Recently I dove deep into the numbers that surround our twelve free-to-use weekly shopping lists. As I crunched numbers, a story began to unfold. A story that surprised me. I saw our lists fall into four distinct groups, which I describe below. Each of these groups will experience change effective February 1, 2014.
Let me walk you through the categories I saw and the changes that are coming.
The Big 3
Three of our lists generate 65% of all the shopping list-related website traffic at PocketYourDollars.com. Those three stores are Target, Rainbow/Copps/Pick N Save and Cub Foods.
Knowing how much you use and love these lists, we won’t change them very much. You’ll notice just a few small things:
- We will combine the weekly Rainbow Foods and Copps/Pick N Save lists.
- We dedicate a certain amount of time each week to maintain the lists we create. We will focus our maintenance efforts on these three lists. Starting February 1 we will be spending less overall time on list maintenance sitewide. Therefore, our focused priorities include: 1) let you know of any noteworthy new deals and 2) keeping the on-going deals sections current.
Two stores produce relatively small traffic, compared to the Big 3, but take so little time to produce and maintain that they are worth the effort. These two stores are Aldi and Menards.
You won’t notice any changes with these lists. We’ll continue to create them as we always have and we’ll continue maintaining them at the same level we always have.
The National Chains
Walgreens, CVS and Walmart are popular, generating a combined 22% of list-related website traffic. But, if you figure out how much time we spend creating and maintaining these lists, compared to the amount they are used, they become the three most expensive lists we have. That means we need to do something different with them.
As a result:
- The formatting (language, punctuation, abbreviations, etc.) will be a little looser moving forward. Things will remain neat and readable, but we’ll loosen up our over-the-top anal retentiveness about these things (wish us well with this, because we’re a team of Type A folks and this is a hard change for us).
- When we learn of a new, super noteworthy deal we may create a new blog post for it instead of updating the current week’s shopping list.
- Our focus, as we maintain these three national lists, will be on deals that last beyond a week – whether month-long or on-going deals. You may need to read the comments left after each list to see what others have noted as updates to any week-long deals.
The Bottom 4
Four store lists – Cash Wise, Coborn’s, Hy-Vee and Lunds/Byerly’s – each generate less than 1% of shopping list-related traffic. Beyond the lack of interest, in 2013 we invested $3 for every $1 in revenue from these four lists (ouch!). Therefore, we will be discontinuing these lists as of February 1, 2014.
Weekly Update Posts
As part of our list maintenance efforts, we currently publish two blog posts that highlight the best new deals we’ve added to our shopping lists. We will be eliminating these two weekly updates as of February 1. However, we still want you to be aware of the new deals that have been added to our most popular lists.
Starting next week we’ll republish the entire Target, Rainbow Foods/Copps/Pick N Save, and Cub Foods lists on Wednesdays. That will get them included in the Pocket Your Dollars’ Wednesday email and pop them back to the top of the shopping list section on the homepage.
I know change is hard (trust me, I agonized over all this for several weeks). I expect that some will feel very disappointed with these changes. I understand. My heart’s desire would be to provide a free-to-use shopping list for every grocery store we could think of. Practically, with time and resource constraints, that isn’t possible. As a result, we need to focus our efforts on the areas that are producing maximum value for this wonderful online community. I ask for your understanding and support, even if you feel disappointed.
I’m happy to talk more about this and answer any respectful questions. Just ask. What are you wondering about these changes?