No matter what industry you’re in, what worked well a few years ago isn’t good enough today. In the blink of an eye, new competitors emerge, products similar to yours are released, and before you know it, it’s a race to the bottom.
Here are some basic steps you can take to improve your sales performance, reduce your cost of selling, and ensure your survival.
1. Check The Analytics
Google Analytics provides statistics and information about your shop’s sales, activity and traffic sources. Same thing if you’re on Etsy. The Shop Stats tool is for you.
Use this information to improve your business by learning which metrics to focus on, and how to interpret the numbers.
One of the most helpful metrics to calculate is your views-to-sales ratio, or conversion rate, which is best measured over several months or more. Say that last year from January through April you had 1,000 views and 20 sales, whereas this year you had 800 views and 20 sales.
At first it might appear your shop performed better last year because you had more views. However, looking at your conversion rate reveals that more of your items are selling per view this year compared to last. This could mean you are describing your items better, anticipating questions, and turning a larger percentage of your visitors into buyers.
2. Pinpoint The Problem
If you see a decline from last year’s views, favorites and orders, comparing your top traffic sources, keywords, pages viewed and listing favorites year-over-year can provide clues as to what changed.
Traffic sources tells you how people are arriving at your shop. Top keywords shows which of your keywords (in your titles and tags) are performing best and worst. Do you still use the same top-performing tags?
- If you see that a particular word or phrase is bringing you a lot of views, make sure you are using it in all applicable tags and titles. If you notice that some tags on your listings never appear in your Shop Stats as keywords, try replacing them with other words or phrases.
- Keep an eye on your stats as you add new keywords to see how they perform, and tweak accordingly. Additionally, a drop in a specific keyword’s popularity could suggest you don’t have as many listings as you previously did using that keyword.
- Pages viewed and listing favorites displays your most popular listings. Do you still offer last year’s top performing item? If you’ve stopped offering a popular item or forgotten to renew it, this could contribute to a decline in traffic to your shop.
3. Competition Analysis
If you are selling on a platform like Etsy and you see competitions like Chinese resellers of your product on a cheaper value, try to look for other online marketplaces or work on your independent website.
You might also be interested to check Handmade at Amazon. The amazon handmade section has only just launched but whomever I talk to, they’ve heard about it. It’s because amazon inundates the media nationwide with the news of every new business that they launch.
Once you determine the source of the decline, you can create an attack plan.
4. Start A Plan
You can do something simple and organic. How about you do some of the foot work instead of this pattern/webpage that we have to design and put time into instead of our product.
Check these resources to effectively advertise your products:
- Huge List Of Free Places You Can Advertise Your Handmade Business
- Top 30 Cheapest Advertising Ideas For Craft Sellers
- Marketing Handbooks For Craft Sellers–Available For Free
Establish a baseline. New sellers may have a difficult time gauging the success of their shops without a benchmark for comparison. If you don’t have a full year of business behind you, you can look at month-over-month traffic instead of year-over-year traffic, but keep in mind that it takes time to observe natural traffic patterns to your shop — and month-to-month ebbs and flows are natural.
Consider seasonality. Seasonal traffic patterns vary by category and individual shop. Shops selling in certain categories may be more affected by seasonal shifts than others. Wedding and jewelry sellers, for example, may see declines in traffic around the end of summer, when peak wedding season and Mother’s Day (in several countries) have passed and the holiday season hasn’t begun. By getting to know the seasonal patterns common in your product category, you can learn what’s normal and what isn’t.
5. Product Evaluation
Are your products fresh? When is the last time you refreshed your product line? A product that was a hit three years ago may have lost appeal with shoppers in the years since you debuted it. It’s natural for trends to change over time. You can help attract new customers — and encourage repeat buyers — by introducing new products and fresh versions of existing designs.
6. Online Shop Check
Products can only perform well when they’re easy to find. Optimizing your products for Google search requires putting yourself in the mindset of shoppers, and routinely revisiting your titles and tags to make sure they’re working for you.
That’s all for now. So what have you done to improve your shop after noticing dips in your sales cycle? Share your tips in the comments below.