Sales may be rough but you're not alone

Sales may be rough but you're not alone

With my app touching organic traffic, I often hear from customers when traffic and sales are down. In fact, I’ve been hearing this a lot over the last month.

If this is you, you’re not alone.

Shopify reported a 19% increase in sales this Black Friday, Cyber Monday compared to last year. That’s not taking into account new stores coming who didn’t have sales the year before. It also isn’t clear which stores saw the increase.

The overall message I’m hearing is that it’s been a rough year. Big store, little store, everyone seems to have taken a hit.

I’m hoping I can give you a glimpse of positivity.

Sales may be lower than expected this year compared to last, but what if you compared this year to 2019?

The COVID bump for ecommerce was real. The stores that saw the bump in sales are now seeing things drop off a cliff and it’s a bit unnerving.

But if we compare your sales this year to 2019 (pre-COVID bump), my guess is sales are still up. You may even see regular linear growth from 2019 into 2022.

Let’s use this graph that shows the E-Commerce Retail Sales as a Percent of Total Sales.

E-Commerce Retail Sales as a Percent of Total Sales report from 2000-2022 by fred.stlouisfed.org with data by the U.S. Census Bureau showing a spike in early 2020 and a steady decline for 2021.

We can see there is a sharp uptick in 2020 when everyone went online, followed by a steady decrease in 2021 and 2022.

But what you may not realize is that we’ve just leveled out and are going back to our growth trajectory from 2019.

E-Commerce Retail Sales as a Percent of Total Sales report from 2000-2022 by fred.stlouisfed.org with data by the U.S. Census Bureau showing a spike in early 2020 and a steady decline for 2021. This time there is a dotted red line showing a steady increase from 2020 - 2022 as if COVID didn't happen.

So I encourage you to look not just at this year compared to last but compare this year to 2019.

If you expanded in 2020-2021 by hiring new employees, growing facilities, etc, then you might have grown faster than the normal rate. That means you might have had to do layoffs or close up locations but that’s because the COVID bump made you expand too early.

It sucks but even Shopify had to go through this. Tobi even said that Shopify placed a “bet that didn’t pay off”. If Shopify, with all the stores they manage, predicted something else happening, it’s understandable if others got it wrong too.

That said, take a look at your 2019 and 2022 sales metrics. You might be growing still and you might need some of that expansion. Will it be as much as the COVID bump? Probably not, but it might be something nonetheless.

If your traffic is down (beyond the COVID bump) and you can’t figure out why, check out this article from Aleyda Solis, Why My Web Traffic Dropped?

Ecommerce as an industry isn’t dying, it’s not going anywhere, it just had a puberty growth spurt and its voice will get back to normal eventually.

Keep doing what you’re doing. Work on marketing, make your thing, and sell it!

May next year bring you what 2020 should have been.

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