State of the Union February 17, 2014

It’s been a while since I put together an update. It’s not because I haven’t had time. I keep all these stats on spreadsheets so it doesn’t take long to put everything together.

But, I’ve been putting it off for 2 reasons: One, I’m not sure how many of you read these updates or even care about them.

But even more important, I’m not sure how much of this information is necessary for your success. In fact, I think some information sharing is even detrimental.

When you were selling on Ebay did Ebay send you a monthly report telling how well the entire Ebay site was doing? No. If they had you probably would have seen many, many months with huge dips in traffic and/or sales – it happens in every business, all the time.

For those of you who live and die by the spreadsheet those normal, negative numbers, whether you realize it or not, have a negative effect on your entire attitude. It happens to me and I’ve been at this for a while. I anticipate ups and downs and accept them as a normal part of business yet I find myself becoming less and less motivated if I monitor all these stats too closely. If it happens to me, I’m sure it happens to you, too.

And, did Ebay share financials with you? Definitely not. It’s really none of your business how well another vendor is doing, even if I keep those names confidential, and it’s REALLY none of your business how well our business, this website, is doing. The only thing that matters is how well YOUR business is doing.

I think some of you get caught up in analyzing the site statistics and miss the real reason I put these reports together: I send out these updates so you can compare your own business to the overall business of the site. If the site is up, is your business up, too? If not, then you need to look at your business and figure out why.

OK, on to the numbers…

I’m going to give you the year-end numbers I have for 2014. Keep in mind, we’ve only had this system in place since 3/1/2015.

 

Total site sales

 

In January alone we did 26% of the total sales that we did from 3/1 – 12/31/2015. So far, from 1/1 – 2/16/2015, we’ve done 36%. I can’t wait until the end of March when we’ll have a full year of stats to look at. This growth is phenomenal!

 

Number of orders

 

3/1 – 12/31/2014 – 9026

November 2014 – 1384

December 2014 – 961

January 2015 – 2141

February 1 – 16, 2015 – 916

From 1/1/2015 through 2/16/2015 we’ve already processed 1/3 of the orders we processed from 3/1 – 12/31/2014!

 

Number of unique visitors

 

3/1 – 12/31/2014 – 64,851

November 2014 – 7599

December 2014 – 7332

January 2015 – 11,159

February 1 – 16, 2015 – 4623

From 1/1/ through 2/16/2015 we’ve already had 25% of the total traffic we had from 3/1 – 12/31/2014!

 

Conversion rate

 

3/1 – 12/31/2014 – 7.18%

November 2014 – 18%

December 2014 – 12.7%

January 2015 – 10.88%

February 1 – 16, 2015 – 12%

This means that, in February, 12 out of every 100 customers who visited the site placed an order. Considering the industry average for ecommerce sites is only 2.35%, we’re tickled to death with our conversion rate!

 

Average order

 

3/1 – 12/31/2014 – $5.23

November 2014 – $5.40

December 2014 – $5.07

January 2015 – $5.78

February 1 – 16, 2015 – $5.25

I haven’t been tracking it but we seem to be seeing fewer single-item orders. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not, yet. Does this mean they’re doing ALL their coupon shopping with us now or does it mean they’re getting a better deal on small orders somewhere else? Are we doing something that scares away those new customers who typically order just one item to test us out?

 

New traffic

 

3/1 – 12/31/2014 –

November 2014 – 37%

December 2014 – 39%

January 2015 – 37.5%

February 1 – 16, 2015 – 38.8%

Two reasons this number is so important:

  • This is where our growth comes from, these new visitors. It means that each month approximately 1/3 of our orders come from new customers who’ve just found our site. We need to make these people happy so they’ll keep coming back and keep telling their friends about us.

 

  • This is why it’s so important that you use keywords and create clear, concise titles for your listings – so your listings appear well when a new visitor does a Google search looking for a coupon. This is one of the key factors necessary for growth, both for the website as a whole and for your individual shops.

 

Number of inserts

 

November 2014 – 10

December 2014 – 5

January 2015 – 10

February 1 – 16, 2015 – 5

 

Recent Changes

 

Coupon Codes:  Last month we had 5 vendors ask for coupon codes and printable coupons to pass out to potential and existing customers.  If you were afraid to try it because you thought you’d take a big hit in the pocketbook, forget about it.  So far we’ve only had 2 customers actually use that code but that vendor has had 107 new visitors visit her shop in the last 2 weeks – and that’s just how many hit her first page.

Refunds – In January I started sending you an email for your own record-keeping purposes each time a refund was issued for one of your orders. If you haven’t seen it then you either haven’t had any refunds (and quite a few of you never do!) or they’re going into your spam folder. Look for the subject line: A refund has been issued…

New Vendors – In an effort to reach out to a broader market we’ve been looking for vendors who sell coupon-related products. Chances are, if someone is searching the web for a coupon binder or stockpile inventory tracking information, they probably use more than a few coupons every week, so if we sell those products on our site we can show ’em we’re the real rockstars in this industry because we have everything they need, all on one big stage.

So you’ll be seeing some new vendors on the site who don’t sell coupons. Delly’s Deals Couponing Binders and Organization by Design are our two newest non-clippers and we hope to be adding a few more in the next few weeks.

The Homepage – In January we reached out to a professional design firm and were advised that we need to re-design the website to take the emphasis off the vendors and give the site more of a ‘save-money-with-coupons’ appearance.  Well, you know us…

We made that big, black Vendor Box even bigger – for two reasons:

A lot of our customers love us because we’re different.  We don’t look like all those other coupon sites and they don’t want us to.

We’re here for people who want to buy coupons, but we’re also here for people who want to sell coupons, so our homepage has to appeal to both segments.  Having that big black box be the first thing you see shows our customers that we’re not just one itty-bitty lone clipper and it let’s other coupon clippers know they have another place they can sell.

Plus, With 30 vendors and more on the way that box was just getting too long and customers had to scroll too far to get to the coupons.

Advertising Opportunities – We do have 2 key ad spots open for vendors. Each customer receives two emails when they order from us: One email to confirm their order and one email when the order is completed. These emails are automatic and go out to every customer who orders, every time they order.

We’re running 2 banner ads on each of these emails, one at the top and one at the bottom. The top spot is already spoken for a few weeks but if you’re interested in putting a banner for your shop or a particular listing in each of these emails, contact me for details. (Let me know if you’d like to see a sample of these emails and I’ll forward one of each to you.)

 

What We’re Working On Now

 

Pinterest – From 1/1 – 2/16/2015 we’ve had 715 visitors come from Facebook and 2,016 from Pinterest. I know, I can’t explain it either…yet…but I’m working on it. I’ve cleaned up our Pinterest boards and added a few new ones. I’ve also been working at cleaning up some of the images on the blog (the BLOG, NOT the images on your listings, those are fine). Here’s a link to The Happy Couponer on Pinterest if you want to see what we’re up to.

Featured Vendor on Homepage – Yes, we’ve added a ‘Featured Vendor’ banner on the homepage. No, I done have any stats for it yet. I’m still testing it out to see what kind of results we get. No, there is absolutely nothing you can do with your listings to get that spot so don’t even bother clicking that little “Featured Listing” link. Yes, I will be changing the vendors in that spot and yes, you will be able to rent that spot if you want it.

Sidebar advertising – We’ll also be testing some sidebar advertising beginning sometime today or tomorrow. Again, this is a test so I don’t have any stats available but if it works we’ll make this spot available for vendors, too. NOTE: We will not be accepting any sidebar ads that lead customers off the site.

 

30 Day Challenge

 

Yeah, I know… 🙂 Stay tuned LOL