What country and niches your site serves, did you do any offline investigation for folks who may be diverting their expenditure in this time for any particular reasons
The niches are <snip>, 70% US, 30% Canada, W. Europe, Australia. Highly discretionary products, so I'm not surprised to see them affected by a recession. What does surprise me is that I saw no effect on conversion during the first 20 mos. of the recession, then suddenly, freefall. What also surprises me is that shopping activity is stronger than ever, despite buying activity being way down.
[edited by: lorax at 2:13 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2010]
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We're seeing pretty much the same thing. Overall taffic is up 50% over the previous year. Overall conversion rates are 50% lower for the same period. We sell both "toys" and necessities for our niche. The "toys" are not selling well which I expect. The good news is that necessities are doing well.
Trucker, that conversion drop matches mine. I also had conversations with two relatively large players in one of my niches, and they reported the exact same thing...conversion sliding since September. I think people are postponing checkout to shop around. Consumers have become so accustomed to discounting they probably hesitate to buy when they don't see a sale.
Glad I'm not the only one. Conversion for december wasn't too bad but overall down.
This month has been horrendous. Used to average about 1%, past couple months was around .75%...this month I'm at about .25%.
At this rate I'll be out of business in the next couple months if things don't start picking up soon. This month is shaping up to be my worst month in 8 years by far.
Traffic has been steady though which is really frustrating...
Joined the group today to share my experience. I am running this website for last 6 years and noticed the sharp decline in sales that started towards the late Aug 09.
First I could not figure out the reason for low conversion and wasted time and money doing number of tests to ensure there are no issues with the site.
Over 90% of my business is from USA. I do not see visitors even making any attempt to buy the products, they browse and leave the site. Compare to last year, the sales are down by 75%. I seen a slightly less visitors(5%) from USA though an increase of similar number from India and Middle East which does not contribute to any sales.
I am really getting very discouraged. Hope things change for better soon.
[edited by: lorax at 2:12 am (utc) on Jan. 22, 2010]
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I recently read that there's a point (unemployment rate) at which the employed stop spending. I guess when we see enough people in our peer groups lose their jobs, we start to feel like our jobs are in danger, whether or not that's actually the case. Maybe the US passed that point in late '09. Unfortunately, I find it hard to glean anything from govt. data with all noise from stimulus spending, so I'm stuck trying to glean insights from friends in the business...and they've all seen a late 09 decline.
I don't see many other website owners complaining with their low conversion rates. I have spent a lot of time on Google webmaster forum trying to find similar posting. I even posted a similar post there only to determine if others were having similar issues but apparently no one responded.
Even on this forum only few of us sharing our experience. If this was a common problem, don't you think many others will also be talking about this? Or this is only limited to certain websites or niche? If low conversion is the result of economy then obviously not much can be done but if is due to other reasons perhaps we need to discover that.
Kind of the same thing with me... Traffic is actually up and I've seen numerous comments from people saying they plan to buy our stuff. Still, sales are lower than they should be. I think the fear factor is still out there for mainly employed people, who are paranoid that they may be UNemployed because of all that sort of talk. I figure it's only a matter of time before they get over it, and all that looking will start being buying again. I've done the same thing myself... I've looked at stuff, then didn't pull the trigger, thinking I should be more responsible and wait for better times. But if I was broke and had no money at all... I wouldn't even bother looking. Why torture yourself. I use this slower time to work out new tooling and manufacturing ideas to make things go faster... Develop new products... I figure, the more you have, the more you have to sell, the better your chances at sales get.
Have any one of you noticed the traffic drop around the same time when registering and verifying the website with Google webmaster Tool?
We have seen sales of many of our established products take a sales hit and continue to decline (YOY). We continuously develop and add new products so overall we are ok. Traffic on existing products is typically up as others have noticed.
Conversion for my since then has been about .8%. terrible.
2009 sales were 1/2 that of 2007, and 2010 is not looking much better. what to do? much worse and we shut down. :(
we are feeling something very similar. traffic is 3 times what it was last year but sales are the same. our conversion over the past 3 months has dropped from .9 to .3. We sell mostly 'want' not 'need' items.
Any outlook? when should we see this turn around or is it just a matter of waiting.
Conversion rate for my niche fell from .8 to .7 on avg compared to last year this time. I only sell 1 product so it's a big difference.
traffic has dropped about 20% (compared to last)
rankings have not dropped, but in fact improved.
will be adding new products so hopefully this will change.
I have heard talk about the so called "recession" for two years now, but sales are still steadily growing with 5-10% year. Of course there might be a recession but this is more than compensated by people moving from brick and mortar to online sales. All that has declined in the recession is the growth rate of internet sales, not the sales themselves. Instead of growing with 13% internet sales are "only" growing with 5% or so now.
So if you see a decline you either are in a niche that is for some reason especially effected or there is something else going on. For example more competitors.
You are writign about an increase in traffic and decrease in conversions - but have sales actually declined?
Otherwise it could simply be more search enginge activity.
I have seen growth most months in terms of sales but we are adding new product types every couple of months.
I honestly couldn't even tell you what my conversion is. I keep an eye on traffic amounts and where the sales may be coming from. That's about it. I try and spend time coming up with new ideas... More ideas, more products... more products, more chance of sales. Income wise, I'm about where I was last year. Not terrible, not great. I figure it can only get better.
I just find that business is getting harder and harder and wish ecommerce was back to how it was in 2005! They talked about Information Overload back then, but that was before we had Social Networking and blogging and all the other jobs you have to try to squeeze into your day, whilst keeping ever more demanding customers happy! But, hey beats working for someone else, right?
Our conversions are indeed down, and traffic is too, I put it down to increased competition and the simply overwhelming amount of info out there. Got to work hard to get up there ready for when the good times come back to us.
Traffic has dropped the last couple of weeks, but conversions have dropped more. January and February of this year were as good as or better than last year for sales. Right now April is about 40% of what April of last year was. I can't figure out why.
Started doing damage control here since beginning of 2010, esp on online advertising. The expenditure/traffic remained the same, but sales fell off.
Just playing a waiting game now and leaning on our reputation and years in business more for sales. Put adwords on the back burner until it feels like the economy is improving.
In a way it's very relaxing, but there is not as much income coming in. Those inquiries we do get are more likely to be serious customers, and it feels like there is less pressure on deadlines and distraction from looky-loo inquiries.
Also, looking at if getting fewer sales without the ad spend at this point generates more net profit then more sales with ad spend. Now is as good a time as any to reevaluate so there is not an unseen drain there.
I've been avoiding this, but waiting to see some more feedback which I've found here...We've been wholesaling for 18 years, online since 2002 ( seriously since 2005)...Up till March all was consistently up yoy...April and May are mediocre at best...just to reiterate...clicks are the same, conversions down since early April...seems people ar holding their money until they feel absolutely comfortable to spend..
We'd be down a WHOLE LOT MORE if our business was solely US focused...Fortunately , we've been ab;e to ofset the huge loss in US business ( down 50% since 2008) by focusing outside the US.....
That's exactly what I'm doing MrHard... discontinued Yahoo! a month or so ago and finally Adwords last week after continually declining conversions. It helps that we sell a consumable and have repeat customers, and I'm sure grateful for them right about now.