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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Things That Were Different This Holiday Season
    I've been surprised by how different this holiday shopping season has been. I've been doing this for about 10 years and this season has been one of the weirdest. Some observations...

    1) Items that are always popular as Christmas presents never went out of stock! I've never seen this before and I'd love to know the cause. Either every retailer expected a huge holiday shopping season and ordered tons of merchandise or the consumer scaled back their spending this year. (or both) I suspect mostly the later based on my own experience. That means some retailers are going to be hurting around the new year. Regardless, there should be some big after Christmas sales.

    2) Black Friday doesn't mean much anymore. Well, that was a surprise... Shopping didn't get going online until Cyber Monday...

    3) Consumers were much more savvy with their shopping. Not a lot of impulse purchasing. It appeared very planned and calculated.

    I for one, say good riddance to this holiday shopping season. I'm ready to move on as I feel that it was a bust. The financial headlines are filled with optimism right now (Down 18K, consumer confidence, low gas prices, etc). I'm fairly certain some retailers are going to report poor earnings, the inventory levels tell the true story...
    Last edited by isellstuff; December 23rd, 2014 at 10:45 AM.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


  2. #2
    OPM and Moderator Chuck Hamrick's Avatar
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    Great insight, thanks!

  3. #3
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    I pretty much agree with all of that, except for product inventories in some niches, especially sports team merchandise - that has sold well with items continually going out of stock.

    I've got a few "seasonal" niches coming up over the next three months, and over the last few years those have been more important in my business model then spending an inordinate amount of time on "Cyber" and "Black" spins.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

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  5. #4
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Good observations, for sure.

    Agree with Phil about inventories, though - for us, seems fashion items did run low. Would say our product counts decreased steadily this month - down a solid 10% on our web properties...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  6. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    So here is a simple example. You can still buy multiple flavors of the Xbox One Console online at many different retailers. In the past, you could not find xbox 360/Xbox One consoles at this time of year, anywhere online.

    It could be changing buying habits, but I'd be more inclined to guess that the average order size went down quite a bit this year.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  7. #6
    Affiliate Manager AffiliateWarrior's Avatar
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    Hey Phil, let's chat on the sports team merch issues you had -might either be able to shed some light on that, or help my buying team dial things in a bit better next time.
    Wade Tonkin - Affiliate Manager - Fanatics
    NFLShop.com|Shop.NHL.com|NBAStore.com|Store.NASCAR.com
    Email wtonkin // at // Fanatics.com

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  9. #7
    OPM/Moderator Hectic GHC's Avatar
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    Time for checks and garden products soon.


  10. #8
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    Time for checks and garden products soon.
    THE two biggies coming up.

    Plus some other, "lessor" holidays.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  11. #9
    Super Dawg Member Phil Kaufman aka AffiliateHound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AffiliateWarrior View Post
    Hey Phil, let's chat on the sports team merch issues you had -might either be able to shed some light on that, or help my buying team dial things in a bit better next time.
    Posted FB message.
    Since June 10, 2012 a vegan aarf but still writing the Hound Dawg Sports Blog
    "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" -John Wooden;
    "Raj, there’s no place for truth on the internet." -Howard Wolowitz[/SIZE]

  12. #10
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    I never do much in December - because I don't focus on holiday merchandise. But I did (surprisingly) begin selling several of my photographs this season - in a first time effort.
    Quote Originally Posted by akagorilla View Post
    Time for checks and garden products soon.
    I don't do garden so I'll fill that in with travel (as I've been doing for over a decade). Hotel reservations see an uptick in mid-January. And, of course, checks are "it" for the entire first quarter. I spent all day today working on our custom datafeed, adding many new products (checks and checking account accessories). It will take me many hours over the next two weeks to properly "categorize" the new stuff.

    RE: Checks - I noticed that Checks Unlimited is no longer in 1st place of the PowerRank 100 at SAS and that 4-Checks is losing ground. Hmmm...maybe Deluxe taking them in-house isn't working so well. Strange - we do very well with 4Checks. CU does OK and but don't use Deluxe business at all.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  13. #11
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    I've only just begun so I don't know how it typically goes, but I saw quite a few sales of the xbox and PS4. The problem there I think is that they aren't new systems. Everyone already has one, or they're waiting for the next system before spending their money.

    I have sold anything in the past three days, however. The calm before the storm, I'm hoping. Trying to anticipate what might go down on Boxing Day.


    Side note:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    RE: Checks - I noticed that Checks Unlimited is no longer in 1st place of the PowerRank 100 at SAS and that 4-Checks is losing ground. Hmmm...maybe Deluxe taking them in-house isn't working so well. Strange - we do very well with 4Checks. CU does OK and but don't use Deluxe business at all.
    I can't wait until I understand what this means. lol

  14. #12
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Can-Do Attitude View Post
    I've only just begun so I don't know how it typically goes, but I saw quite a few sales of the xbox and PS4. The problem there I think is that they aren't new systems.
    There is always a new batch of kids who just became old enough to have one. This is particularly true for the entry level Xbox One/Xbox 360 consoles. So essentially 22 million children in the range for a "first console" (ages 6-11) in the US. See here:

    POP1 Child population: Number of children (in millions) ages 0–17 in the United States by age, 1950–2013 and projected 2014–2050


    Note, I'm not advocating promoting game consoles. The only reason I mentioned this item is because I am no longer promoting them. The payouts are, for the most part, in the 0% - 1% range. Its no fun to sell a $399 item and receive $3.99!
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

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  16. #13
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    I tend to believe there are far more adult gamers than child gamers, however I'm in Canada so maybe we're just... different, here. lol

    Yes the payout sucked on the few that went, but as I'm just staring out, I'm thankful for every penny. With every penny I earn, I learn something new about my readers.

  17. #14
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Can-Do Attitude
    With every penny I earn, I learn something new about my readers.
    That is a good (can do) attitude.

    I can't wait until I understand what this means. lol
    The PowerRank 100 is a multi-metric (with secret sauce) list of the 100 top performing merchant programs among the thousands at ShareASale. Checks Unlimited had held the #1 position for several years - while the program was managed by a well-respected OPM. The parent company decided to self-manage the program - and it is no longer #1, having slid a few spots in the last couple of months. A "sister company," 4-Checks is also sliding in the rankings.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  18. #15
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    CNBC is one of my "read every day" websites, mostly because I'm looking for investment ideas, but anyway...

    There is a remarkable amount of differing opinions on how the Holiday spending went this year. I think we all have a gut feeling that spending increased overall, but who got the money? Here is a good article that "feels" like what I was experiencing.

    Holiday spending shifts away from 'stuff': Pro
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  19. #16
    Member AmericasFootprints's Avatar
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    Perhaps people are (finally?) starting to get smarter and are realizing that there are always sales. Black Friday or not, most retailers these days have a sale for every major holiday (including the non-major ones in between). Perhaps the 'gimmicks' aren't appealing as much because that's all we see now. It's almost like we're blind to it. The "best deals ever" really AREN'T the best deals ever. Where there's one, there's another. And the internet / mobile media makes it very easy for a shopper to do some on-the-go research while shopping to determine if the sale is good enough...and smart enough. -Joe


  20. #17
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    interesting observations. Thanks

  21. #18
    ABW Ambassador JoyUnltd's Avatar
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    Yep, "On Sale" & "Best Deal" has become ubiquitous online and off. I think you're right, America's Footprint.

    I was at Walmart the day after Christmas and it was like a ghost town. Spoke to a couple of shoppers and they said they've never seen it this empty, let alone the day after Christmas. Checked in at jobber stores (Marshall's, Ross, Big Lots, etc.) and toy shelves were bare. Folks know where to find the lots, good, cheap stuff.
    Renée
    Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain. -Wizardress of Oz

  22. #19
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    I meant to post this yesterday, but got sidetracked. Basically the stock market is getting early indications that things were not as rosy as expected in December.

    US Dec retail sales fall 0.9% vs. 0.1% drop expected

    Here's the part I found interesting:
    Core sales last month (December) were weighed down by a 1.6 percent decline in receipts at electronic and appliance stores, as well as a 0.3 percent fall in sales at clothing stores. Online sales slipped 0.3 percent.

    There were also declines in receipts at sporting goods stores.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!


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