Monday, January 6, 2014

SimplePart December Update Part 1

Welcome to our News and Update wrap-up for December 2013.

Congratulations to our customers for all their hard work in 2013 selling online parts. Combined, their websites generated 102,572 orders (+98% YOY) for $12,866,154.69 (+123%) in receipts – 2012 was a great year, but 2013 was exceptional. In total, they sold 390,000 items (120,000 distinct part numbers) and shipped orders in an average of 135 hours. Thanks to everyone for your energy and commitment.

During December we peaked at 11 million (+10% MOM) daily page requests and saw a total of 1,746,415 (-5.7%) unique human visitors. These visitors placed 8,858 orders (-4.3%) for a total of $1,172,774.49 (-3.9%) in sales. Average order value last month was up 1.2% over November.

Q1 2014 Sales
This holiday season, the principle “off work” days fell mid-week, which resulted in atypical travel and shopping patterns compared to previous years. In addition, this year saw the shortest shopping season in 11 years – 26 days, down from 32 days in 2012. Historically from November into December, client websites have seen an 8% drop in order dollars – performance this year was much better (-3.9%), despite the change in shopping patterns. To set the stage for what to expect through January and February of 2014, We included graphs below of 30-day rolling receipts for all our customer websites from late 2011 and late 2012, into the early part of 2012 and 2013. From October through middle-January sales dropped by roughly 20% both years. From middle-January through the end of February, sales jumped to 10% and 30% higher than our starting point in October 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Bottom line - while we do expect volume to rebound in January or February, I would plan for a 10% boost over October numbers.

Infrastructure Improvements
Our infrastructure improvements in December were a big success, with no interruption at all to primary services. We moved to a direct-fiber connection, and introduced new redundant firewall and switch hardware. What this means for clients is that the transit time is faster (by 10 – 20ms) for information passing over the internet between their customers and our servers, which is very important for both customers (particularly mobile users) and rankings in organic search. The new redundant hardware means that if a switch or firewall fails, we are able to seamlessly switch to a backup with no interruption in your services. The combined effect of those upgrades is the 10% increase in peak page delivery we saw in December; we can process more traffic, and get pages and images to client's customers even faster than before. We also successfully tested distributing synchronized database services across datacenters as a part of this transition, in preparation for upgrades we have planned for 2014. Our upgrade schedule continues through 2014 – Clients can expect the first of those in late January or early February. We appreciate patience with us as we continue to improve the quality of our services and infrastructure.

Oki, Bob and Cole will be at NADA later this month. Let us know If you have plans to be in New Orleans, we would love to catch up. We plan to arrive on Friday.

As we plan the new features and upgrades we want to introduce in 2014, we want client suggestions. Please let us know if you have ideas for how we can improve our websites, infrastructure or services. We value client feedback and want to ensure we are growing along with our customers and continue to offer the best possible service.

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