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Our online daily adwords budget didn't fluctuate much all week... Why is there no consistency? The phones are either ringing off the hook or are dead! Anyone else have this problem?
Just like a watched pot never boils, sitting/standing still waiting on something will just stress you out. But the surest method to stir up sales activity has always been to tackle another project...vacumn, rearrange displays, edit some web pages, etc...
It's even true of traffic flow. Roads will average x cars at y times, but on some days, for no reason, there will be 3X cars at y time, and then, one day, there will be X/2 on the road at y time.
There are firms that will take your sales data and link it to the weather, for example, where you are suppose to see how the weather impacts your customers' buying habits. The idea here is you can "forecast" sales like the weather. Ha. (Good weather, good sales. Bad weather, bad sales. Please send me a check for $1,500.)
This is why it vital to use trend data that comes from over a long period of time over a large sample. And, then, don't worry about day-to-day traffic, one way or another. Or even week-to-week.
Typically, a new enterprise will finally get one of those weird big-flow periods and instead of seeing it as unusual, they'll decide that, ah!, the world has finally seen my biz for the outstanding value that it is. Then, of course, sales will drop to normal and, then, a low-flow period will hit--for no reason anyone can see--and that will throw them into crisis, when in reality the long trend is good.
Savvy ad agencies & consultants (and even some webmasters) know to make some kind of change right away (green to blue, or blue to green, is always safe) when a biz in this kind of "crisis" comes in the door with checkbook in hand, because the sales flow will likely correct itself naturally but they want to get some kind of credit for the change, which is tough to do if they have done nothing.
"Wow, thank you. I didn't know blue was so powerful!"
"Yes, we professionals have found how these little things can make a big impact."
- Daily traffic extremely steady and predictable.
- Daily revenue wildly erratic and unpredictable.
- Monthly revenue extremely steady and predictable.
For the past 7 years, the revenue per visitor on each individual day would fluctuate less than 5%. Based on the number of visits, we could estimate with extreme accuracy how much revenue we would make on a given day... like clockwork, the actual sales would be between 98% and 102% of our estimate each and every day.
This has changed. Here's our revenue per visitor data from last week:
Monday - 65% of historical estimate.
Tuesday - 75% of estimate
Wednesday - 145% of estimate.
Thursday - 70% of estimate
Friday - 150% of estimate
Saturday - 96% of estimate
Sunday - 115% of estimate
Total for week - 102% of estimate
Total for month - 101% of estimate
Our data for the past several months show similar fluctuations. 7 years of earlier data show steady streams of days with 95% to 105% of estimate with perhaps 10 or 15 outlier days each year (rather than the current 15+ outlier days we're seeing each month.)
This pattern started around October 2008, right around the time the US financial crisis began.
Our largest store sells widgets that workers must buy in order to do their job. Since October, our average order size has decreased, but order frequency has increased proportionally... they have to buy around 12 a year, but instead of buying 6 at a time, they are buying 4 at a time.
As for the reason for daily fluctuations: we're clueless (and we don't really care.) As Weeks mentioned above "use trend data that comes from over a long period of time over a large sample. And, then, don't worry about day-to-day"
It's like the gods are playing with me. I go 2 days at half normal volume and start to worry a little about it, just in time to be deluged with so many orders that I don't have time to think at all.
If anyone knows what gives, I am interested in your theories!
All the stats adding up, nothing unusual. Compo in various areas is much the same, no price decreases etc etc.
I had an idea Google Shopping was to blame, tried a few things, that idea went into the bin, PPC is still good.
In short, maybe Mrs.Piggy flu is attacking the CC's!
Miss Piggy flu...hmmm, hadn't considered that one...
Tonearm, I had a similar thought - may be something to do with media. But I watch the news too - and can't correlate what I see there with when I see the trends.
Now I am leaning more toward the weather, the phase of the moon, color of Brian Williams' shirt, price of tea in China, who knows what.
I'm a statistician... I actually teach statistics at the local university. I've been in ecommerce for 8 years. Trust me, this is a statistically significant event without a simple explanation.
I own, have a share, or consult directly with several ecommerce shops. Some are stable, some are growing, and some are losing traction... they all have one thing in common: increased daily revenue variation that began in October 2008.
I'm seeing record revenue days followed by record revenue lows 2 or 3 days later... all of this with no logical rhyme or reason, and across dozens of unrelated web properties. The most frustrating piece is that if the reason(s) for the new found variation could be uncovered, it could likely be harnessed...
and rachel123: if Brian Willams would wear pink (as we've requested in countless letters), our sales (and yours) would triple.
I've found it to be true that if you want the phone to ring, go to the bathroom.
That's why I use cordless phones, I can take a call anywhere all day long.
BTW, if you think people are shopping on the weekends and calling on MON/TUES you might increase sales if you try staying open on the weekends during your peak traffic hours, or perhaps forward on the weekend to your cell and see what happens.
That being said, please provide me with the contact information for this Mr. Brian Williams so I may begin requesting wardrobe changes. We're sure pink is the most effective shirt color for sales increases? Should all weathermen wear pink? Or just Mr. Williams? Please advise.
Up until about 3 years ago, I could tell you (within a couple of units) what sales would be that day, based on the day of the week, if it were a holiday, time of the year, what was going on in the world (summer olympics), etc.
That has now gone out the window...what should be slow days are great days - what should be great days are slow days...holidays are completely hit or miss.
..and I really do not know what changed, as this happened before the economy went sour.
I finally accepted that there is no longer a 'pattern', and I no longer worry about having a 'pattern' for daily orders.
How are things averaging out into weeks or months?
[edited by: rise2it at 6:25 pm (utc) on May 6, 2009]
There is, people! ;)
My wife was a "Statistical Analyst" for a big company with the initials G and E. I never understood her job until I started crunching analytics for my web sites.:)
Here's a theory. People are responding to the ebb and flow of fear signals produced by the media.
Sounds reasonable. Might also be a correlation between the stock market close (or the volatility during the day) and sales.
For affiliate stuff, if the avg payout is $200/day, I'm seeing anywhere from $50 to $450 per day in retail stuff. Revenue from tax filing packages caused some of that up till tax day. That is much more volatility than I've normally seen.
Personals are the one thing that is steady day over day and steadily increasing overall. People want to hook up no matter what. :)
I own a B2B ecommerce site selling worldwide based in Europe. We have the same experience. What we did see was an interesting wave effect across countries starting October 2008. Our US sales were destroyed first, followed by the UK in January, then Germany, then other European countries, etc. The pattern was clear as day.
We're now riding this wave and we see countries picking up again, others not yet. This is causing monthly sales to be erratic. February the UK came back like nothing had ever happened, Germany is still down, the US wavering. Strange...
Traffic has grown steadily in the meantime. Since the long-term pattern is good, I'm not worried about predicting sales on a daily basis.
Didn't someone once say the only constant in life is change?