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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Sales this week - What do you think?
    What do you all think of sales this week, versus how we did last year at the same time?

    Personally, I'm a bit surprised by how front-end loaded sales were this year. My Cyber Monday was superb, 100% better than last year, but the rate of decline this week has been a little alarming. I mistakenly judged Cyber Monday's performance as meaning, "The consumer is back". I'm afraid that it just meant, "The consumer is looking for deals earlier in the season".

    I'm very curious to see what next week will hold. I'm beginning to think that next week may no longer be the "peak" of the holiday shopping season. What do you think?

    Here is an interesting read from a PPC marketing firm that handles some big retail merchant accounts:
    The Post Cyber Monday Lull
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    I mistakenly judged Cyber Monday's performance as meaning, "The consumer is back". I'm afraid that it just meant, "The consumer is looking for deals earlier in the season".
    My experience exactly. I did great with Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions but the rest of the week was slow.
    I'm still astonished to have been doing so well on these deals. The competition is everywhere. Now, you have pages and pages of search results for these keywords. I guess more people are looking for these deals.
    My peak of the holiday shopping season is always a few days (quite often the last day) before the shipping deadline for my merchants. It should be true this year also.
    I had a nice surprise yesterday with two sales above $4K. One with a 5% commission and an other a few cents less than $5K with a 10% commission. Some shoppers still have "no limit" credit cards. One of these sales was reported by LinkShare, it makes me feel a little better.

  3. #3
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I wish I could say the same. Everything for me has seriously tanked. It started to go down last Christmas and just keeps getting worse. I never really recouped after I couldn't keep my established account at GAN. Then came the Google "dump" when my site wasn't anywhere to be found. All of that happened last year and I could never come out of the ditch.

    Come the first of the year I'll have to make some serious decisions about remaining in this industry. It used to be great. Maybe I just haven't learned how to adapt to change although I don't think my main site offers anything less than sites I see out there. It's not the best, but for a one-man show, it's okay.

    Now every time I hear of some sleazy tactic by a merchant or adware, it does damage to my stomach lining. I almost ditched the sites mid-year, but thought I'd give it one more big effort, but it didn't make any difference to the outcome.
    Last edited by leeann; December 10th, 2010 at 12:39 PM.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  4. #4
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    My sales are still very good. No decline at all.

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  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    My sales are still very good. No decline at all.
    That is excellent. Are you a niche marketer? I market most consumer products across all categories.

    I wonder how inventory levels are holding up? I saw some items go out of stock as early as black friday and they haven't come back yet. I try to keep up with them all, but its difficult. I wish more merchants would remove out-of-stock items from their datafeeds!
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  6. #6
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I have shopping malls and niche sites and the sales are good on all of them.

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  7. #7
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Do you submit site maps to G?

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  8. #8
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    Do you submit site maps to G?
    I have. I haven't in awhile. Do you have to do it more than once?
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  9. #9
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    I wish more merchants would remove out-of-stock items from their datafeeds!
    That, and I wish CJ had a decent deals datafeed for all active merchants per affiliate.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  10. #10
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Every time I update a feed I re-submit the site map to G and my sales really started picking when I started doing that. I also added - rel="nofollow" - to all of my links and that produced a lot more sales and higher rank in the G too.

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  11. #11
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    Every time I update a feed I re-submit the site map to G and my sales really started picking when I started doing that. I also added - rel="nofollow" - to all of my links and that produced a lot more sales and higher rank in the G too.
    Thanks for the tip BurgerBoy. Do you know why the "no follow" makes a difference? And I had no idea you could resubmit to G on such a regular basis. Thanks - seriously. Maybe it will help.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  12. #12
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I use a jump script on all of my sites and G wanted to index and follow all of the jump urls.

    When I added rel="nofollow" G quit trying to follow the jump urls and just starting indexing the product pages.

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  13. #13
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Makes sense. TY!
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  14. #14
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    I read something yesterday about consumer complaints at an all time high for online shopping. I think they gauged it by Twitter and FB complaints or something. I just glanced the article, but apparently a lot of shoppers are confused by some of the "deal" tactics now being used. And I have to admit, so am I.
    Last edited by leeann; December 10th, 2010 at 01:05 PM.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  15. #15
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    All of my sites are datafeed sites.

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  16. #16
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I don't dig in too much on the "christmas rush" thing; I try to promote stuff that will sell steadily year-round. December slows down a little bit for me anyway, because most of what I sell is stuff that people buy for their own needs. So I wind up with 11 strong months and 1 so-so month that can't make or break me, instead of 11 so-so months, and one strong month that could make or break me.
    Last edited by davidh; December 10th, 2010 at 01:08 PM.
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  17. #17
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    I read something yesterday about consumer complaints at an all time high for online shopping.
    I've always done most of my Christmas shopping online, and if most other people are experiencing the same customer service nightmares that I have encountered this year, our industry is in big, big trouble.
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  18. #18
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I also sell stuff people buy all year and don't really promote Christmas stuff.

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  19. #19
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidh View Post
    I've always done most of my Christmas shopping online, and if most other people are experiencing the same customer service nightmares that I have encountered this year, our industry is in big, big trouble.
    What kind of problems have you had? I've run into problems where the cost of shipping was insane..
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    Do you submit site maps to G?
    I do submit sitemaps, but my problem is promoting things via PPC that aren't for sale. :-(
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  21. #21
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    Our affiliate products sales are doing OK, but we never push them that much. But this certainly will be the best month of 2010.

    Hotel reservation sales are typically the slowest of the year in November and December. We'll have a small spike just before New Years Eve (some people are already booking). Things will pick up after Martin Luther King Weekend - when people begin thinking about summer vacationing (at the beach).

    But here's what's surprising us this year. As a merchant, our checks sales are going great - and this is not the best quarter of the year for checks. The best quarter is the 1st quarter. It is our own niche sites and our affiliates' niche sites that are doing the best.
    I saw some items go out of stock as early as black friday and they haven't come back yet. I try to keep up with them all, but its difficult. I wish more merchants would remove out-of-stock items from their datafeeds!
    Fortunately, because of digital manufacturing technology, our hundreds of checks designs do NOT go out of stock. Maybe that helps a bit. If a check appears on our site or is in our datafeed it can be manufactured and shipped. (They can even be shipped soon as today if someone needs, and pays for, in-plant rush.)
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  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    What kind of problems have you had? I've run into problems where the cost of shipping was insane..
    Yeah, some merchants like to play tricks with their offers. Some will give a great coupon, but pad their shipping costs. Some will give a coupon that has so many brand exclusions, its like, really, why even bother.

    I try to help my visitors, which means I have to police the offers to make sure there aren't hidden gotchyas.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeann View Post
    Come the first of the year I'll have to make some serious decisions about remaining in this industry. It used to be great. Maybe I just haven't learned how to adapt to change although I don't think my main site offers anything less than sites I see out there. It's not the best, but for a one-man show, it's okay.
    Don't give up, Google is really screwy right now.
    6/7 years ago, the traffic for some of my data feed driven sites went completly down. The sites are getting orders, again. Traffic is back.
    I lost interest for one of my websites a long time ago. The site was pretty successful in 2000. 5 years without one update. The site is back. Getting orders everyday. I don't even remember my FTP pwd.
    We said for years, "Content is King". Not anymore.
    Affiliate Marketing is changing all the time. What's true today can be wrong, tomorrow.

  24. #24
    Moderator leeann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    What's true today can be wrong, tomorrow.
    Really that is so true.
    leeann


    Shoppers determine what has value and they like coupons. Stop manipulating who set the cookie just because you do not like coupon and promotional sites.

  25. #25
    The "other" left wing davidh's Avatar
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    What kind of problems have you had?
    It would take HOURS to give a rundown on that lol. And the biggest problems have been with big, well-established outfits who have the best reputations for good service.

    Slow-to-ship, failure to ship, wrong sizes or styles sent, items sent to wrong address, failure to respond to inquiries, or telling lies when responding to inquiries (the bad address place claimed they sent to correct address).... the whole gamut of whatever can possibly go wrong.
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