About two months ago I asked myself this question. I spent December in work and experiments and now I have several answers to this question. Well, the time has come and I want to share the results of self-reflection and investigation of my own mistakes.
Like any self-respecting startup, we now have a list of errors that we made at different stages of development.
Causes of errors I see the combination of the selected market segment, location and the human factor.
Let’s start with locations .
The Estonian air is far from always so useful for a start-up, as it is sometimes presented in advertisements from the Estonian Government. And it’s not about financial aspects and location – in the middle of nowhere, but a specific relationship between the buyer and the seller.
– A typical Estonian seller places the goods in Estonian fengshui (you won’t see any kinds of flashy ads) and starts intensely waiting for buyers. A typical Estonian seller is sure that his goods are the best (often not that true) and that the quality of the product speaks for itself.
– A typical Estonian buyer is extremely vulnerable if it comes to interpersonal relations, and therefore tries to avoid any communication with the seller. He himself will find out what kind of goods he needs and if there is an opportunity to pay for the purchase through the automatic cash desk, then he will certainly use it to reduce communication with the seller to zero.
So the Estonian air influenced me in the same way – I was sure that our solution for consumers of kosher food is the most proper way to search for information about kosher products, because it eliminates the need to pull the familiar rabbi for questions regarding kosher aspects.
I was wrong.
Kosher consumers are very eager for communication.
They are ready to juggle their rabbi in whatsapp, just not to look on the Internet or a specialized application, such as our “ Is it kosher? “. London’s Beit-Din started a Facebook page where specially trained people respond constantly to users’ inquiries about the kosher status of products. It took them a year to teach people to look at their web search app first, and then ask the question in the group.
This led me to think that we too can add such an opportunity to the app and this will not only allow people to communicate, but also improve our database, because the answers of the rabbis will be saved in the database with pictures, barcodes and answers.
At the moment, we have two rabbis – representatives of CER and Star-K.
Another problem – a certainty that everyone knows about us. It was based on a random sample of respondents who answered the question “do you know about the project Is it kosher?”, They certainly answered yes. As shown by the last half-year – very little number of people really know about our project.
I investigated this issue and came to the conclusion that people just do not look for kosher applications in appstore and Google Play. People are looking for information about the kosher products, but not how to get this information. And the idea was born to develop a website that will repeat partially the functionality of the mobile app.
A month ago the site app.iskosher.com was born. It was a pure experiment, but it already showed significant results. 400 unique users a day, 98% of which came from search engines. At the moment, Google indexed the site for 26,000 pages. On many positions the site is now in the top five results.
Previously, I refused the idea of such a site, because I simply did not believe that people would look for information about the kosher products. It was a strange thought, because I myself did it before. Actually, this is another mistake – a bet on mobile applications, not a site.
Here’s an example of a typical user case:
Now they are actively looking for information about medicines that can be bought in a pharmacy.
Airborne – The user comes to the page, determines what can and can not buy, sees prices on Amazon and if it suits, then he buys on Amazon.
Or here: Halls , Baileys Irish Cream or Tic tac in Europe
The Amazon store is another topic that I have long wanted to explore. Now I had an opportunity and surprisingly the system started working for me.
The actual choice in favor of exclusively mobile applications is the market segment selection error .
I have studied various sites and have come to the conclusion that we will use the browser for some time, not separate applications. 80% of the traffic coming to our site is mobile devices. In general people do not install apps, but look for information in Google.
Among the interesting projects currently working I would call Kosher on a Budget and YeahThatsKosher .
The first was created by a housewife, who simply posted on the site different discounts on kosher goods. And her post about where you can buy disposable dishes on Pesach with a discount last year just broke the Internet. Now about 200 thousand visitors a month.
YeahThatsKosher was created by a marketer, but started simply as a travel-blog. He even managed to visit Tallinn. He simply wrote about places where he went, what can be eaten there and where is an interesting synagogues. 70 thousand visitors a month.
So I thought that it would be possible to release to the market, something original. So another idea was born – to start writing about different places, where there are eruvs, kosher places, synagogues and give the opportunity to choose a hotel closer to these places.
Elstree and Borehamwood is our favorite area in London. I used to pick a hotel there earlier, which I compared with the Eruv map. And now I have an automatic system. And yes, the affiliate program from booking.com is another opportunity to earn on the Internet.
Thanks to everyone who helped with advices. The experience that I acquired over the past 2 months is difficult to value.