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Traffic up, Sales Down?

Discussion in 'General Marketing' started by nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. #1
    I started this site back in November and have been working on it steadily since then. The past few months I've noticed some very strange behavior. Starting with June my traffic has taken some excellent jumps month over month, but sales are inversely affected. I'm not sure why. It looks like this:

    May: 1491 Uniques, 7 Sales
    June: 2995 Uniques, 5 Sales
    July: 5008 Uniques, 3 Sales
    August To Date: 8915 Uniques, 2 sales.
    SEMrush
    Is it just me, or does something here seem wrong?
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Crazy_Rob

    Crazy_Rob I seen't it!

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    #2
    You might not be getting the right visitors.

    How are these people finding your site?

    Did you exclude bots from your stats?
     
    Crazy_Rob, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  3. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #3
    Yes, the bots are accounted for. The people seem to be finding the site via search engines, Mostly Yahoo and MSN, but I am #1 for a few brand names in G. I'm also getting a fair amount of traffic through Froogle. I thought about that, that I'm not getting the right visitors, but I'm not sure how to check that, but it seems like the shouldn't be the problem at this point. I'm more thinking it could be a presentation or precieved reliablilty issue. Or maybe people don't like having only PayPal as an option for payment. Whatever it is, I need to figure it out. I'm coming up on the area of 10,000 uniques a month, I should be doing better in the sales department.
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  4. Crazy_Rob

    Crazy_Rob I seen't it!

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    #4
    Post your url here or in the reviews forum.

    (is it the one in your sig?)
     
    Crazy_Rob, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  5. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #5
    It's the top one in the sig, Mari-Len.com.
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  6. frankm

    frankm Active Member

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    #6
    Your sales number is 2 to 7, using statistics on those numbers will never be accurate.
    --math skipped--
    or the other way around in human terms: I read it as: you need 200 to 4500 visitors to make a sale.

    when you get 10x more traffic, that will still probably be true with a 100% margin :)

    but to answer your question: your first month was probably a lucky one , a complete family ordered your products or a street or something. Drop the highest and the lowest and you end up with 1 sale on every 600 - 1700, see, numbers can let you make believe anything you want.

    The possitive thing is you have a lot of visitors, 8915 in august, they must be looking for something to spend their beer-money on. But they do not on your site. Maybe you got the wrong traffic, maybe your site sucks maybe your product is not good enough, who knows. Why not put up a poll or questionaire, with some simple questions like "I came to this site to buy/order/get information on .... "? it just might point you in a right / better direction
     
    frankm, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  7. frankm

    frankm Active Member

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    #7
    I was typing my reply to your initial posting while you gave the url to the site, so please replace beer money with , erm well... something women spend money on
     
    frankm, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  8. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #8
    The people that do buy usually just buy one item, and they're from all over the country so it's not a case of one person buying a lot, or a group all buying the same thing.

    The question is, what is a reasonable ratio of visitors to sales? I've heard number like 0.01 which seems low, but on 10,000 visitors that's 100 sales. I'm making right around $10 profit per sale on average. That would be enough money to spend on AdWords or the like for a decent increase in traffic which would, of course, increase sales and feed on itself. Right now I'm not even making enough money to put back in.

    If I don't hit that 10,000 unique visitor milestone this month I'm going to get REALLY close, well over 9,000. I still think I should be seeing much better sales numbers. Even a .001 ration would be 10 sales, I'm not even getting that!
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  9. stephenmunday

    stephenmunday Peon

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    #9
    The question of what is a reasonable rate of sales per visitor is often asked and is really impossible to answer. It totally depends on your business area. After all, if you are selling nuclear powerstations, one sale is per one million visits is probably a great ratio, whereas if you are selling socks it is obviously not.

    I also agree with a previous poster that the number of sales is so small that it is not going to provide statistically valid data. If you are looking for better data, I would add the number of sales to the number of sales enquiries each month. (Since people who are making an enquiry are almost there in the sales process, even if they don't end up buying.) If you can see a trend when you use these figures, it might be more useful.

    Now, the other thing is that you say that you have been changing your site continuously. Well, could it have been something you did to your site that affected this? Perhaps you changed the navigation or the way you displayed your products? The problem with what you have asked is that there was increased traffic during this period and at the same time there were numerous changes made to the site. If there were no changes made, we could (maybe) isolate the traffic factor and consider why higher traffic did not result in more sales. (Perhaps a nice recommendation link from a reputable site was lost while other less valuable links were gained, leading to an overall increase in traffic quantity, but not quality?) Then there are other factors like seasonal factors, fashion trends etc. which could affect your product sales.

    I think you need to look in much more details both at your figures and stats as well as the changes you made to your site during the period in question.
     
    stephenmunday, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  10. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #10
    Actually, until the past week or so, I haven't made any significant changes to the site other than removing or adding an item here or there. As far as looking at the stats, you're right. There isnt' enough there to make a real analysis. The number of enquiries is only about double the number of sales. Given the low numbers, that's not much. The question is what is wrong, if anything, with the site now.

    Whereever the sales number are now, the real question is how do I increase them? I don't think I need to put a lot of money into SEO. If I'm getting to 10,000 uniques a month without spending a dime the SEO is probably good enough for now. This is a real objective marketing question. People are coming to the site and looking at the product. Is the problem price? Not likely, I got the best prices on a lot of the stuff I sell. Is it presentation? Is it the paypal factor? I don't know. How much would it cost to get a real marketing guru to take a look at the site?
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 28, 2005 IP
  11. webmistress

    webmistress Guest

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    #11
    WOW - nice dresses! :p

    As far as your sales problem is concerned, you're attracting only scouts so to say.
    If i refer to your stats:

    May: 1491 Uniques, 7 Sales
    June: 2995 Uniques, 5 Sales
    July: 5008 Uniques, 3 Sales
    August To Date: 8915 Uniques, 2 sales.

    Your stats reveal typical track of "referred sales", that is people who bought a product from your site and recommended it to their peers. This is why it's only 7 sales in May and constantly decreasing over the months.

    The industry standard conversion rate for specialized online shops is 1 sale out of 75 visitors. Your stats say it's 1 sale out of nearly 4460 visitors. You're definitely attracting untargeted visitors, even if you think that there're finding you from the search engines, their mindset could be for reference purposes only.

    If you can PM me your stats for the search engine keywords then i'll be better be able to help.

    Again i have to say, nice site and nice dresses :p
     
    webmistress, Aug 29, 2005 IP
  12. stephenmunday

    stephenmunday Peon

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    #12
    Good points from Webmistress, although I would like to see a reference to back up this assertion: "The industry standard conversion rate for specialized online shops is 1 sale out of 75 visitors." I personally really doubt you can nail it down like that. If you are talking about specialist shops, then the diversity of the products they offer added to the diversity of the site designs out there would mean that this is a pretty meaningless average.

    Now, to your problem: Basically you want to improve your conversion rate. Looking at your site, I agree that you have a nice, clean design and good-looking products. I think you do have a problem with your copy for one. The first things I saw as a visitor? "Welcome to Mari-Len.com! Please click here and tell us what you think of Mari-Len.com! And check out our modern sizing guide!" It told me nothing about what you sell. (Yeah, I know you sell clothing from the pictures, but I can get clothing from my local store - what is the point of getting it from your site?) It didn't get me excited about your products ("Turn heads so far they spin with our slinky cocktail dresses!). Nor did it help me navigate or know what to do.

    Looking at your product descriptions, they are all very basic and purely descriptive. They do not whet my appetite or pull at my purse strings at all. "Top-handle handbag"? I can get one in WalMart (or could if I lived in the US!) Remember you are not really selling clothes. Clothes can be bought or made at much lower prices and still be perfectly functional. What you are selling is the pschological pleasure of owning and being seen in these clothes. That is what your sales copy has stimulate.

    I would also add:

    - 100% Satisfaction Guarantee (or at least a 30-Day money back guarantee)
    - Prominent "Contact" and "About Us" (with your picture and a picture of your office, if you have one) to show you are a real business and a genuine fashion expert.
    - Live Customer support that is actually live and prominently visible on your top page. (I thought you didn't have it initially, because I missed the tiny text link. Go for a graphic with your friendly face on it!)
    - Articles personally written by you with your fashion tips linking directly to individual products. "Fall is here, so it's time to think about your .... wardrobe." Have a prominent link to the latest article from your top page "Fall Fashion Tips Here!" Keep the old articles under a "Previous Articles" link and classify them either by season or by product type. ("See previous fall fashion tips here", "See previous accessories tips here"). This will continue to generate traffic as these pages get indexed, and could still generate residual sales.
    - Take these articles, make them a little more generic (no direct product links) and submit them to article sites with a link at the bottom to your homepage. You get credibility, inbound links and direct visitors - all of which helps sales.
    - Get customer testimonials up as soon as possible. If I receive a positive email from anyone (sometimes even customers who have had a complaint that I have fixed) I immediately email back and ask if I can use their comments. No one has ever refused, and it is a great benefit to potential purchasers.
    - Your detailed product descriptions are too banal. Make it really personal: "People say gray is dull, but what I love about this Larry Levine Two Button Blazer is the way it seems so cool and light. Subtle and sexy - with those vertical stripes that take off pounds." Speak to your customer, don't sound like a trade catalog.
    - Offer discounts to repeat customers: My customers get a discount code in with their order receipt and on the Thank You Page. It's valid until the end of the following month and can be used by that customer - or by their friends. There is no limit. Not only do I get repeat business, but I also get referrals from previous customers who tell their friends, who then use this code. Costs me a little margin, but I still make god profit.
    - Offer a free fashion ezine updated weekly with the articles you are putting on your site. The people who sign up for this are much more likely to become customers - and you can retain them better in the future as well - using this method. You could offer the articles a week earlier to the ezine subscribers than to regular site visitors. ("Sign up now to get the latest insider fashion tips a week before they appear here!")
    - Streamline your sales process: Check your stats to see who is putting what in their cart and how far they get before they abandon it. Look at the bottleneck pages and ask yourself why this is happening.
    - Recover abandonned carts: Email people who get partway through the buying process with a polite email asking them if they need help ordering and offering them a discount if they come back and try again. Don't be salesy, just helpful. Re-emphasize your guarantee and other reassuring factors about your sales practices. Even if they never purchase, I find that I have learned a lot about problems with my site that I never ever could have found out in years of testing through people taking the time to email me.

    Just a few ideas I had while taking a break from my work. Hope they help!
     
    stephenmunday, Aug 29, 2005 IP
    webmistress likes this.
  13. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #13
    Thanks webmistress. I PMed you the keyword stats. I appreciate any insight you could provide, and look forward to knowing what you think.

    Stephenmunday I have to say a lot of what you put there I've already thought of, and I'm always trying to implement new things. The problem is I'm not a marketing Guru, (I have one but she's getting married in a couple weeks and will be incogneto until November). Meanwhile I have to try to make some improvements on my own for the time being. I'm going to go through your suggestions and see what I can do. The problem I have at the moment is until this site starts converting better I have to keep my stupid day job so I don't have the kind of time it would take to do some of the things you suggest, or that I'd like. If I can get to 1 sale in 75 visitors that would put me just about at 5 sales a day. That would be enough to replace my day job at walgreens and really go to work on this. I swear, Director of MIS for a retail chain to Photo Tech at Walgreens in two short years. That's got to be a record. One things for sure, it REALLY sucks!
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 30, 2005 IP
  14. stephenmunday

    stephenmunday Peon

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    #14
    Good luck with the changes, Nicholas.

    It sounds obvious, but it is probably worth mentioning anyway: Start with the small changes that make a big impact - like changing the link to the live help to a graphic. The changes to copy will take a lot more work. Worth it in the long-term, but in the short term you want to get as big a bang for your time spent as you can. In my experience, even a very small change in the site can make a big impact in conversion. It is difficult to say which of these suggestions will do it for your site, as each one is different, but I would imagine that among the 3 or 4 things there that are easy-ish to implement, there will be one that has a noticeable effect on conversion and on your bottom line.

    Keep us updated by posting back changes you make and benefits to your conversion rate to this thread and we can all benefit from your experience.

    Go for it!

    Stephen
     
    stephenmunday, Aug 30, 2005 IP
  15. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #15
    Changing the live help link is actually academic at this point. I'm just not available regularly like I was when I first put up the live help. If I can drive sales up a bit that will change, but at the moment it's the best I can do. Anyway, I'm actually updating ZenCart to the latest version so I'm going to put in the changes as I go. Hopefully that will help put some money in the bank. As for rewriting the descriptions, that's a lot of work, and something I'm not particularly good at. You're right though, I really need to set a different tone on the site as a whole. Thanks for the insight.
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 30, 2005 IP
  16. stephenmunday

    stephenmunday Peon

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    #16
    I understand about the live help.

    My point was just that you probably want to make a list of the work that needs to be done starting with the smallest, easiest things that will probably have most impact at the top, with the most time-consuming items of more dubious benefit at the bottom. That way you can prioritize your time and get the most results for the smallest input.

    You can change the tone of the site a lot just by changing headlines, something that is not particularly difficult.

    However, before you do all this you want to ask yourself: "If this wasn't my site, why would I buy something here instead of another online store or at the local mall?" how you answer this will tell you what the USP of your site is and give you a very good idea of the changes you need to incorporate into it.

    On the other hand, if you can't come up with a good answer to that, or if you come up with something generic (like, "Because it's cheap") then you really need to go back to the drawing board and think more deeply about how you are going to position yourself. After all, your products are available in hundreds of other locations on and off line, so you need to consider and make it very clear on your site how buying from you is different.

    Good luck!
     
    stephenmunday, Aug 30, 2005 IP
  17. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #17
    Ok, I've taken some of your advice. I moved the links to "what do you think" and the sizing guide to the product pages, removed the live help link for now, and I made some changes to the main page that will hopefully be a bit more interesting. The rest of it is going to take some serious planning as far as time management and focusing in on just what kind of message I want to send with the headlines, etc. Thanks for the advise, I think this may be a good start to some real improvements.
     
    nfzgrld, Aug 31, 2005 IP
  18. Mia

    Mia R.I.P. STEVE JOBS

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    #18
    It may just be you. I read somewhere recently that online sales for July were up 23% from last year - Breaking over $1 billion in overall online sales worldwide!
     
    Mia, Aug 31, 2005 IP
  19. Lonny.P

    Lonny.P Peon

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    #19
    I've seen it happen, really annoying, you pay more for hosting, and receive less in sales, that is what they mean by saying TARGETED traffic... time to spend more money on reaching your audience and not just general visitors.
     
    Lonny.P, Sep 1, 2005 IP
  20. nfzgrld

    nfzgrld Peon

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    #20
    I'm willing to accept that it's me, in fact I'm pretty sure of it. The question is, what do I change to make "me" less of a problem?
     
    nfzgrld, Sep 1, 2005 IP