Making Custom Orders Work For You And Artisans

Custom orders are quickly becoming an important part of how Anou is evolving. In one of our recent newsletters (What? You don’t know about it? You can sign up on our About Page!), we noted that a significant amount of sales on the Anou store during the month of October came from custom orders.

The most common custom orders were requests to change a product’s size and the second most common were requests for multiples of the same product. The third, but less frequent custom orders, were requests to change the colors of the product.

Artisans and Anou Team leaders at Anou have done a great job fulfilling custom orders but we haven’t been flawless. One challenge has been the use of estimates. When we receive a custom order request, we confirm the order with the artisan who then provides the customer with an expected completion date and quote for the work. So far, artisans have needed an average of 25%-50% more time than their original estimate. In addition to this, the estimated price given by the artisan has increased on two of the orders for various reasons. The artisan covered the difference on one and a customer gladly covered the difference on the other. Fortunately, we’ve have had nothing but incredibly gracious customers that have given us the space to work out these issues.

These experiences have given us a tremendous insight into the patterns and trends of artisan custom orders. Our goal with this information is to create a robust tool that will enable customers to make custom orders directly from the artisans themselves with out the use of language. While we now have a solid idea of how this will be designed, we’re still trying to learn as much as possible about the entire process so we can create a platform that enhances artisan businesses, all while creating a great shopping experience for customers on the Anou store.

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Every product page now features a button so customers can request custom changes to existing items and previously made items.

Today, we’ve started to build this platform. Now on all the product pages there are small “Request Custom Change” blue button beneath the purchase button. With this button, all a customer has to do is leave their e-mail and the changes they would like to make (e.g. dimensions, color, quantity) and we will follow up with them to confirm their request.

Since we’ve also received multiple requests for previously made items, artisan store pages now display all previously made products below their currently listed products. On the pages of previously made products customers will also find the “Request Custom Change” button where they can have the previously made item remade or customized.

We will continue to monitor how customers are using these tools and we’ll be continually tweaking them based on what we learn. So give it a try and if you have any questions or comments about any of this, send us an e-mail at hello@theanou.com.

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