Shoestring Theory

Currently documenting the house that is eating our lives, we will return to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of more months

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Some business trends going into the new year

February 14, 2010 at 10:52 am by thetheorist

Once upon a time, we’ll refer to this as the pre-house days, I used to talk about running a small business on this site. I would like to get back to that, perhaps not every post, but at least on a regular basis.

As the country has moved through the recession, there are some buying trends that I’ve noticed with our business. We used to have relatively consistent sales throughout the entire day. There were a couple of peaks, but we sold steadily even at 2 or 3 in the morning. That’s simply not the case anymore. We now have several dead zones and two very hot (and one warm) peaks throughout weekdays. Our overnight, late morning and mid-afternoon sales have all dried up, dropping by 70 percent or more. But, our early morning (5 a.m. – 9 a.m.) has exploded, as has the evening (5 p.m. to 10 p.m.). The early afternoon sales are still steady, though not remarkable.

I have a few theories about why this is.

First, our current sales match the standard work day more now than they did previously. Employers now may monitor or block employees internet access more, keeping our sales lower during the working hours.

Second, we’ve always had a strong client base of self-employed people and small business owners. Many of my regulars from two or three years ago are gone now. Some of them I know had to go back to a real job or close their business, but most of them just disappeared. I would notice that someone hadn’t ordered in a few weeks and drop them a line, only to get dead air or a bounced email. Some of these people are still self-employed part time, but have to work a regular job too, thus restricting the times that they can be online buying stuff from me.

I miss the overnight sales the most from our old patterns. It was always exciting to boot up the old ‘puter in the morning and see how much money we had made while we slept. The answer is the same most days now, not that much.

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