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The holiday hit that never came

Where'd everybody go?

     

dpd1

8:21 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Well... Got slammed last year with more than we could handle. This year, traffic was double across the year, economics seemed to be a little better... So I decided to prepare for the same, if not better. Nothing... This month has been a total dud. We're at 1/4 of what we did last year at this time. The strange part is that I don't think I've had one email yet, asking if we can get something to them before Christmas. It's just bizarre and dumbfounding. I don't think I'll ever exactly understand sales.

wyweb

9:16 pm on Dec 10, 2009 (gmt 0)



I don't think I'll ever exactly understand sales

Nor will I...

MrHard

3:05 am on Dec 11, 2009 (gmt 0)



Holidays, for those who are soft.

ponyboy96

3:17 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



X 2. Sales have been pretty average so far this month, but then again, my site has only been open for 8 month.

dickbaker

3:56 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sales for me have been about 80% of last year. That's good, since last year's sales were boosted by outside factors that likely won't be repeated.

It's looking like the last half of the month will be about 50% of last December, though. I don't know why that is.

HRoth

5:26 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I don't usually get a boost for the holidays, but this December has not been so bad. My sales so far this month have been on par with December 2007, which is good. December 2008 was a disaster. 2009 has been a really tough year for me, down 17% over 2008. I'm hoping things turn around for 2010. I have to agree with dpd1 about not understanding retail sales. The hardest thing I have learned from having a shop for the past ten years is not to clench when sales go down. Most of the time it is nothing a merchant has any control over.

dpd1

8:38 pm on Dec 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Things have picked up a bit this week. More inquiries, which is always a good sign. But it's still well below last year. Maybe just good luck last year, or bad luck this year, or both. Not sure. Some orders coming in from females, which is usually a sign of gifts in my biz.

Miop

12:08 am on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



From the UK - we weren't actually badly hit last year, but this year has been abysmal, even though we are selling gift items. About 50% of a reasonable month so far.
I'm closing up after...it's good not to clench when sales go down, but when you are continually making a loss, it's time to give up.

Miop

12:09 am on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



PS lots of people looking - nobody buying.
We weren't doing too badly until we had another national postal strike a couple of months ago - since then it's been very bad.

topr8

12:28 am on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



i think amazon are grabbing the lions share (uk)...
i spoke to the parcel delivery guy yesterday, he said he started the day with 120 packages in the van, more than 100 were amazon deliveries.

dpd1

1:51 am on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Sorry to hear you're quitting Miop. Yeah, maybe Amazon's hard hitting tactics paid off this year. I've been slammed with emails from them for months. The one major thing they have going for them is convenience. The number of sales sites just keeps increasing, but people at some point may start getting overwhelmed. If they can get it all in one place, that's a big plus. Luckily what I sell, you will not find on a site like that. But apparently I'm still not bulletproof. I may have actually benefited from the bad times last year in some weird way, as my products are somewhat of a guilty pleasure, but not outrageously expensive. So maybe this year people went for the big stuff and I fell to the bottom of the list.

jsinger

5:15 am on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



We're having a pretty good December. Down a bit in traffic but up nicely in revenue.

HRoth

12:28 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



That's incredible about Amazon sales in the UK. I had no idea.

The worst thing about ups and downs in sales is that you can see the stats but trying to figure out why it's happening is almost impossible. I hate that. My income has gone down this past year so that if I hadn't been developing frugal habits for other reasons, I would be having a tough time. But one good thing about this past terrible year is that it has forced me to work more actively on producing other types of income in the same niche both online and off. I have had all my eggs in one basket for too long. There's a lot of emotional wear and tear in that.

ytswy

3:24 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I asked our City Link driver if they were doing a lot of Amazon deliveries. He said they had a pile as big as two of their vans this morning, all from Amazon...

It's been a weird year for us. Started very well and had some other good months. Then at times it's been like a tap being turned off and you can hear the tumbleweed blowing through the office. December has been slow, but then it always is for us.

jsinger

5:16 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



He said they had a pile as big as two of their vans this morning, all from Amazon...

I track a mock portfolio of about 15 e-commerce stocks. It's done fairly well compared with the broader market and especially B/M retail. The best of the 15 is Amazon which has doubled from its low. Wish I had bought some a year ago. I had considered that but concluded it was too pricey even near its low!

Digmen1

7:29 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Wow that's amazing about Amazon ?
Is there any hope for small independant web sites - or should we all join Amazon ?

dpd1

11:13 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



I don't think it's hopeless, but it probably doesn't hurt to run your stuff through them as well, if you can afford the cut. Personally, I was surprised at their climb in the market, because I've felt they've been slipping the last couple years. Their shipping times and product info were very good to start, but it kind of seemed like they were slacking off lately. Too many discontinued products clogging up searches... Too many items that say they're in stock, then turn out not to be. It seemed to me like it was the usual stuff that happens to companies that get too big. But apparently not everybody thought that. But if you have something desirable enough and unique, I think people will still buy. It's the people that are selling the exact same stuff as Amazon that probably have a hard time.

akmac

11:38 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



FWIW I'm in a luxury goods niche, and this has been our best year in total revenue, and the best Christmas season to date. The most noticeable change I've seen this year is fewer orders, but a much higher average ticket.

Apparently, the rich are still rich.

jsinger

12:08 am on Dec 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The most noticeable change I've seen this year is fewer orders, but a much higher average ticket.

Hilarious. Our experience is the opposite. Average order size has fallen about 10% Y to Y for the past few months but that's being more than offset by more transactions.

Web shoppers used to be wealthier and far more educated than most. But I'm guessing the web is attracting more "Blue Light" special types. Everything I've seen on TV about web shopping has been positive this year. Gone is most of the nonsense about the "dangers of shopping online."

It used to be that TV couldn't say one nice thing about online shopping without mentioning ten reasons to shun it.

HRoth

1:55 am on Dec 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think there are all kinds online now, both blue-light special types and wealthy folks. I noticed that my average ticket was 40% higher this December than last December's. I have deliberately been trying to focus on creating more expensive widgets, because I figure rich people are going to continue to be rich. The only group that is not online much and could really make use of it is rural folks. I get a lot of phone calls from them looking for paper catalogs, people who don't even have personal computers and if they did, out in the sticks there is nothing but dialup in a lot of places. Seems like there is a market there waiting to be tapped.

dpd1

2:23 am on Dec 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Years ago I briefly (very) worked for a telemarketing company that targeted rural farmers and such. In theory it wasn't a bad idea. But the sales people were total scum and would lie through their teeth to sell stuff. They'd pitch something to some farmer and tell him NASA used it or something. I left for lunch and never came back. But depending on what you sell, I would imagine those people are still out there. And many probably have less actual merchandise to choose from then they did years ago. Many towns only had a Sears order outlet not long ago. Now many towns don't even have that.

Miop

12:31 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Re dangers of shopping online - apparently 1200+ etail bogus websites in the UK were shut down a few weeks ago by UK police and it was all over the press - I did wonder if that had had some effect on people's trust...

PS what is 'blue-light' please?

ytswy

12:57 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



PS what is 'blue-light' please?

I was wondering that myself... After a little digging I found this on the Wikipedia page for Kmart [en.wikipedia.org].

Kmart became known for its "Blue Light Specials." They occurred at surprise moments when a store worker would light up a mobile police light and offer a discount in a specific department of the store. At the height of Kmart's popularity, the phrase "attention Kmart shoppers" also entered into the American pop psyche, appearing in films and other media such as Rain Man, Troop Beverly Hills, Six Days Seven Nights, and Beetlejuice.

I think it passed us by on this side of the pond :)

Miop

1:03 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thank you!

woop01

1:58 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

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These types of threads save a bit of the stress over the ~10% drops in revenue year over year.

jsinger

2:37 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"'m guessing the web is attracting more "Blue Light" special types."

Yep, from KMart's use of those carts with small revolving blue lights (like on red ones on American police cars). A cheesy in-store ad gimmick to attract mostly working class housewvives to a very brief promotion. Bluelight.com was the name of kmart's website. (I don't think it still is)

Miop

3:55 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It has been more than 10% for me - the trade I'm in is so easy to start - low capital and you don't need any premises, therefore lots more businesses on the web have come into the market. We have lost market share as well as a decrease in sales due to the recession.
We are still in business due to the number of people in remote parts of Britain who use us. A merry Christmas to them! (and all of you...hope things pick up next year)

mattb

4:13 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Revenue is up 6% in last 30 days for us. However, we are not holiday sales oriented.

Digmen1

4:34 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



If you read the ebay forums a lot of top sellers on the are upset with ebays policies, and say that they are setting up their own website.
So it stands to reason that there more website retailers there are the less sales to go round for each one.

dpd1

7:32 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Oh man, I actually remember the original Blue Light Special thing in the stores when I was a kid. That was also back when Kmart still sold pets. Kmart was the original Target really. They just fell out of favor for some reason.

Miop... Maybe you can start moving into other types of stuff? That can often start rejuvenating sales. That's one thing I regret this year... I was so busy making stuff, that I didn't have time to develop new things... which is a big mistake. That's what has shot me into the new year with increasing sales the last few years, and this year I'll just be going in with the same amount of sales. Probably not a coincidence. I think expansion is very important.

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