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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Winter Storms and Conversion Rates
    What affect do you think severe winter weather has on affiliate sales? I'm seeing evidence that the recent cold weather in the US may have caused a drop in conversion rates.

    I'm not sure what the dynamic is, but it could be that if people are bored and have cabin fever they do more window shopping and less buying. So traffic might go up a bit, but conversion rates go down.

    I've had a drop in sales too, not just conversion rates, so why would sales go down when snow/ice increases? I guess if you sold to small businesses, then their foot traffic declines and so they stop spending as much. It could be a trickle down affect, .e.g brick and mortars lose money when people can't make it to the store. Hourly workers don't get paid, the economy as a whole declines and that adversely affects sales.

    What do you think?
    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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  3. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
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    I have two main verticals - hotels and checks. My hotel sites are niche sites in the heart of this terribly cold and nasty winter weather. This was our slowest February of the last five years. We saw some early bookings for summer in our beach location but general local bookings for February were down about 20%. On the other hand, we had our best February EVER for checks sales. People must be staying home and paying all their bills - so they can go out and play when Spring-like weather eventually arrives.
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
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  5. #3
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    We saw slower sales and lower conversion rates across the board.

    People simply were not buying if they couldn't get their purchases in a timely fashion, IMhO...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  7. #4
    Member AmericasFootprints's Avatar
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    Might just have to do with the fact that more snow / bad weather could equal less time in the office (e.g. school closings force parents / teachers to stay home maybe). As a result, employees are home and thus don't have the need to take a break in their work day and do some online shopping. Plus hourly employees may be getting paid less if stores close early due to storms / bad weather. That could also be contributing.

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  9. #5
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    So truth be told, I started my affiliate business in Austin Texas and ran it there for over 10 years. I never thought about the affects of winter storms on sales because winters are the nicest, mildest time of year in Texas. (aside from something called "cedar fever", but that's another story). This winter I'm in Northern Virginia and I see the affects of extended cold snaps, snow, etc. Our mail service has been pretty regular, probably has only missed a couple of days this year due to storms. So is the mail/UPS service sporadic in New England during the big snows?
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  10. #6
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Reviewing stats for the cold snaps we see a lot of additional traffic coming from those areas hit hardest. California traffic was the same and, for example, New York/Eastern Seaboard were nearly 50% higher.

    Know a few folks in North Carolina - was on the phone with one during one of these cold snaps and she said she was waiting for a FedEx 2nd Day Delivery TWO days after the expected delivery date.

    We have a wide variety of merchants across several niches - shoppers are both average folks and those with money - NEITHER were doing much BUYING. Being in the fashion niche I can understand it - hard to get excited about Spring fashions when you haven't put your parkas away - but, a drop in non-fashion sales has to be something other than "it's just too cold outside" or a money issue.

    Far as those 'shopping' who are of modest means, the biggest drop was our discount shoppers - that was glaring. Here I do think that hourly employees felt the loss of income due to not working. Read an article this weekend about "Many Americans still Living Paycheck to Paycheck". Some of this is a hangover from the holidays. December was 'OK', January sucked, February WAS much better than January when you look at total commissions. TONS more orders in December - more than January/February combined. February's 28 days produced more orders than January's 31 days, but, nearly 70% less orders than December despite that total commissions for February were not that far off from December's - just smaller order values in December. Same amount of 'disposable' income that had to be spread out among more gift recipients. So, thinking a lot of catching up in the bill paying department, extra heating oil costs on lower hourly wages.

    But, shoppers with money weren't pulling the trigger during the cold snaps, either - that has to be directly related to the weather, IMhO.

    Do know that March 1st was a great sales day - even with the amount of 'Return Days Exceeded' type reports - which are already high this month......
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  11. #7
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Convergence View Post
    But, shoppers with money weren't pulling the trigger during the cold snaps, either - that has to be directly related to the weather, IMhO.
    My first three weeks of February were really good. Last week when snow/ice stretched across the nation I saw a rapid decline and it hasn't quite recovered. Shoppers with money were my biggest drop. Of course shoppers with money are starting on their taxes. That could be part of it as well.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  12. #8
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    My first three weeks of February were really good. Last week when snow/ice stretched across the nation I saw a rapid decline and it hasn't quite recovered. Shoppers with money were my biggest drop. Of course shoppers with money are starting on their taxes. That could be part of it as well.
    Already have seen a surge in appliance traffic/sales (in February), which is typical as some folks have already received refunds, whatever that is...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

  13. #9
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    My pixel tracking merchants are on a tear today when compared to the last three days, which were really weak. Sometimes this means that my batch merchants aren't performing well though. Kindof heart breaking when that happens, e.g. you think you are going to make a fortune, then batch merchants totally mess things up.

    I upgraded to a new datafeed processing server a week ago, so I was unsure if I had messed something up. The schedule for processing feeds was totally changed because the new machine is much faster. (e.g. dual e5-2690 V2 - 10 core @ 3ghz with 256GB of RAM and 4 x 1 TB solid state drives) Yesterday I changed my scheduled tasks to make things run during the same time of day as before. I can't tell if that helped, if consumers are shopping again, or if my batch merchants or going to suck. Time will tell...
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  14. #10
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    And we are getting more snow.... Turns out my pixel tracking merchants WERE doing well at the expense of my batch merchants. Bummer.

    I tell you, I'm getting tired of clearing snow. It looks like we are getting another 8 - 12 inches right now. Nothing by New England standards, I know... I'm hoping this is the last snow of the season for us.

    For those of you that get a lot of snow, don't you find that clearing the snow takes a lot of time? I probably spend 1 - 1.5 hours doing it each time and I've got a (admittedly weak) snow blower. I guess it depends on the length of your driveway and how big of a snow bank the snow plow puts in front of your house.
    Merchants, any data you provide to Google Shopping should also be in your affiliate network datafeed. More data means more sales!

  15. #11
    ...and a Pirate's heart. Convergence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isellstuff View Post
    For those of you that get a lot of snow, don't you find that clearing the snow takes a lot of time? I probably spend 1 - 1.5 hours doing it each time and I've got a (admittedly weak) snow blower. I guess it depends on the length of your driveway and how big of a snow bank the snow plow puts in front of your house.
    22+ years in Colorado. Each year I say I'm buying a snow blower. Each year I shovel. Doesn't take that long. Have learned that if you get out there every four or five inches, it's easy. We are on the bottom part of a circle so we have short sidewalks on each side of us and a big back yard (which requires no shoveling unless we want to sit on the patio). Three car garage/driveway though makes up for the lack of sidwalks. Usually done in under 30 minutes.

    Few weeks ago bought my LAST snow shovel. Really nice - ergonomic, good blade, etc. Why the last? 'Cuz I'm out of here soon as my youngest graduates from HS, lol - Even though where I plan on moving has had really crap weather including ICE and SNOW - but not like the rest of the country. Nonetheless, I was surprised how far reaching these winter storms have been...
    Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...

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  17. #12
    ABW Ambassador isellstuff's Avatar
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    My wife and I just spent 1.5 hours each out shoveling and snow blowing. It is the snow plow that kills us. They even throw snow on our sidewalk (which we are obligated to clean).

    Doesn't take that long. Have learned that if you get out there every four or five inches, it's easy.
    Yeah, we waited a little too long I guess. Not sure how deep it was, probably about 8 inches. I've been waiting till the snow plow is done.
    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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