What’s affecting sales after Dec ‘22?

I was looking at “What’s Sold” timeline and see a sharp dip in sales after December 2022. Hmm…I’m just wondering what could have caused it. Keep creating fellow artists❤️

Holidays—people are busy and figure it’s too close to Christmas to get delivery for a gift or don’t want to get mixed up in holiday mail.

All good points Andrea. From the chart, it looks like the “DPW Buy now sales” seems to have never come back after the steep dip in Dec 2022.

This conversation led me to see something just wasn’t right about the sales chart and got me digging deep into our sales stats.

What follows is what I have come to understand after several days of thinking on it.

Warning: This is likely more than you ever wanted to know about this issue. My wife is not surprised. :-)

One thing that didn’t look right is the “Offsite” sales took off on Jan 2023 right when the “Buy Now Link” sales dropped. And, the rise in first was about as much as the drop in the second, which I found suspicious.

My immediate thought was the drop in “Buy Now Link” sales was because of inflation, with people scaling back expenses, especially for nonessentials. If so, then it would be expected the “Buy Now Link” and the “Offsite” sales would rise and fall more or less together, which the chart doesn’t show.

I did end up finding an issue with how I was counting “Offsite” sales, which when corrected fixed this anomaly. Now the “Offsite” and “Buy Now Link” sales are going up and down in unison as expected. Another changes is the “Buy Now Link” sales are now mostly higher than the “Offsite” sales.

Here’s the chart with the corrected data:

Here’s an explanation of the correction I made:

First, some definitions.

Buy Now Link Sales: these are sales through our “Buy Now Link” feature. They are sales that are known to occur completely in DPW with DPW completely handling the transaction marking the artwork as sold.

Offsite Sales: DPW allows the artist to enter a URL to another site for a given artwork where that artwork may be purchased. These “Buy URLs” commonly include Etsy and eBay URLs, however, there are no limitations and they can also navigate to a website for another gallery, brick and mortar or otherwise. When a sale is made, however, the artist must mark the artwork as sold in DPW.

Email Sales: If an artist does not set up a “Buy Now Link” for an artwork nor do they enter a “Buy URL”, the method of sale defaults to “Email”. This is where a buyer clicks a link that lets them send an email to the artist through DPW to enquire about purchasing the work. As with “Offsite” Sales, if a sale is made the artist must mark the artwork as sold in DPW.

While “Buy Now Link” sales are unambiguous, since DPW knows absolutely a sale was made and when, “offsite” sales are not. Artists may not mark an artwork as sold or they may not set the sold date accurately, leaving it defaulted to the date it was marked as sold. Further, DPW has no way of knowing if an artwork sold on another site because the buyer followed the “Buy URL” to that site or not.

“Email Sales” are even worse. Many artists upload a large number of artworks when they first join, leave them with the default “Email” Sale type, and then mark all the ones that have already sold, leaving the sold date to the date the works were marked. This is easy to see when looking at the data as many artists have many sold dates grouped together. In this way, “Email” sales are mostly sales that occur before an artist is a DPW member.

The corrections:

The correction main to the data was to no longer count the “Email” sales as “Offsite” sales, which makes “Offsite” sales more accurate. This can be seen in the above chart with the “Buy Now Link” and “Offsite” sales rising and falling roughly in unison as would be expected.

I also found I was only showing sales data for artists that were currently members now, not just at the time of sale. Fixing this naturally increased past sales.

Other observations:

An increase in sales can be seen in the chart during the pandemic. This makes sense because not only our membership grew, but many people were home, online more, and had more expendable income during that time. Then, around the beginning of 2023, you can see a sharp decline in both types of sales. This also makes sense as buying habits adjusted to inflation.

Why I have decided to remove the chart:

After all that, I have come to the conclusion the value the chart offers is too ambiguous. Not only because of the ambiguity of “Offsite” sales, as described above, but also because the chart shows total sales per month without accounting for the number of member artists. The chart also shows broad economic effects, such as the pandemic and inflation, on our artists’ sales that are not specific to DPW as a sales platform. My concern is the chart could unduly discourage artists from showing their work online. Art is so subjective and so talent dependent that one artist may due quite well in spite of an overall economic downturn.

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Thanks for looking into this David. I was just curious what could be the reasons for the sharp dip. I’m glad you figured the “Buy now sales’ numbers are actually much better. Let me switch back to my right brain now :grinning: