Switchables Stained Glass Nightlights are one of a few good things that have ever come from the Cavalcade of Crap. Years ago, Curio City became the first store to sell them online. Sales were solid and the markups were good. Craftspeople even propelled the basic fixture onto my Bestsellers list by buying a dozen at a time.
Nothing lasts long on the Internet. Competitors moved in and sales slowed. Some of these newcomers must have used professional Search Engine Optimization – or maybe sleazy tricks like link farms – to knock my pages down from the top of Google’s natural search results. The orders finally stopped coming in altogether. A new web store devoted exclusively to Switchables, with their name in its URL (no link here for obvious reasons, but it’s much too easy to find), killed the category. It’s nicer than my site and obviously has some money behind it. Faced with the prospect of investing in the latest new styles, I considered discontinuing the line.
My natural reaction to bullies is always to turn tail and run. Then I heard my dad’s voice counseling “Pick up a stick and beat them bloody. Do whatever it takes to win.” (Loyd hated seeing his skinny weakling son get pushed around).
It turned out that most of this big galoot’s prices were higher than mine. I also had a slight edge over their shipping charge for small orders. I cut a few prices and jazzed up my ads, and the line recovered a pulse. Encouraged, I moved all of the Switchables pages out of the Nightlights category and into their own subcategory in a bid to regain my natural search positions.
Big mistake. Google’s crawler apparently doesn’t like digging down two levels. So this week I moved them again, to a top-level category. It’s inconsistent with my overall organizational scheme, and it will take time for Google to re-index the pages, and I’ll lose the advantage of longevity…but it’s worth a try. Anything that makes the store easier to shop is good, organizational principles be damned; if it works I’ll extend the approach to other products. Switchables are moribund and new summer designs will soon demand more inventory dollars.
If this effort doesn’t work by Christmastime, I’m getting out of the Switchables biz. I’ve already got nearly $2,000 invested there and can’t afford to tie up more inventory dollars in a line that I have to keep poking with a stick. They might have become too mainstream to be a Curio City product anymore -- another victim of popularity.
Footnote: Eight hours after I finished doing this task, I got a nice $50 Switchables order. Coincidence? Of course it is. But gratifying all the same.
Welcome to Curious Business
Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.