Week 6 Blog Post – Seeing consistent improvement

Apr 6, 2020

Another week, another blog post! As we dive deeper into quarantine insanity it’s been a fairly smooth week over here at Buy Localized. We had our first full week of traffic after we started trying to get users, and that went well. We solved some technical issues with the Extension, and we added quite a few products.

The Extension

We did almost exclusively back end stuff this week. We greatly improved our ability to crawl pages. We are constantly recrawling Amazon to check if a store has new listings, to add new stores to our database and for a couple other reasons. Our developer figured out how to make it around 10 times as fast, so that took a few days. We also worked on classifying “multiple” brands. Currently, and this touches on research, we pretty much just add companies that manufacture exclusively in the US. As we are figuring out our standards it just makes it a lot more simple to do it that way. As we are starting to extinguish our list of companies that manufacture exclusively in the US we are starting to build out the backend for classifying listings of companies that manufacture in a lot of places, so that we can add them to our database efficiently, and we worked quite a bit on that this week. In the next week we will be introducing some customer feedback mechanisms in the Extension. We want people to tell us if they think we messed up, or if we are missing a listing. We will be happy to add a listing to a category that someone feels is missing one, and it should only take a day or two to do that.

Research

7500 new listings added to our database this week! As we improve our processes we get more efficient, and we saw a payoff for that this week. We’ve also been dividing our time between classifying companies on Amazon and in our initial database. As we started researching before our Extension was done we started with just adding them to a database. That has evolved into a 2 step method, where we do an initial round of research to verify they do manufacture in the US and that they have an Amazon storefront, and then once we have verified that, the Extension crawls them and we manually review every Amazon listing to make sure no other ones are mislabelled as being a part of that store, that happens a lot, or if we messed up. We have a huge database now, way bigger than any of our competitor websites, and significantly more accurate as well. I’m not pleased at how we are demonstrating that, no one who came to our site or downloaded the Extension would realise just how much more we have than anyone else and it’s something I’ve been brainstorming a lot on how to improved.

Content Creation

This week our second article was launched, on Maple Landmark, a wooden toy company out of Vermont. They are really great, they responded to our emails in great detail and clearly take great pride in what they’ve accomplished. We haven’t really figured out how to get these out there though. I’m not very competent at SEO, so they aren’t really optimised for that. We are working on how to get these articles out and shared, as we think they are an excellent way to get to the root of why we are doing this out there. We should have 1 or 2 a week.

Website

Traffic has been great this week, breaking 100 users a day for the first time. We’ve also been getting 10-15 users a day and we should have a great group of people to get feedback from in the near future. Our goal at this point is to get a few hundred users, to talk to them, to see how they use the Extension and what they are looking for, and then develop it around all that feedback. One thing that differentiates this project from other Extensions is that due to us needing to have constant research done, we need a way to monetize. It is a lot of work to find these companies and add them to the Extension, and it will be permanent task. We toyed with the idea of something like Wikipedia with user submitted companies, but they have a financial incentive to cheat/lie, and they bend the truth about where their products are made a lot in our experience anyway. So we are hoping with all the feedback we will get we will be able to build something so great that people will be okay paying a bit for it in some fashion.

There have been a lot of discussions internally of how to ensure each department gets feedback, and that will continue to be a focus for the future. We will be adding a button in the Extension where you can request a listing, as well as popping up a prompt after a certain amount of searches, asking for our users experiences and suggestions. I’m trying to make sure every member of the team can speak directly to our users, so they can get opinions that aren’t filtered through me.

That’s it for me this week, I will see you next week!

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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