In my last post, What To Do When Things Start To Go Sour, I discussed some actions that you want to take when you have a product starting to crash and dwindle away. Today, I wanted to take that same concept of turning things around again, but discuss it in the view point of an entire store front.
Over the past 4 months, we’ve seen a down slope in production from our test ground store, 9TEENTH. This store is what I typically show you guys examples and walk throughs from. It’s also something we use to find quality niches to dive into and new product styles that might work for us.
In the past quarter year though, I’ve not kept up with the plan that I had instilled with 9TEENTH from the beginning… and the results of that lack of attention look like this:
Strong month… $50k-$60k was the average monthly revenue that 9TEENTH was pulling in during the first quarter of the year and most of the previous year. I had our normal system going though…. Launching lots of new products and rolling with those that work. We launched 175 new products in the month of April.
In May, we kept up with the revenue produced, but you can see that we had a big drop off in daily revenue in the 2nd half of the month. This occurred because I started to shift the team’s attention. We had some new stores rolling out, we had a lot going on with the Kingpinning brand, and a few other things became our focus.
This caused our regular launch process on 9TEENTH to begin to slow down and I started to cut out anything that wasn’t making money letting just those that were working to roll. We launched only 60 new products in the month of May and most of those came in the the first half of the month.
June & July…
Both of these months, I barely gave any attention to the 9TEENTH store. During this entire 60 day period, we launched only 5 new products and I rarely even looked at my advertising. The success that was happening were actually products that had been doing well from launches in April & May. So, as I talked about in the What To Do When Things Start To Go Sour article last week, these were the products that started to dwindle recently and brought my attention back to this store front as a whole.
First 2 Weeks of August…
This is where my attention started to peak back to the store. Numbers really started to fall and fall hard. The products that were carrying the weight the past few months had begun to dwindle heavily and money wasn’t coming in like it should be for the store front like 9TEENTH. It wasn’t only about getting those 1-2 products that were carrying the way going strong again, but rather a need to get back on track for the entire store front… while still being able to manage our other stores and new projects that had taken our focus away a few months before.
To start off this process, I had to take a close look at what was going on in the store and the comparison of what we were doing in the first quarter of the year and what we were doing in the 2nd quarter of the year.
One big factor that I noticed is the dwindling of our conversion rates. In April, we had 12% of viewers that came to the store adding products to our cart. While, in August so far, that’s been cut in half and only 6% of viewers are adding products to the cart.
This issue could come down to a few factors. First off, I had to look at the sales page layout we were using. Did we change anything about the sales page itself for each of our products? Not really. The sales page itself was pretty similar to what it was last quarter. We changed our “Add To Cart” button to “Buy Now”… but that came down to the marketing strategy we were using which I’ll discuss a bit more a few paragraphs down.
Secondly and a big reason behind this drop of add to cart conversions is the lack of new products being launched. The plan behind 9TEENTH is to launch a lot of new products on a regular basis attacking small dialed in markets and to consistently be testing new niches. We are hitting pockets of people who are super passionate about their niche but the niche audience is limited in size… and the majority of these small pocket markets had already seen our current product line up for them.
Over the 4 month period, this lack of new and fresh products caused our viewers to get a bit stale. Our main traffic source for this store is Facebook advertising… and when it comes to Facebook ads, people are typically buying on impulse. They see a product and say “I must have this now”… then they purchase. Without fresh offers for these viewers… especially when selling t-shirts like 9TEENTH does… that impulse feeling will continue to dwindle.
Launching new products isn’t going to be a viable fix for all Shopify store types. Many styles of stores don’t follow this same plan and only have a set range of products… or maybe even only 1 product line on the entire store. Launching new products won’t be the answer for those, but for 9TEENTH (a general store that covers a never ending range of niches), that’s the entire battle plan that we ended up turning our backs on.
I discuss quite a bit more about these different styles of store fronts and how to properly position them in your market within the E-Com Start To Finish Project.
The next conversion drop that we see in the pics above is those who actually reached the checkout and purchased the products they added to their cart. Both of these conversions dropped off pretty much at the same rate. So, we can assume that the issue is happening between the add to cart event to the reaching the checkout event. If we saw a giant deviation between the reached the checkout event and the purchased event, then we would want to look at the system itself to see if we have any bugs in our checkout and make sure our payment gateways are all working.
After doing the numbers, we see that the viewer actually reaching the checkout process dwindled like such…
In April, 55% of people who added to cart made it to checkout… in May, 49%… in June, 46%… in July, 53%… in early August, 45%…
One big thing responsible for these event conversions will be the quality of traffic you’re bringing in. It’s quite easy to advertise your product and get people to LIKE or SHARE your Facebook post with their following. It’s quite easy to even get a large portion of these folks to visit your website and click the “Add To Cart” button for that product… However, it’s a whole other smaller portion of that audience that actually will want to pull out their credit cards and pay you to have that product.
The targeting of our advertising will be a very large factor behind this. Like I mentioned, I didn’t do much with our advertising in the 4 month period on this site. Even for the products that were doing well, I didn’t take part in much scaling or finding the best converting pockets like I usually would. I again was too focused on the new brands and there was only enough time in the day for me to adjust ads.
I’ve recorded a special video for the LIKE A Boss PRO members which go over some of the changes that I’ve recently made to bounce back this store to get it back on track. You can check that out by joining the PRO training here.
Over the past quarter, I had also been switching up our Cart system a little bit on the store which is one of the reasons behind these up and down conversion rates. In late May, I switched up the “Add To Cart” button on the sales page to read “Buy Now”. Along with this, I changed the system to when viewers clicked this button, instead of having a drawer style cart slide out from the side of the screen, the viewer would be sent directly to the cart page.
I made this change due to the new advertising style that I had been applying. I was trying to focus on getting as many add to cart pixel fires to happen as possible. Then, I’d allow the retargeting ads to heavily focus on these add to cart viewers and close the sale. I changed to this strategy mostly because I was freshly applying Dynamic Product Ads to this store. I wanted Facebook to do the work and let those DPAs make the sale.
This worked out okay in June as you can see the slight bump back up in the Added To Cart to Reached Checkout ratio. But since I let my ads sit without much editing, changes and very little product launches, this went stale within a month.
I’m not convinced that this marketing style so much was a big reason behind our drop in conversions… but I do believe that if I’m going to apply this marketing style, I have to go with it full out. Meaning I would need to continue to launch new products as well as keep up to date with my advertising to make it convert at the range I want it to.
I do believe that a few of the other changes that I made on my cart pages have caused the drop in conversion rates though. Since I started to focus on getting folks to the cart page over most everything else, I started to apply a lot of “upsell” style techniques to the cart page so to get our order sizes to rise.
I used the In Cart Upsell app to have a special product showing above the products in the cart. I also used the Directed Edge Product Recommended app to have “frequently bought with this product” offers below the products in the cart. This added a lot of clutter that I feel could of caused some issues. This is what a typical cart page looked like:
We did see some of our average order values bump up…
…but it seemed to have some impact on the overall conversion values for people making it to the checkout phase and caused overall profits to drop a bit.
This is a common issue I’ve had when applying upsells to my 9TEENTH store. I love using upsells with a business, but I think they need to be properly aligned with an e-commerce store’s products or properly placed in the funnel. Having them used before someone purchased their initial order hasn’t worked out for me… so we are trying out using them after the initial purchase has been made. This will remove any worry of a drop in conversions due to the upsell. It will only add to the revenue.
I will be testing out removing these apps and see how the conversion numbers change over the upcoming months. I noticed that the recommended products on the bottom would lead viewers to their individual sales pages rather than automatically adding that product to the cart. That adds a lot of steps in there which I don’t like.
The In Cart Upsell app may do quite well when associated with the correct product, but again, I think I’ll be switching that upsell step to after the actual purchase is made.
I always like to test myself and see the numbers before making the last and final decisions, but I wanted to take a deeper look into some other very popular Shopify stores to see how they were doing things in these stages. You can find a list of some of the most visited Shopify stores on the planet through the following link: https://myip.ms/browse/sites/1/own/376714
I saw quite a few different ways of going about the cart process, but the majority definitely had a very clean feeling to their checkout process. Not much upsell action happening and they are really focusing on building that brand like I always mention.
As well as taking a look at the other successful store fronts out there, I had to make sure that I was paying close attention to my viewer base and what they were doing. I installed the Lucky Orange app so that I had some data to work from. This app is great since it records viewers on your site. You’ll get to see exactly what is going on while they are on your store and exactly where they drop off at.
This has already shown a few bugs in my system that I was able to quickly fix. Definitely recommend that you add something similar and always be aware of what’s happening on your store.
So the keys to take away and the keys I’m currently applying to the 9TEENTH store to get it to bounce back…
1 – Stick with what works. I went away from the consistent launch plan on the store because my focus drifted elsewhere, but I let that focus drift too long. I wrote up a plan of consistencies that the store must follow each month, each week, and each day so that we keep it going strong. This is all handled by my team so there’s really no excuse for me to let it die off again.
Each month, we must launch at minimum 3 new products per proven niche. A proven niche is anything that we’ve had multiple successes with in the past. We have assets growing along with these niches and they are typically the ones that gives us an indication that we need to move forward on growing an individual brand for that niche or something similar.
We must launch 20 new products to outreach new niches a month. There are a countless number of niches out there and we should never stop testing and trying to add more to this general store approach we follow on 9TEENTH.
2 – Never let marketing go stale. We need to consistently update our marketing strategy instead of letting it get stale. Our advertisements needs to continually be monitored and when things need to be scaled, they should do so with the appropriate actions… when things are losing money, they can be dropped and we move on. With consistent launches, this process adds up over time to have lots of winners going for you… some even turn out to be giant winners.
We also must update our Fan Favorites collection as well as update monthly special offers. These are great topics of content for the email and social media team as well. We have many assets like email lists and social media platforms that should be consistently posted to and directing traffic to the appropriate products, newsletters, and other assets we have rolling within the niches.
3 – Consistently update our advertising strategies. Facebook ads are a fickle beast and what works changes often with the platform. With this store, I let the ads sit for months and never started to apply the winning tactics that are working for my other brands. That is something I’ve started to apply this past week and I can already see the bounce back starting to happen.
I have recorded a video for the LIKE A Boss PRO members about these strategies. You can join that program and learn how to turn your store around here with the latest Facebook advertising strategies here.
You can see the difference in the revenues being produced in the pic below.
We made some advertising changes to the store on the 12th. Then, we made the edits to the store cart features and a few other things right around the 14th-15th. Cool thing about this is advertising costs are exactly the same as they were in the first part of the month. Things will continue to climb and when the launch system gets back on track starting next week, I expect we’ll be back to our $50k-$60k months very quickly.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and learned how you may be able to bounce back any of your dwindling sales. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.