Receive lot of views but no sales?
I receive a lot of questions about view counts and how they relate to actual sales. Views apply whether you are selling your handmade items on a marketplace or on your personal website. Views and traffic are the same thing. We all like larger numbers but conversions are a lot more exciting than being popular.
How many views equals 1 sale? Honestly, all you really need is one view to get one sale. Sometimes you end up just getting hundreds of generic views before that single qualified one. Sometimes traffic is just traffic.
A qualified buyer is a person that is not only interested in what you sell, but is also ready to buy. Depending on where your traffic comes from, most of your views are probably just people who are interested in seeing what you do.
What you can correlate is the number of qualified people that turn into buyers. If you have a pool of qualified buyers you can usually expect a 1 percent conversion rate at minimum but you may be able to get much more.
Not all views are created equal – There are browsing views and searching views. If you have your own personal website then most of your traffic probably comes from search. That means people are typing in what they are looking for into a search engine like Google or Yahoo and your item or site is showing up.
If you sell on a marketplace you initially get traffic from the marketplace itself. You may receive views from people searching inside the marketplace with the search box or you can receive views from people browsing through categories. Over time your items may show up in regular search engines like Google as well so you will have multiple streams of traffic.
In either case, views coming as the result of a specific search stand a better chance of converting into a sale. Those views are from people actively searching for you rather than just happening to see you.
Not all items are equal – Even with qualified traffic, some items will on average have lower conversion rates. Some handmade items are more subjective than others and cannot be described with words. A person will need to actually click on your listing to see if your painting or piece of art actually appeals to them. It may not even though it is the type of item they are looking for. It can take a lot of qualified views to get a sale on an items like this.
Find your conversion rate – If you have not heard of Google Adwords, they are the ads you see at the top and right side of the search results in Google and they only get displayed when someone types in certain words into the search box. Most people have their ads set up where a potential customer would have to be looking for something very specific in order to see their ads because it costs them money each time the ad is clicked. If you have to pay for each person to see your items then you make sure you attract the right people.
Placing ads like this can give you a good idea of your actual conversion rate. You know for a fact that a person is searching for exactly what you are selling so you can easily see if your items convert. If you are still getting a high number of clicks and no sales then you can start to evaluate your site design, prices, or the items themselves.
How less views can equal more sales – If you target and get in front of a qualified group of people, even if it is a very small audience, you can expect a higher percentage of sales or conversion rate. Getting in front of 10 qualified people is much more valuable than simply showing your items to 200 people walking down the street.
Where are your views coming from? That is what is important, not the actual number of views. Before you get discouraged by a large view count with zero sales, you have to determine what is going on. If you do not know where those views came from, the view count is simply a number and is not telling you anything other than that your items are being found somehow.
Maybe you should ask – There is nothing wrong with asking a customer how they found you. Large companies do this all the time and it tells them which marketing efforts are actually paying off.
How publicity leads to more views but no sales – You can receive a lot of views if you are featured on a billboard, on the cover of a magazine, in a blog, or at the top of a category or front page of a marketplace. Simply being up front or being very visible means more people will see you. Who are these people? They could be buyers but the majority probably are not. By simply being in front of a lot of general people you stand a good chance of a percentage of them clicking to take a look at your items. Could this lead to sales? Possibly, but they were not necessarily looking for your items specifically so the conversion rate will be low.
Impulse Pricing – If you are featured somehow and receive a lot of traffic you may actually get some sales, but it depends on what you sell and how much you sell them for. Price-point can matter. Items that are only a couple dollars can sometimes be impulse items. If you do sell at higher price-points, more traffic may just increase your view count. People will be unlikely to buy higher priced items if they are not specifically either looking for them or needing them.
Why views go down – Whether you are receiving qualified traffic or just general views, the actual number will fluctuate. Over time you can spot trends. These may be trends for the weekends, seasons, or even the weather. You may worry about these fluctuations initially because you do not know the normal trend but over time you can see what is normal for your specific site or type of items.
You will also have fluctuations due to your visibility and these can lead to longer term slow periods. Your site could be showing up further down in the search results or your items could be further down the page in a specific category. When you see fluctuations that do not follow your normal trends you may want to do a search for your own items and see if you can be found as easily as you could before. You may need to work on your SEO or start relisting more items to increase your visibility.
Sometimes it is out of your control – If you look at stats, daily views go up and down. This could just be fluctuations with the search engines themselves. In many cases you did not do anything special on the days you received a lot of views and sales nor did you cause the down days. When views and sales trend downward for a few days that does not mean you are doing anything wrong.
It is definitely more frustrating when you are just starting out and have not received any sales. You may spend your time tweaking and refining your site thinking something must be wrong. People do the same thing when views are down for a period of time. As long as your site is still up and functioning, if you were able to get sales before you will be able to get them again. Constantly changing your site does not necessarily translate into more views and sales.
Algorithms can change. This happens with search engines and marketplaces. An internal change can place one person’s items higher up in the results while pushing another person’s further down. It depends on the weight they are giving to a certain aspect of your site. This could be the number of backlinks you have or how much content you have on your site. Sites that used to rank well can also be penalized by these new changes. When you suddenly lose many of your daily views and they do not come back up over time then you may want to see if any changes have been made with regards to how sites or items are being ranked.
Examples of this could be changes with Etsy Relevancy or with specific Google Updates. Google gives them names, like Panda. You can research the Panda Update and see how it changed their algorithm and who it will affect.
What has been your experience with views versus sales?