Week 13 – New and improved search!

May 25, 2020

It’s been a reasonable week for us over here at Buy Localized, though this blog post is quite a few hours later than usual. We launched our new search, researched a bunch and found a plethora of new competitors.

The Extension

Our new search is launched, and it’s great! It works quite a bit better than the old one, and it’s much easier to improve. We have a bunch more changes lined up for it and will be launching those this week. After that we will be working on front end changes, which will make a huge change to the extension. One problem we have had throughout this project is projecting our hard work. What I mean is that the vast majority of our efforts and resources have gone into research. However the search hasn’t worked great and the front end only shows 10 products. That has given the impression that we have cataloged a lot fewer listings than we actually have. It’s also an issue with the content I’ve written, I’ve had a hard time translating all our hard work into posts that people are actually interested in reading.

Research

Another strong 11,000 listing week. I finally got to going through New Balance. I found something interesting with them, they classify their made in the USA line as having domestic content of at least 70%, but I’m having a hard time seeing how that lines up with the FTC’s rule that it needs a negligible amount of foreign content, to me 30% is not negligible. I would assume that if anyone knows they would though. Their shoes made in the USA seem to start at around 130$+, quite a cost increase over foreign made ones. We’ve found that a lot of products are surprisingly viable to manufacture in the USA, for example you can get a USA cotton, made in the USA t-shirt for around 23$. However the more manual work that needs to go into something the harder it is to manufacture in the USA, so shoes are expensive, whereas socks or T-shirts are competitive.

Content Creation

Nothing posted this week. I wrote a bit of a case study on the SEO of similar companies, though it was deleted for some reason, you can read it on Google drive here though if you would like. We are making a master sheet of quite a few products, detailed looks on where they are made like we did for coffee and tea, however it’s just in the draft phase and it will be a while before I make any content based on it.

The Website

We are cruising away with triple digit visitors daily. A huge problem that I have been figuring out now, which may have been obvious, is how dependant we are on paid advertising. We only have a Chrome extension and that’s 60% of desktop users, which is 30-35% of our website visitors. It means we only have a solution for ~20% of the people who come to our site organically, and that’s terrible. With paid ads though we choose exactly who to show it to. If our subscription rates ends up being very low, then we will be faced with having to invest heavily making a mobile or website based version without any confirmation that this service is viable, which makes me pretty uncomfortable. Competitors are sprouting up left right and centre, I run into 2-3 new ones every week. I’m not particularly worried about them, though it makes me think a lot about a website version. This is a feature we have had requested dozens of times, people don’t like browser extensions they just want to access the information through a website. The problem is the research is the basis of our project, we’ve spent 80-90% of our time and resources, around 4000 hours, just on research. If we make a website all the information will be copied by all these new competitors, and I’m not sure what to do about that. I have found a mobile app that functions like I would like ours to, however from what I’ve read it will cost 10’s of thousands to have it built, and we don’t have much information as to whether people will pay for this information, I don’t know, should we go for it?

That’s all for this week, let me know what I should do!

Gareth Struivig de Groot is the founder of Buy Localized. He originally hails from Vancouver, and he is passionate about helping people get informed about where the things they purchase come from.
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