Whether your sales dropped to nothing or greatly reduced, to what FEELS like nothing, you’re def in panic mode and here’s the main reasons why this can happen (IN ORDER!!!)
1. WEBSITE GLITCH - Every single website has problems at one time or another. I repeat; EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE. This includes marketplaces all the way down to tiny blogs. If something isn’t working on the site your traffic is going to drop and so will your sales. You can use a free tools like IsItDownRightNow.com and CurrentlyDown.com to check the status of a website. For example, here you can see that on December 16th eBay was down for 7 ½ HOURS:
Even if a site LOOKS like it's up and working there could be a glitch with the shopping cart or payment processor. In 2020 there was a full day that our merchant account wasn't functioning correctly so there was no way people could pay with Visa credit cards (however other forms of payment still worked).
Additionally, sites can go down from DDoS attacks. If I recall correctly, it was either 2015 or 2016 when one of the biggest attacks in history occurred. This DDoS attack was really scary because it took down everything! GitHub, HBO, Twitter, Reddit, PayPal, Netflix, and Airbnb, Amazon, YouTube: It was terrifying watching all of these sites "disappear"! The reason it was extra terrifying for us is that we share servers with Amazon, so our Big Commerce site was knocked out when Amazon was. It was awful not knowing how long the attack will last.
Regardless, a glitch with the site is absolutely the #1 reason your sales dropped overnight. However, this is also a big one:
2. CHANGE IN ALGORITHMS - Man, this is a tough one because it can really mean anything. Here’s a couple quick examples of how algorithm changes can destroy you almost instantly:
A couple years back eBay changed their algorithm regarding how they ranked search results for clothing sellers. This overnight change absolutely annihilated many sellers, including Top Rated Power Sellers.
Just a week or two ago, YouTube changed their UI (user interface), which instantly removed every single youtube video that was embedded on other websites. So now, instead of a playable video appearing on peoples websites, when a site visitor clicks Play, they see this image:
Unfortunately I have to remind you of an answer you don’t want to hear: NEVER, EVER, EVER BUILD YOUR BUSINESS RELYING ON A FREE PLATFORM. - I only tell you this because I learned the hard way on April 4th, 2019 when YouTube decided to close our business accounts for unknown reasons, which took down our entire company for a couple weeks because we foolishly had relied on them for our business video hosting. The solution is to start fresh with a paid source (we LOVE Vimeo!), bite the bullet and redo your work so you never have to deal with this crap again.
Another example is when Google changed their search result algorithms…. Over and over and over again. Every time they change them the entire internet rushes to adjust to whatever the new Google criteria is. If you want to learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I highly recommend making Moz.com your evening reading material. Just like taking a course in College; on day #1 the reading is a bit complex, but I promise you, if you keep up with it, by month #3 you’ll feel comfortable and by the end of year #1 you’ll be really comfortable and on top of SEO changes. *NOTE: This is NOT a “read it one time and be a pro” thing. As mentioned, Google constantly changes their algorithms, so this is a lifelong commitment if you truly want to be successful. But I seriously promise you; if you really give it a try you’ll end up being interested in it because it’s kind of like reading a Netflix documentary.
3. BAD / FAKE REVIEW?
If you just got nailed with a terrible review or fake review this could also be the reason for a sudden screeching halt, especially if the review is relating to your top seller. Spend some time and research your company. Look at reviews, Google search yourself, etc. See if there's some bogus information floating around somewhere.
Keep in mind, a "bad review" can also be a mistaken review:
We once had a man very upset because he thought he bought a "bad $1,000 pallet" from our supposed "$1,000 pallet category" ... however we do not sell $1,000 pallets and we have NEVER had a $1,000 pallet category. After spending some time chatting with him he realized he was posting the review on the wrong companies Facebook page. He was happy to delete the review and even thanked us for being so nice about it.
4. TERRIBLE PRESS: We briefly discussed this in prior articles; the media can be crazy, especially with Cancel Culture combined with celebrities. If a celebrity says something positive, a product can skyrocket into fame overnight but if a celeb says the wrong thing a product can be canceled after 9pm and before you wake up the next morning it has already been wiped from the face of the earth. While this “cancel and ban” phenomenon makes a ton of sense to some people, it is difficult for us resellers because we just want to flip what we have in stock. Anyhoo, if your #1 seller is a specific brand (i.e: Dr Suess, you may want to run a couple quick internet searches to see if some crazy news broke recently… like, theres literally articles like “20+ Racist Brands to Avoid!”...and regardless of your political views, if you have 500 of these sitting on your stock shelf, this leaves you in a loust situation.)
5. DISTRACTIONS: Something is just “wrong” in general. This isn’t always a terrible “wrong”; it might be something that is drawing people away from shopping today. We have a giant list (50 Reasons it Might Not Be Selling that Have NOTHING to Do with You) for you to review but here’s a couple quick examples:
- Disasters: If a hurricane just flooded the south, you can assume those people aren’t shopping online. Additionally, Americans will be glued to the TV, worried about loved ones.
- War / Shootings: Add these to the “Disaster List”.
- The Economy: When the pandemic broke out the world essentially stopped. People rushed to buy toilet paper and canned goods at the local grocery store, not gemstone tank tops on Poshmark.
- Strange Weather: Google search “Todays high temperature” and “Todays low temperature”... and do this every single day for a week. As you will notice, the temperature is NEVER consistent. For example, this month is March, 2021 and it has been a pretty damn decent temp here in Michigan this year; today was 45 degrees, but the record LOW for march was in 2003 and it was NEGATIVE 5 degrees!:
However, one year, 1946, March had an 97 Degree day in Texas and in 2012 we hit 86 degrees here in Michigan!!!! Can you believe that?!?! Anyways, stuff like this can really jack up your online sales if you are not diversified. For obvious reasons, most newish sellers try to list items that are “in season”, but this is a big mistake and we can discuss this more in a future article. Regardless, if you’re selling based on YOUR local weather and the weather changes, you’re screwed. Solution: Sell “TRANS SEASONAL” Clothing!
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