Why Did My Sales Drop?


We are asked this quite often, and it’s a tough one to answer, but with any online store there will always be a few things you can research to see why your sales may have dropped.  Even if your sales have not dropped, there are steps you can take to make your research easier if they ever do.

Has your traffic dropped?

You’ve configured your store for Google Analytics, right? If not, your hosting account should come with a basic stats tracking system that you can use.  Review the data you have available and see if your traffic has dropped or if it remains the same.

It didn’t drop, but my sales did?

Anytime there is a change in sales that is unexpected but traffic remains the same, there are a variety of things to check.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Review your merchant account for declined cards, see if there are more then usual or a trend with a specific type of failure.
  • [ShopSite Pro] Check Merchant Alerts in ShopSite on the Commerce > Alerts screen.
  • Place test orders for your popular products if they are not selling, see if they work correctly
  • Place test orders with various browsers and payment methods.  Be sure all your payment methods are working, so if you accept credit cards, PayPal, and Amazon – test them all.
  • Check Google Analytics for top exit pages, test those pages, see if something is wrong
  • Check that your checkout page where your customers enter their billing details is secure without any SSL warnings that could deter a customer from completing their order.

My traffic did drop, so now what?

If your traffic has dropped, then the sales may have dropped proportionally.  If that is the case you would want to review why the traffic has dropped, such as checking Google Webmaster Tools and seeing if there are any warnings/issues listed for your website.

Tools such as monitorbacklinks.com can be used to track changes in search engine rankings, although those types of tools would only be able to show historical data for the time period that you’ve had an account with them.  Maybe you will find that a competitor has worked on their SEO and they now outrank you in certain keywords.

My sales are fine, but you mentioned I could prepare for it?

  • Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools, which will allow you to view Google’s stats about your site and any search indexing issues that arise.  Bing has Webmaster Tools as well, so you can review your site’s details in their system too.
  • Implement Google Analytics on your site which will provide in-depth detail about your visitors including where they are coming from.  This way you will have historical traffic data so you can see changes and trends over time.
  • Register for Monitor Backlinks or a similar service to track your search engine rankings.  This will give you a baseline of your current keyword rankings and you’ll be able to see if you go up or down in the search results.

No Simple Answer

As you can see, there is no simple answer for a why a site has had a drop in sales, but once you step through the items above you may be able to find something to help explain the drop and what to improve to get your sales back up.

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