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Fourth day without an order--what would you check?

     
9:55 pm on Aug 24, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've had a relatively good month for sales. However, from Saturday through today I've had absolutely nothing. I don't think I've ever gone four days without a sale.

I've checked the shopping cart by using a remote desktop service I subscribe to, and used different OS's and browsers, and the sale came through. Looked at the stats and the number of people going to the cart was the same, except nobody completed a sale.

I know that just about every online retailer goes through a slump, but I'm just wondering what others do to make sure there isn't a technical problem.
11:34 am on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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@HRoth = It's more like they've stopped breathing altogether! Since September 1st, we've seem a continually decline in sales to this week, which comes in at half our normal sales volume for this time of the year and the lowest week in 5 years. If ever there was a time to panic it's now. If his trend continues for much longer, I will be put out of business.
This has got to be the most damaging Google update ever and has been a real nightmare for anyone selling products or services. It seems the massive MFA sites are thriving though.
The economic repercussions will hit us right as the holiday season arrives. And when quarterly taxes are due, I'm not going to be able to make a payment. I figured this would recover quickly, especially since Gorg claims to be able to index a pile of paper 3 miles high every second. Google's little experiment is now starting to claim it's first victims, small businesses who pay them regular tribute through Adwords (us).
It's been nice knowing you all...don't forget to turn off the lights when you leave.

BTW - I'm fast becoming a believer in that 12/21/2010 end of the world theory. Maybe not the end of the world, but the end of civilization as we knew it.
7:18 pm on Oct 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed the general slowness too, dpd1. Blogs I regularly read not being updated much lately, for instance, and forums quieter. Like people are holding their breath.


I've seen it before... I have no idea why it happens. Sometimes the herd just gets distracted. Weird part is, it doesn't seem to follow any sort of yearly schedule.

Hang in there Backdraft... Things will get better. People have to buy stuff from somebody.
4:40 am on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Well, things seem to be kind of getting back to a normal flow here finally. Seems like maybe a lot of those lookers are coming back. Maybe people had to get past spending a ton of money for their kids going back to school or something, who knows. Hope everybody else is seeing improvements.
10:06 pm on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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No improvement here. I had a bit of a burst of activity, then things slowed down in the last week or so. I've had no sales the last two days.

Some retailers in my niche have said they think people are waiting on the elections before spending discretionary money, but I have a hard time believing that the majority of people pay attention to tax policy (until April 15th, of course).
10:33 pm on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Agreed. Today, and yesterday (oct. 7) have been weird. non-paid search traffic dropped substantially (like 50%) and my rankings have not dropped. Anybody else seeing this?
5:56 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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DB do you utilize GA on your site?
6:26 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes, Outland88, I do. Why do you ask?
7:05 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Verses last year our sectors traffic is down by maybe 15-20%. And those that are still showing up are not aggressive buyers like years past. That said, our sales are off nearly 50% verses last year at this time.

Our thinking is there is a lot of uncertainty about the economy, the electorate is in a sour mood, unemployment is high. Businesses and individuals are hoarding cash. If all goes well these things will sort themselves out and those of us that are able to survive today will eventually flourish once again.
8:08 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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DB, I look at various reports like your's and the relationship with GA. Now I mainly look for sites that removed GA and saw a loss of traffic.
11:47 pm on Oct 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have been seeing something really weird in my stats details. People whose machine is located in the US according to the stats and yet they are coming to my site from google.uk, google.fr, google.de, google.ca. I have never seen anything like it.

The other thing that is weird for me is that usually about half of my visitors are coming from a bookmark. Now they are almost all coming from Google. Creeps me out.
12:21 am on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hey everyone,
I'm kinda new to the forum. Been hovering around Apache Web Server forum and Spider IDing. As for my online sales, they are way down. I've been in business for 10 years and the last two were bad, but this is the worst. I started worrying that maybe someone had poisoned the DNS cache and was redirecting all my traffic to their server. But it looks like lots of folks are having a slowdown in sales. Maybe Ahmadinejad is getting even with us for the Stuxnet virus. ; )
1:08 am on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have been seeing something really weird in my stats details. People whose machine is located in the US according to the stats and yet they are coming to my site from google.uk, google.fr, google.de, google.ca. I have never seen anything like it.

The other thing that is weird for me is that usually about half of my visitors are coming from a bookmark. Now they are almost all coming from Google. Creeps me out.


Do you have any sort of complimentary content, or have you added any recently? I have non sales related content, and the traffic for that far exceeds the actual sales traffic. Most traffic comes from searches for stuff people are looking for (much of which is overseas) and they stumble in. Which of course is the whole reason why I do it. The thing that probably brings me the most traffic is google image searches.

I have other sites, where at some point I added a news piece or something, and for whatever reason, one particular piece will just dominate month after month. No rhyme or reason... They are always the top ranking pages. I have no idea why. So maybe you recently stumbled into one of those type of things.

I don't know... I gave up trying to understand the search engines a long time ago. It's sort of futile in my opinion.
2:08 am on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The thing that probably brings me the most traffic is google image searches.

It seems odd to me that customers are shopping via Google Image Search. Do you watermark your images, or can your competitors freely download pristine images of your products? In other words, does your image-seach traffic convert, or are they just interested in your images?
7:37 am on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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No, this is complimentary content. It's not directly related to the products, but rather, content that people who might be interested in the products would also like. Yes, it does convert. What the percentage is, I have no idea.
12:45 pm on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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dpd1, I have a lot of free content also, and I know that a lot of my visitors come just to read it and with no intention of buying, that they use it as a reference. That is okay with me. I hope eventually to convert the site to content. But usually are larger percentage of people who visit actually buy something from me. That percentage has gone down. I think I actually need to create more new products, that that's the problem.
10:11 pm on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I agree, I think the more products the better. I know some places that have been selling the same exact few products for ten years or more. I honestly don't know how they do it. I have no shortage of product ideas, but unfortunately, a large shortage of time to do them.
12:23 am on Oct 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Same problem I've got.
12:03 am on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Anyone experience lower conversion rates by adding the "Verisign trust"
logo & service? I can't seem to nail down the sudden drop in orders. Today we did literally 1/4 of what we normally do on a Friday. This whole week was mediocre actually. Traffic is down slightly but not enough to do this kind of damage.
9:51 am on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I don't have Verisign. But since it has been so terribly slow, I decided it was a good time to roll out a product 10-15 times the cost of the average item on my site. I have been working on this concept for the past year or so but have been afraid to put it up. I decided what the heck. So far, this item has accounted for half a normal week's income all by itself. I thank the gods for their grace. I only hope this item continues to sell, because I really enjoy making them. I created and priced this on the basis of a friend's remark that no matter how bad it gets, there will always be rich people. The thing is that the customers who have bought this item are not rich that I can tell.

Rolling out something unexpectedly expensive might be a tactic worth trying.
12:00 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sounds good. I think it's easy to let the negative comments stick with us more than the positive sometimes. At least, I know I do that. I take the comments of people saying something is too much, and ignore the ones that don't care... thereby assuming nobody is going to pay a certain amount for something, when that may not be true. I don't think there's any set logic written in stone as far as what people will pay for something. But psychology plays a huge part.

I have one product that is a decent size. People remarked that they thought I was charging too little (which is unheard of). So I raised it. Nobody had a problem with it. I later created a similar item. It had the same number of parts, same amount of labor, same level of performance... but was just half the size of the first one. I know how people think, so I purposely started with a lower price than I wanted. Even with the lower price, numerous people said it was too expensive. The only monetary difference between the two, was maybe $6 in materials. The only other physical difference was that the second one was half the size of the first. So in people's minds... Big = expensive is OK. Small = Expensive... Not OK. Then of course you've got the 'It's expensive, so it must be better' way of thinking, which is a whole different thing.

I was telling a pretty smart business guy that something was going to have to change... I just work too hard and don't make enough. He said... If you're going to raise prices, don't raise them a tiny bit... Raise them by a large amount. Seek out a whole new customer base that will look at the products a different way, so that even if you sell half what you did before, at worst you're breaking even, with half the amount of work. It's all in how you promote.

It sounds great, but takes guts to do. So maybe you have discovered that your niche can support a whole higher echelon of customers. Or maybe that's the level all your stuff belongs at.
1:36 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Ive a site where I only sell items in certain months not even peak visitor moths either, all very odd.
9:57 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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" Seek out a whole new customer base that will look at the products a different way, so that even if you sell half what you did before, at worst you're breaking even, with half the amount of work. It's all in how you promote."

This is exactly what I am trying to act on. And you're right--it does take a lot of guts. It's frightening to hike the prices, especially when times are tough.
1:16 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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..That is an interesting statement. I purchased a book about a year ago titled "Pricing Psychology" (I believe that is correct). There were a couple chapters devoted to increasing sales and profitability by increasing prices across the board. I originally thought that was a crazy idea but now I am starting to wonder if it might be true. Every week I'll get at least one or two customers call to ask if our products are new and why the price is so low.
8:59 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes, same here nothing for around 4 days now.
People are looking but just not taking the plunge at the minute.
I blame the ruddy government as we don't know what is going on.

Beck.
7:20 pm on Oct 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

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yes I have noticed that most of the forums I watch have been a bit slow for the last few months.

i think its going to be quite for the next 2 years at least. The US economy is going sideways, and until some real jobs start being created things will be slow.

But of course this does not explain sudden drops in sales.
I work in a retail shop and we can have a brilliant day, then several slow days. There are no patterns.
4:22 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Very slow here as well, started about mid October, this last couple of days only my cheapest products have sold at all. Traffic is about the same, my sites are all on the first page of Google and Bing, just no takers..........
9:41 pm on Oct 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Interesting and useful.

So many of you are seeing a slower period? I think the economy is failing and that is the biggest factor right now.
12:24 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think fundamentally you are right about the economy. It is frightening. I try to focus on being more frugal and creating other income. If you allow yourself to become too afraid/worried, it can become paralyzing.
3:22 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yep, I think it's the economy, about 20% unemployed in the USA by the old rating system (U6) 6.1 million have been unemployed 26 weeks or longer, five million have been unemployed for 99 weeks, The self employedare not even counted. The rest are scared watching their neighbors lives implode......
3:36 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Yes when states start laying off policemen and firemen you know things are bad.

I just wish Obama had given money to people to stay in their homes and to infrastructure projects, instead of giving it to fat cat bankers who were the ones that got us all in this mess in the first place.

Things are never going to pick up till the west stops buying so much stuff from China, and until the west starts employing more people.
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