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Analyzing Mothers Day traffic and odd cart behaviour

1:27 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I believe i am right to say that in eCommerce sites it is not unusual to have a slight drop in traffic and sales the day of mothers day. We have consistently seen a steady drop in traffic about 5 days leading up to Mothers Day and then a strong rebound the Monday after. (I should mention that our products are not mother-centric... necessarily)

However, this year (Monday specifically) we saw a lot of very odd behavior in our cart that is unusual in comparison to years before. Google traffic rebounded slightly, cart view were way up but No one, I mean, no one was buying. Just lots of people popping an item in their cart, looking at it and leaving. I've checked to make sure there are no errors in the cart, etc.

Has anyone else experienced an unusual spike in traffic/drop in sales yesterday and continuing into today? With the recent update, are we now being sent a 'different class' of traffic, by that i mean all the non-buyers or as many here like to call it 'zombie traffic'...

Oh, just another frustrating start to another frustrating week...
1:55 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Well if they were actually adding something to their cart, that implies they were interacting with the site.

Did you notice anything odd in your log files or analytics? Was all the extra traffic coming from the same source (direct, Google, a website link)? If it was coming from search, did they use the keywords you'd expect them to? Did they all arrive on the same landing page?

Then I'd look and see if they were all using the same browser (maybe there's a cart problem that's specific to one browser) and if they all "fell out" at the same point in the funnel. Did they all look at a number of pages, or only one?

There's a few of the things you want to rule out.
2:05 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I guess I should clarify that it wasn't 'extra traffic' we just were seeing normal levels compared to the mother's day dip. although our google traffic levels have been 'good' for the past few weeks when we saw a spike in the beginning of May, so now we are back at those beginning of May levels.

The analytics tell us that 7 out of 10 users who put something in the cart backed out of the cart to go back to the site and left without buying and the other 3 abandoned cart and left the site. We put through test orders to make sure there wasn't a paypal issue or an error in checkout and everything seems fine. Just very odd behavior for a day where we got about 15% more unique cart views than on a typical Monday.

Maybe nothing is wrong at all but it feels wrong.. and in the past when it feels wrong it means something's up. only i cant seem to add the clues up because, well... I seem to only have the one clue: no one's buying... it's just really really really hard to wait it out... I know you can all empathize with that.
2:30 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Some of us have seen a drop in traffic too noted on page 6 of this thread [webmasterworld.com...]

Myself, I saw a big drop over the weekend and Monday traffic shot up. The analytics graph almost looks like a 90 angle increase. However, my site is female related and I am an affiliate so situation is a bit different and the Mothers day effect makes sense. However, others that may or may not be in the mother-centric niche have noted a drop.

In your situation, could it be last minute shoppers who were looking for fast-ship, looking for coupons and found a mothers day coupon elsewhere, or simply wanted to put something aside (wishlist) but not necessarily ready to buy and may come back later?

I guess I should clarify that it wasn't 'extra traffic' we just were seeing normal levels compared to the mother's day dip.

Perhaps this behavior was always present but you noticed it more during this "holiday".