In our last e-mail newsletter update (Newsletter? Sign up on our about page!), we noted that one pressing challenge is that artisan engagement after adding their products to the site has been worryingly low. Only 20% of the products that have been posted since December have been modified in any way. This means that artisans haven’t been updating their products based on the feedback they’re receiving.
This is a concern because Anou’s long-term success depends heavily on how engaged artisans are in selling their product as well as learning from their successes and failures. This has both long-term and short-term implications. In the long run, if artisans aren’t engaged, their products stay the same and they will remain dependent on others to evolve their business. In the short term, you don’t need to look further than the analytics of Anou’s online store: When Anou’s homepage stagnated with unchanging products, the number of return visitors dropped by 16% and sales slowed. If artisans simply post items and forget about it, Anou is going to struggle.
In exploring ideas of how to reverse this trend, we’re continually faced with tension between whether to better educate artisans or build more effective online tools. In the past month, we’ve implemented a mix of both. Anou’s artisan team has substantially increased the amount of follow up calls to discuss the feedback artisans receive and suggest possible ideas to improve their ratings. In addition to this, Anou’s artisan team published its first monthly newsletter, which was snail mailed to every artisan. On the building side, we’ve begun testing concepts of language free research tools that enable artisans to dive into more details of the feedback they received. Also, we’ve invested a substantial amount of time improving the backend of the site to decrease errors on the artisan page.
The challenge of getting more artisans involved in their business isn’t a quick fix. But with careful monitoring of the result of the above efforts, we’ll learn which tools are most effective in reversing the trend in low artisans engagement on Anou’s online store.