Kwakkelflap: tools for the IT pro

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

January sales analysis

I wanted to make this analysis for 2 reasons: the switch from RegNow to Plimus and the switch from US$ to euro. How did they affect my sales? I know it's a bit early and I'm not taking the full month into account. In fact, it's only been 2 weeks. But it might be enough to check how things are going.

I don't think the number of sales have been influenced by the change. The amount of orders is equal to the best months of 2006. So switching credit card processors seems to have no influence. The profit has increased. Plimus rates are better and the euro is strong compared to the dollar, so I'm receiving more from each sale.

Product price seems to have little influence on the number of orders. I noticed a growth when I increased the price a few months ago (but there where other factors), and I'm not noticing anything now.

There is a difference in Geography. When I check my orders from each country, the United States was way on top the previous months. Now, other countries are getting closer to the United States. And not only European countries. I’ve seen an increase in sales from Canada, Australia and Japan. Most orders where in euros, while Australian and United States Dollars are tied in second spot. Are US users scared to pay when they see a euro sign or is the price too steep? This might be a fluke, after all we only use this months data compared to the last months of 2006. Something to keep an eye on.

Most people still use regular credit card orders, but there has been an increase in PayPal orders (with Plimus, not by using the link on the website). Why do people select PayPal with Plimus instead of using the PayPal function on my website? The answer is easy: I only have a PayPal link on my ‘Buy’ page. And almost no one is using that page to buy the software. I had one order from someone using the buy page, and it was a site license (which is only available on the buy page). All others order are from within the application, the index page or the product details page. So I need to ask myself: do I need to have the site license on the product pages, and do I need to remove the PayPal option from the buy page? I’ve included the site license on the discount page for now, and I will probably add a clear link to the product page.

That’s about all I can tell for the moment. I’ll create another analysis a few months down the road.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

First problems with Plimus?

I've been using Plimus for 3 days now. Orders are coming in, and everything seems fine. But yesterday, I received a mail from a customer who told me that Plimus tried to contact him by phone because his order was flagged as fraudulent:
"While reviewing your order for Service - O - Matic we noticed that the phone number you entered is either incorrect/incomplete or we were unable to reach you at that number, please send us a phone number where we can reach you at so that we can process your order."

At first, I didn't know what to think about it. It never happened to me using RegNow. Yes, I had fraudulent orders, but they never contacted the customer by phone for all I know. In response, I send the customer an email with download instructions right away. I always try to give a customer the benefit of the doubt. If the order wasn't fraudulent, then the customer had to wait for the full version. If the order was fraudulent, then that person didn't want to pay for it anyway, and might resort to other means of getting the software for free.

The biggest problem for me is the phone call itself. I don't know about you, but personally I hate phone calls. I think it's highly intrusive. Not only that, but Plimus is in a different time zone. They made the call more than 6 hours after the order, and it was 22 o'clock local time! I sell to business most of the time, and I know that I won't be answering business calls at 22 in the evening. No wonder the customer didn't answer the phone.

Anyway, I contacted Plimus about this, and they advised me to use a different order processing company if I didn't want them to phone my customers. They have to make a ton of money if they don't want a vendor that earned $1500+ in the first 3 days (hey, I told you January would be a good month).

I'm not sure how frequent these calls are. I'll be checking this in the future.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Pirates!

The nice thing about a new release is that you get back on top of the download sites and new people will notice your product. The bad thing is that it's also a note to crackers to let them know you have a new version.

Every program that's interesting will be cracked. You can find an Adobe Photoshop Serial or a Vista Keygen just by googling. Anyone with a blog can help out a little and create fake links for cracks like the one above. This will help pirates find a nice tune instead of the software they are looking for.

I've seen some keygens for my software previously, so I switched to a different full binary. I wasn't surprised to find a Sniff - O - Matic crack on the net today. This one is different than the others: they stripped the trial version and simply distribute the .exe file. They did a bad job however, and the interface is garbled up. Time to update my version I guess.

There is no recent Watchdog - O - Matic crack or Service - O - Matic crack, but I'll have to watch out.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Plimus switch

I just made the switch from RegNow to Plimus. It was more work than anticipated. Changing the urls in the programs was no big deal. But you can’t imagine how much buy links I have on the website. And, I had to update all program information.

The affiliate system has also been changed. New affiliates will be using Plimus. I still support RegNow for older affiliates, so there is no need to change anything for them. The only problem is that I’ll have to update my prices now and then at RegNow. I’m selling in Euros on the website, and RegNow only supports US$. I’ll probably check them once a month to keep them inline with my Plimus account.

Now, all I have to do is wait for the first Plimus order to roll in.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Plimus test

Some time ago, I talked about my payment processor RegNow, and how they work. I also talked about the Dollar-Euro conversion rate. All of this made me believe it is time for me to switch. I heard a lot of good stuff about Plimus, which is not part of the Digital River network. All payment processors bought by Digital River seem to use the same way of earning money: an x% + y$ plan which I’m not that fond of. Plimus has no setup fee, so I can basically try them out for free. And their % on sales seems alluring. They even had a conversion offer, which means that they would create all my products using the information from RegNow and my website.

I wasn’t that impressed with Plimus at first to tell you the truth. The interface seemed clunky and it was hard to find everything I needed. So I didn’t check them out after signing up. Today, I went back and I was impressed with the way they converted all my products. This is a great incentive to switch, because a lot of work was already done for me. So I spend some time fine-tuning everything. I still hate the interface, but I’m getting used to it. And then I discovered the real reason I want to switch: I can sell in any currency I want. Want to sell in Bahamas Dollars, or Iceland Kronur? No problem. So I can sell all my products in Euros if I want to. There are still a few minor issues like product bundles. But there are workarounds.

So I will probably switch to Plimus in a few days. I’m still thinking of using affiliates for RegNow. I’m not sure at this point. I updated Sniff – O – Matic and changed all the buy links to Plimus instead of RegNow. I’ll use it as a test before I make the big conversion. I think I’ll need a day changing all the buy links in the software and on the website, so I want to know if it’s worth getting into.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sales statistics for 2006

Another year has passed, and it's time to make a review. I've included some charts without any real figures. They should give you an idea about my sales, and the direction I'm going. 2006 is also the first full year for Service - O - Matic (first released at the end of 2005). So it should be nice to see how it performs compared to our first product: Watchdog - O - Matic. I have not included data of Sniff - O - Matic, because I have only released it in 2006. Keep in mind that I started my AdWords campaign in October 2006.

First chart is the number of orders in 2006. Note that one order can have multiple licenses, but it is still counted as one order. Also, I did not deduct refunds (2 in 2006) and PayPal orders (3 in 2006). These do not influence the chart with those numbers ;-)



We have 2 big jumps in total sales: May and October. I'm not sure why the Watchdog - O - Matic Professional orders where up in May. The October sales for Service - O - Matic where bigger because of the Bits du jour promotion and the start of the AdWords campaign. Service - O - Matic sales are great compared with Watchdog - O - Matic. I've had more orders for Service - O - Matic than the regular Watchdog - O - Matic version. So I'm quite happy with our new product. We only sell the professional version since the end of November, so it's too early to know where those are going (although I think they won't get as high as the regular version). Overall, the number of sales is increasing. Typical bad December is still the 5th best month of 2006, but I did increase the AdWords campaign and profit is not brilliant because of this.

Next chart is the orders / download ratio. I added the regular and professional orders together, although I only have a trial download of the regular version. I believe the trial version also results in professional sales.



The Service - O - Matic orders / download ratio is making strange jumps. But we can see that the ratio (which is 2% average) is much higher than the ratio of Watchdog - O - Matic (1 % average). I can only point to "ease of use" and "registration code" as reasons. I made some changes to the Watchdog interface and I no longer have a registration code to activate the full software since October. The orders / download might be increasing (disregarding December, which is a special case). Still, this is something I'll need to look into. It would be great if I could increase the ratio of Watchdog - O - Matic.

Which product brings in the cash? Below, you can find a nice product chart for 2006.



You can see that Watchdog - O - Matic Professional is my biggest cash cow at 48%, followed by my site licenses of Watchdog - O - Matic. Service - O - Matic and the regular Watchdog - O - Matic are close, but the number of orders do make a difference.

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