Sometimes, it's easy to guess. For example, a client selling high value home-improvement products had a dip in orders just around the Brexit vote. Once people realised that there was no immediate change in their circumstances, orders resumed and, in fact, the past few months' enquiries and sales performance has easily surpassed the same period of the previous year.
Another client, whose biggest seller for years was knee-length riding boots, has barely sold any recently although sales of other products are still buoyant.
Sharing or Downsizing?Recently, a company selling urns for funeral ashes has noted that sales of full size urns have dipped whilst sales of mini-urns have quadrupled. Could this be a result of downsizing or decluttering? That seems a bit heartless so we're exploring the theory that a loved one's treasured ashes are being shared more widely instead of being passed around the family in a traditional sized urn.
From a business viewpoint, determining whether this is a passing trend or a permanent shift in customs is important for replacing stocks held. Similarly, the boot suppliers had re-invested their money in stock which is currently dormant so they need to find new customers.
Both these companies are family-run small businesses, the like of which have been the mainstay of Britain's economy over the past ten years. Currently, with an election in the imminent future, such companies are holding their collective breath.
Are Internet giants influencing people's choices?Are internet giants (Google, eBay) influencing people by determining what they are fed? An interesting factor (which might be a red herring) is that both companies noticed a change in sales from their websites after they began selling through their eBay shops. Fewer standard urns and fewer boots, via both eBay and direct sales. We can factor out Brexit and other political influences because these changes happened a year apart.
It could be said that, by setting up as eBay shops in direct competition to their own websites, they were feeding the beast. Theoretically, search engines should address that balance. The thing is, I don't know the answer but I'd be happy to hear other people's opinions.