPC, but my sale conversions weren't as high to offset my PPC costs. So it doesn't make sense to use them if I end up losing moeny in the end.
| 5:26 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|how did you find out what your competitor's annual sales were? |
There's numerous online sources to find out information about businesses. Hoovers, Manta, etc just to name a few.
| 5:40 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Oh, ok...I heard of Manta before; I just never knew if the information listed on the their site was accurate.
| 5:42 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Most of those sites source their info from D&B, so it's pretty reliable.
| 9:00 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Does anyone here besides olimits place test orders thru competitors' sites to determine their sales pace?
| 9:08 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I think it's a great way to gauge a competitor's sales pace. Most shopping cart systems use a basic 1 digit order number increment; so if you place a test order today and another a month later. It gives you a good average to go off of.
I've also seen test orders on my site as well; so I don't feel bad doing it. I don't abuse it too; I just do 2 "test" orders on my competitor's website and that's it.
| 10:11 pm on May 5, 2009 (gmt 0)|
I try to always make an order to be over the phone, since it saves me money. Also I have huge base of regular customers. They just email me order, so it doesn't count in my shopping cart. I'd say my shopping cart receives only about 30% of my orders. The rest is phone, email, local etc.
| 7:30 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Why do you worry so much about your competitor order amounts?
I don't see how concentrating on their transaction amount could be of any value for fixing up your own shop. There's so many different things that can come into play rather than just assuming the order numbers are single increments or actual orders.. so much in fact, that it's probably useless trying to rack your brain about the differences.
One thing I would absolutely never do is order from a competitor. In business, every penny counts! I'd rather keep that in my own pocket, thank you very much.
I see my competitors stealing my ideas so often that I imagine gathering info about their order processing aspects would be of no real value.
I prefer to do my best to keep my shop and the shopping experience unique to my customers, rather than re-invent the wheel and do whatever the other guys are doing.
*I should mention that my comments have nothing to do with actively checking their site and traffic ranks and such. I do both regularly and try to keep a tab on what they're doing on this end of things. ...their transaction amount though, is a losing battle. You'll never truly know what's going on unless they actually tell you.
Those reporting sites that estimate daily ad revenue, traffic, sales, etc. are always totally off for my store. Not even close. I would never pay much attention to these when comparing my competitor's to my store.
| 10:26 am on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|One thing I would absolutely never do is order from a competitor. In business, every penny counts! I'd rather keep that in my own pocket, |
You don't spend money. With many carts, a standard test credit card number will work. Or you can "order" on a "send check by mail" basis.
| 10:01 pm on May 6, 2009 (gmt 0)|
Those sources are just telling you what people reported. I could report $20 million in annual sales and they will put it up there.
| 3:06 pm on May 7, 2009 (gmt 0)|
|Those sources are just telling you what people reported. I could report $20 million in annual sales and they will put it up there. |
And that would standout as BS, in my niche anyway. LOL
I've found D&B numbers to be pretty accurate and correlates with numbers from our trade association and other sources. It's all just research and it's important to correlate anything from multiple sources and angles.
One figure we pay attention to is revenue per employee. In our niche, whether it's a small local B&M or the largest mail order/internet company, this figure stays within a relatively small range (less than 50K difference from top to bottom). Every now and then I run across a competitor whose RPE is very high for the industry, further research always reveals their sales include other niches not directly related.
Back to the OP:
The test method mentioned is not a good barometer.
Market research is important. But it's nothing to stress over.
Working to improve your own site and it's sales is more productive than worrying about how much the other guy is selling.