Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Good and bad for online sales

As my regular blog followers know, I think there's a lot of luck involved in successful online selling (see this blog post on luck if you missed it). However, looking at my stats now another financial year has ended, there seem to be some patterns in my sales and some things that I can't back up with hard evidence, but are serious 'hunches' and I wondered how many of you agree that these are good or bad for sales and views? Here goes, and remember each one is just my opinion or gut feeling.

A great eternal truth of shopping:owls are really popular
The recent sunny weather prompted these thoughts and my first proposition:

Sunny weather is bad for online selling. People are outside instead of in browsing the Internet. So bad weather is much better for views and sales.

Winter, autumn and spring are better than summer for sales and views. Even if it's a bad summer in the UK, there's still less Internet activity. This applies to Etsy too, even though it's a global marketplace.

August is the worst month, October is the best. It's either very organised Christmas shoppers who are attracted to my shops, or the change to autumn sends more people to online buying.

Weekdays are better than weekends for both views and sales. The exception is late Saturday night when some folks clearly go back to things they spotted online earlier, and being at the most relaxed and happy point of the week, decide they will, after all, treat themselves.

Evenings are better than daytimes - certainly for views.  But sales can happen at any time of the day or night.

Sales (as in discounts) and promotions are counter productive for smaller sellers without high numbers of returning/repeat customers. If your customers mostly find you online through searches (rather than being sellers on Folksy or Etsy themselves), then they are probably browsing your shop for the first time. That means they never knew what your non-sale prices were, and they probably don't care much if you've got 20% off today. In fact, if they like your product and it fits their needs, they may well have been prepared to pay the original price for it. 

Returning customers are different but if they think you might be having a sale, they may decide to wait for it, and in the meantime get distracted and buy elsewhere.  Better to offer your returning customers a discount for future purchases, then they may be attracted to buy whenever they see something they like, knowing they are making a saving.

And lastly, and most controversially...

Like marmite - love it or not, instant reaction
Hard selling and persuasion don't work.  At least, not for me with jewellery. Jewellery's not like double glazing - you don't need to be talked into the merits of getting it, you either like it enough to buy it, or you don't. 

Good pictures and descriptions help to reinforce that gut reaction you get when you see something you really like.  But they don't actually sell items. 'Wanting' and 'needing' feelings control whether people buy things, even so-called impulse buys, and you as a seller can't really influence much whether your potential buyer has those feelings.  Sure, you can tempt them.  So the main thing is to make sure those potential buyers can see your products... and that means focusing on listing and SEO. 

What do you think - agree or disagree?


  1. I completely agree with listing and SEO being all important. But I also think promotion is key. You have to (especially when you've just set up shop) get your shop name out there as much as possible.
    I agree the warm weather can be bad for sales, but then June last year was busy for not sure! But winter (Oct, Nov, Dec) last year were great for me, best time of the year!
    Great post - thought provoking :) x

  2. Really good observations blue forest definately agree about seasonal sales!

  3. I've noticed very similar trends with regard to certain times of the week - I think you are pretty much bang on with your analysis!

  4. Very interesting - I find myself agreeing with you on pretty much everything! Certainly as a buyer I find anything that smacks of the hard sell really offputting. The seasons vary for different people though - August is one of my best with people ordering flowers for Autumn weddings :)

  5. Really interesting things here. have tweeted. I think the last bit about hard sell rings true. I also sell jewellery- though still pretty new to the industry- but I feel some people really push too much and really if they've got something you like you only need to see or hear about it once for it to make an impact.
    thanks for the insights though it all helps the learning curve!
    Kate x

  6. Very astute and interesting, views at weekends are definitely down but I haven't been running long enough to know yearly trends yet, but definitely agree with what you have raised!

  7. Great article, really interesting and thought provoking.
    I have to agree with you. I sell cards so although I can sell throughout the year, the run up to christmas has proven the best time for me - the majority of people will buy christmas cards. I agree with not being too pushy, as a buyer this is something I hate and I will not buy if pushed.

  8. I totally know what you mean about sunny weather = bad for business :)

  9. Your observed trends are interesting. Unfortunately for me I'm always out of the country in October so my shops are in holiday mode!
    Sadly I haven't sold enough to be able to see any trends myself.

  10. Rain Dance anyone? Agree on the whole, but it does depend upon what you are selling to some extent of course, July for example was one of my best months last year. But December was THE best one.

  11. I agree with most of what you said,especially the hard sell,theres no way i would go on the forums and ask people to look at my shop.I think youre right too about the views.
    jean x

  12. I can't comment on whether I agree or not - I am very new to the whole selling scene as I only set up my Etsy shop in January. But thank you for the tips! I shall remember not to be too disheartened about lack of sales in August... or any other month for that matter!!

  13. I agree with you! I've a jewellery store in South Africa and I notice same trends. Your article is very interesting.

  14. Thank you so much for this post!
    I am in the process of setting up shops on Artfire and Folksy as well as selling locally.
    You make a great point about the gut reaction people get when they see something they 'need'.
    We all know this feeling : ) There's no amount of promotional literature that can achieve that, taking great photos and making your work from the heart is the way....and like you mention in your other post....luck!


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