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This 69 message thread spans 3 pages: 69 ( [1] 2 3 > >     
100% cart abandonment for four days?

 10:34 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've been having problems with my website for several weeks, including 500 errors and occasional slow load times. I'm moving to a new server to fix the problems.

Meanwhile, though, I've had four days with zero orders. There's been people going to checkout, but nobody has bought anything.

I've tested the checkout and it worked.

Is it possible for it to work for me but not others?

This should be the busy time of year for my site. Last month was pretty good.



 10:53 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have you tested it from different ip's from home and work called a friend to run a test in a different state?


 11:58 pm on Nov 3, 2009 (gmt 0)

I asked some friends on a forum to try it out and they had no problem. That was a week or so ago, though, when I was getting orders.

I tested it from a remote server not connected in any way with my site and it worked.

Four days without a single order at this time of year is really, really unusual. I should be getting several a day. There's people going to the shopping cart, but for whatever reason they're not finishing.

Mike McKnight

 12:06 am on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi Dick,
we have a retail website and sales have been way down so far in October, we thought September was bad but October is starting out even worse. Usually we have a predictable slow down before holidays but never so much for Halloween.

We have about 1/2 our normal daily traffic these days and it was off another big chunk starting a few weeks ago. Just about the time I installed GA on all 300 or so web pages so
I removed the code a couple days ago,( superstitious ).

We seldom go a day without at least one sale over the last 12 years or so we have been online, that includes all the major holidays, BUT NOW in the last 6 months along with the lost traffic we have experienced many days without a sale,
IT IS SCARY, I do all the usual stuff, place an order myself, ask a friend to place and order, call my host and ask about the server. My wife and I only have this for income, neither of us can get a real job and more because of medical conditions. Last year I tried to get a job as a greeter, and was asked if I had any experience? YIKE!

Hope this recession ends for of us very soon, we are too young for SS, my wife applied for SS disability but it's going to take another year before she will know about that.

Maybe changing servers will do the trick for you.

500 code errors are not very good news unless it's just some bad code in htaccess or some where else, or the hard drive starting to go south.

One more bit and I'll shutup, as I said before, our sales are way down for this time of the year, usually starting in late September and for sure October sales trend up until January, and even then are fairly good for Valentines day in February, but this time it hasn't been there, I thought I would have read other posts about dismal sales but haven't seen any lately so I thought it was just us, the things we sell, our prices, shipping whatever, so while I'm not happy that you also have had some bad days at least I see we are not alone.
Mike McKnight


 2:52 am on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Last year I had an extremely slow first half of November, then got slammed for the next three months. So far, kind of looks like the same pattern this year. It may be that people are just scanning right now, making mental notes, pricing... Then they'll be back.


 3:55 am on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

I know this seems obvious, but also, don't forget to check your site with the new IE, it has really been rolling out lately at a fast pace. I'm so deep into Firefox, sometimes I forget to fire up IE and run through the paces. I did just that the other day and found a hot product page was throwing an error with IE. So glad I caught it but it was like that almost 2 days.


 10:25 pm on Nov 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

Last year my online sales benefitted from the election, and that continued for months after the election.

This year both traffic and sales have been roughly 80% of what they were one year ago. The exception has been the last few days.

I've messed up a couple of times with the admin section of the shopping cart, but not for long.

If I can stay at 80% of last year, that will be fine. If it gets worse, it's not going to be fun.


 1:51 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm having the exact same problems. I've had this shop for ten years. It was only in the first year or so that I would go for a day or even more with zero orders. My typical number of orders/day range from 5-15. Since August, I have had days where I had no orders. I do the same thing--check the cart, ask friends to check, go through my stats that show how people go through the site. Just did that this morning because I had not one sale yesterday. This October turned out to be slightly better than last October, but last October was pretty bad. This is normally a slow time of year for me and I planned to work on other projects anyhow. I am in your position, dickbaker; I can make it on 80% of what I've been making, but if it gets any lower, it's going to be a problem. It is scary, but that is the nature of retail, no? We need not to panic and to hang in there. My busy time normally starts in January, so I am holding on for that. Hoping.


 3:06 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

HRoth, if this was the normal slow time of year for me, I could understand it. But the slow time for me is July (which wasn't too bad this year). November is normally the peak month for traffic and sales.


 5:05 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Same thing happening here I have up to 3-4 order a day that have been abandoned.This has never happened to me, maybe 2-3 order a month was the norm. I have checked everything and all seems to be fine. I guess it just the economy. Hope things will turn around.


 10:46 pm on Nov 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

Same thing happening here I have up to 3-4 order a day that have been abandoned.

I'm getting 12-15 people a day going to the shopping cart. I had one person today go all the way through. Everybody else bailed.

I'd love to have just 3-4 abandonments a month.


 5:00 am on Nov 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

Everybody else bailed.

Email or call them and ask them why (not directly). You might get the sale plus some useful info.

I don't advocate contacting abandoned carts as a general rule, but if you are truly this concerned, a little communication with the customer might help you improve and/or ease your mind.


 8:18 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

My cart program doesn't capture the email address unless the transaction is completed.

I know that the economy is much worse than last year, but here's what I don't understand. In September I had the same number of sales as I did in September of last year. In October my sales were 89% of last October's sales. For the first 10 days of November my sales are one-third of what they were for the first ten days of November last year. It's as though the world changed on November 1st.


 8:34 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think this phenomenon may be the unintended consequence of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Consumers are being trained to hold off on purchases in anticipation of the huge deals coming at the end of this month.

I know that there is at least one item I personally intend to buy, but am holding off until "black week".


 11:10 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

What if a retailer's prices are already so low that there aren't any Black Friday deals?

Mike McKnight

 11:15 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think there is something to what akmac has offered.
By now there have been many years of public training in regard to waiting until after Thanksgiving.

If I remember correctly there were at least one or two
deaths and numerous injuries when the big retail stores open their doors on that particular Friday after Thanksgiving
last year, and for sure crazy/bad public behavior in previous years.

It now has the public fixation or urban myth / folklore to wait til black Friday and surely all the best deals will be offered by retailers. You can see every earlier and earlier the Christmas displays in stores like Walgreens. I swear that I saw Christmas stuff up way before Halloween this year.

Anyway, my cart seems similar to Dick's no email until they actually finish the payment process. So I'm wondering if there is some way to put a text or graphic message on the page where they simply put something in the cart asking them to make an email comment to you to the effect of if they aren't going to complete the sale, would they mind emailing you as to why not?

I'm sure that some folks just want to see the total including S&H , so they can compare it to another site or two.

What do you think?
Mike McKnight

Mike McKnight

 11:27 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

One other thought, my customers are for the most part middle income folks, and I'm sure that when the unemployment number
crossed into double digits that it got inside their heads,
am I next? Not a very comforting thought.

Mike McKnight

 11:48 pm on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

One more thought

make sure your toll free 800 number is in bold print what text saying "Feel Free to call toll free if you have any questions"
Might work once in a while?


 3:49 am on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Mike McNight, I'm sure there's truth in what you're saying. The funny part about S&H is that I have "free shipping" splattered everywhere on the product pages: at the top of the page, next to the price, and in the product copy.

Still, I get people who tell me they went to the cart to see how much shipping is.

On all of the product and shopping cart pages, I have the 800 number prominently displayed, and people do call. Often it's to find out how much shipping is. ;)

I know the economy is bad, but I don't understand why people didn't feel that way a week and a half ago.


 4:21 am on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

We sent out an email last week informing long time customers that we would probably not be able to meet demand for some of our more popular items (which is true). As a result we experienced a sharp spike in orders, and even sold out of a couple of the items we informed them about.

Sales are at or near record highs for us, even as we have cut back inventory to reduce risk. Of course, I would rather be sold out than overstocked, even this early in the season.

Folks know there are no sales coming on our popular stuff. Supplier is working overtime (literally) to try to keep us stocked.

Mike McKnight

 7:05 am on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

>>why people didn't feel that way a week and a half ago.

a week and a half ago unemployment was still under 10%


 8:26 am on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

Like previously mentioned, I really do think it's mostly people waiting for a certain time to shop. Some people look at shopping as an enjoyable experience, and they may be saving it all up to do all at once... Like make a day out of it. So that's why the deals, free shipping or whatever, really doesn't make much of a difference right now.


 4:04 pm on Nov 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

People are waiting for a certain time to shop and frankly, I think they are out there right now doing reconnaissance in anticipation of that certain time, because I have noticed a drop in traffic in the past few days. However, my sales increased (no evil eye) shortly after I posted to this thread originally. I don't know why.

For a while now I've been working on creating income without selling tangible goods and also working out multiple income streams. This kind of experience, where sales just drop into a manhole, is incredibly stressful and ties my stomach in a knot just thinking about it, but it is good in that it motivates me to get out of ecommerce all the sooner. The unpredictability is one of the things about retail that I hate. That and printing labels.:)


 4:10 am on Nov 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

Our business have noticed this issue of dramatically rising abandonment rates too since late October / November. We have been in business for a few years.

The issue could be a rise in website latency and packet loss around the same time, making payment pages load much slower resulting in abandonment. According to the 30 day internet traffic report there was an increase in global packet loss around 29 Oct, with a dramatic spike on 11 November.

We could be wrong... Has anyone here thought about it from this angle and could share their thoughts?


 5:03 am on Nov 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

I believe excessive abandonment rates are closely related to how clearly the customer is given the prices of ordered products before they go to the cart.

I have seen many sites where the price is not revealed in advance but only in the cart. Many people go to the cart to see the price and then exit because they don't like the price (and/or shipping cost). However, if prices are clearly disclosed in advance the abandonment percentage would be much lower. This may not be the case with dickbaker


 1:52 am on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

I cannot really comment accurately as I do not get many shopping cart sales.
But the economy world wide keeps getting worse, low growth, job losses with no prospect of job gains coming and what jobs are created are bum jobs (health carers etc)
Mainstreet stores have plenty of sales on.
People surely have not all of a sudden changed their shopping cart habits !


 5:49 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Last year my online sales benefitted from the election, and that continued for months after the election

Linking a lengthy sales increase to the (U.S.?) election is an odd conclusion unless you sell Obama apparel or the like.

You're talking about a long chunk of time in which many factors come into play, starting with the Christmas shopping season. I've never heard any retailer claim an election measurably affected revenue except perhaps for a lull on election day as people vote.

So, dickbaker, has your abandonment returned to normal? We've all had periods where we wonder whether our cart is working, and can relate to your plight.


 6:37 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Linking a lengthy sales increase to the (U.S.?) election is an odd conclusion unless you sell Obama apparel or the like.

From dickbaker's other posts, I think I know what his widget is, and I'd agree with his analysis. It is very plausible that his sales were affected heavily by the election.

I really don't have much to add except that it must be very niche-dependent. My Oct/Nov sales are up 25% from last year. However, a big chunk of my customers are retired - their cashflow follows their investments and the stock market, not the job market. So it follows.


 8:50 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

The financial news was dismal in October '08 with all those wrenching 500 point Dow drops. The middle class was terrified about layoffs and free-falling home values. The wealthy saw their family assets plummet more than 20% in a year, so sales at Saks and Tiffiny's fell by unprecedented amounts. Bellwether bank shares, such as Citi and Bank of America traded in the low single digits. No population segment was spared (unlike the Dot Com fiasco of 2000 when most conservative Americans slept well).

There was no place to hide and no apparent floor on the financial decline.

Now, with a soaring stock market and stabilized banking/insurance system, our sales are well up from October/November 2008. But autumn 2008 was one heck of a scary period. I look for easy year-to-year revenue gains thru spring.

As for the long term effects, we'll see...


 11:55 pm on Nov 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

On my site I have information about widgets. I sell accessories for those widgets in my online store.

Following the November 2008 election, sales of widgets nationwide were up 30-40% over the same period in 2007. The buying frenzy continued until about June. People who had never owned widgets before bought them because they were afraid of the bad economy, and afraid that the widgets would face further restrictions or even outright bans. Manufacturers couldn't produce enough product to meet demand; one major manufacturer had a three-month waiting list for their products. Many retailers went out of business because, while they had customers wanting to buy, they didn't have the product to sell.

My sales for 11/1 through today are half what they were for the first two weeks of November last year. The dropoff was really sharp on November 1st. Maybe it is just people hearing bad economic news and pulling in their spending.

This 69 message thread spans 3 pages: 69 ( [1] 2 3 > >
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