Friday, May 24, 2013

The CraftStar Update 5/24/2013

We just sent this as an email to all users in our database.  Thought I'd post it here too in case you didn't receive the email.

I hope this email finds you well and preparing for a lovely long weekend.

Lots of movement recently on The CraftStar, and I wanted to give you some more detail on what we've added and where we're heading.

As I'm sure you aware, The CraftStar made quite a shift last week by adding Vintage to the site.  We've had many requests from Vintage sellers to join our community over the months, and recently it became such a frequent request that we couldn't continue to dismiss it without feeling like we were missing a key market that would add fabulous unique items to the site and drive more traffic from a different set of buyers.  More website visitors benefit us all. Vintage sellers from other sites wanted to join the community we've built on The CraftStar and that's a huge testament to the success of what we set out to achieve.  Everyone in the community is going to benefit from this addition as more and more shops join and a wider variety of items are available.  We made this move by listening to YOU, and we're very excited to welcome the "Vintagers" to our very supportive community!

The techs and I sat down and worked out a way to welcome Vintage sellers on to The CraftStar without impeding on the handmade artists.  I think the techs did a great job in building this as both sets of listings get pride and center front page positions and buyers can choose to search "All", "Handmade" or "Vintage" in every category. What do you think?

Another new addition to let you know about: we've had requests to expand our shipping options. I'm delighted to let you know that the techs have added unlimited shipping rules, which we activated today.  When editing a product, you can set shipping rules for as many countries as you want.  Once again, the techs have taken your requests and incorporated them into The CraftStar.  I'll be sure to buy them an extra beer for this one! YOU have helped build this site to where we are today, and will continue to as we move into the next phase.

Another frequent request has been to drop the listing fees and move to a flat fee.  As you may remember, when we first launched we intended to have listing fees AND membership fees.  But with that whole launch mess (that we don't need to go into again!), we chucked out all fees for a number of months.

We are now going to make this shift in the very near future.  We are going to begin with a flat out monthly fee of $5.00 for unlimited listings on June 1, 2013.  We have done quite extensive taste tests with both current members of The CraftStar and shops from other sites who are considering moving over ... and this number was agreeable to the majority.  Of course the finance team minding the The CraftStar's bills would like to see it higher, but I want to keep it affordable while we're still building new shops, inventory, traffic, and features.

We will revisit this in a couple of months and most likely add a tiered membership, along with various a'la carte innovative tools which you may want to utilize in your shop(s) that are designed to help you grow your business. However, those who are currently on site and who sign up before the move to a tiered system, will all stay at the $5.00 level.  Again, we listened to you before we made this decision and think it will bring in a whole new group of people who are unhappy in their current homes.  Which again, is of benefit to all of us.

These moves are all part of us working our way to differentiating ourselves from the main competitor.  Although our own analysis shows that only a few percent of sellers at that competitor have ever had more than a few transactions, we know we're never going to beat them in the listing game. Instead, our plan is to offer our members a different alternative to running your business in a number of ways. You see some of them in their infant stages now, like the LIVE broadcasts, but the plans coming up are very exciting.

One of the great things about being part of a community like The CraftStar is we truly want YOU to succeed.  Working together, we can do this ... we're already doing it, and we've barely started!

I think that's enough for one email.  As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.  We're here to listen, to build, and to succeed together.

Have a fabulous weekend.

The CraftStar

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