Thanks for the reply, Dpd1. I'm not sure where to start.
I'm keeping the directory site for the retail stores because it provides an established site with good traffic to use for a portal to the new site. If someone is looking at a brick and mortar store, I don't think they're looking to buy online. I also get advertising for free. ;)
I tried putting a how-to video on the old site a couple of years ago. Its a very good video, with lots of information, but it was a complete flop. Maybe I could try some other ideas.
I hang out on niche-related forums already. Have been since about 1990. I think I've pushed my old site as much as I could. I don't know that I can push the new one beyond links in my sig line, and shill accounts I can use to post links to my site ("somesite.com has a really good deal on the XYZ widget.")
I'm going to do an email to customers on my list from the old site, and offer them a credit equal to 5% of the amount of the sale to any new customer they refer. Since my products run from $1.50 up to $1600, with the more expensive stuff being the most popular, they stand to rack up some pretty serious credits to use when they want to buy.
I'm also pushing on Facebook, and will be offering a drawing for $100 gift certificates for sharing the link to my site.
Maybe you're right about Google and Bing/Yahoo. It's just been money down the drain for years. When they assign a rep to help me, all the rep does is suggest new keywords to get more clicks. Nothing about getting more conversions.
The lack of sales I believe is in part because it's a brand-new site, and because people in my niche went on a panic buying binge early this year. The sales in the niche set a record in the history of the world for the most widgets sold in the period December through June. If the site had been live then as it was supposed to be... Now people are loaded up and don't need stuff.
That was one reason I launched the new site. The old site had about 250 sku's. The new one has nearly 6,000. I figure just by simple math I should get more sales, all other things being equal, even if people are buying less.