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Analysing Analytics · Studio Elke

Small Business

Arthur C. Nielsen famously suggested, ‘the price of light is less than the cost of darkness’ and nowhere is this witnessed more than in the partnership of small business and analytics.

Despite a wealth of free online tools, many small business owner still rely on ‘gut feel’ rather than accurate data analysis. For this month’s small business column, we chat with Elke Kramer and Kate Hurst, the Creative and Managing Directors behind Studio Elke, on the power of analytics for their business.

20th April, 2018

Studio Elke was initially known for the unique jewellery and accessories, and have now expanded their brand to include a range of interior objects. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Elke Kramer, the creative director of Studio Elke. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Setting up and running an online store is not rocket science. What is more challenging is being able to generate reports and analyse numbers, in order to maximise sales and get the most out of the store,’ Elke says. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Elke Kramer and Kate Hurst, the creative and managing directors behind Studio Elke. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Kate, Elke and the team reviewing product. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Inside the online at Studio Elke. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Fiona Killackey
Friday 20th April 2018

‘I never intended to start a jewellery brand, I was more interested in the craft of making adornment, after studying it at university (COFA)’ starts Elke Kramer, Creative Director at Studio Elke, an object design studio that works across jewellery, furniture, interior objects and interior design. ‘It was only when I had made a collection of pendants for a friend’s fashion show for Sydney Fashion Week 2007, that buyers saw the pieces and wanted to place orders. After that, the brand formed very organically and I had to learn on my feet — as demand grew — in order to find manufacturers, deliver orders and develop systems that supported its growth.’

One of those systems was a developing a website within which orders could be made, and new collections shown. In 2010, the first website was built, using WordPress. ‘It had kooky Flash-animated chains cascading and a creepy circus soundtrack!’ laughs Elke, ‘It had no eCommerce component, it was not responsive at all and quickly became redundant’. After numerous tweaks, the team built a new site in 2015, enabling a stronger content management system that enabled easy amends and that could best utilise the wealth of strong visual content the brand had amassed from its catalogues and PR needs. This year, team Elke, which includes Managing Director, Kate Hurst, are set to launch a new site that will do even more to meet the needs of eCommerce customers. ‘We are in the process of launching a new, completely custom built site, as we’re needing to adapt to changes in technology and the way customers interact with online shopping’ says Elke. ‘We’re also expanding our online offering and focusing on vertical sales, so it’s the right time to invest deeper in our online presence.’

Although Elke admits than when she started out back in 2007, her understanding of online retail was ‘literally ZERO’ she has been able to sustain a business, predominantly online, for more than a decade. This, she says, is down to analytics.

‘To be honest, setting up and running an online store is not rocket science. What is more challenging is being able to generate reports and analyse numbers, in order to maximise sales and get the most out of the store’.

Studio Elke’s Managing Director, Kate Hurst, agrees, and has ensured the online store is built on a CMS system which has a user-friendly reporting system. ‘I guess before I came on board in 2015, the team was so small that there just wasn’t the time available to spend reviewing numbers. I have it made it the core part of my management approach to make as many decisions as possible based on numbers, rather than gut feeling alone’ she says. This means setting clear sales and traffic targets, which are regularly measured. ‘Elke and I review the findings and present the results to our team at weekly meetings. This way everyone knows where things are at and, if it looks like we aren’t on track to hit our targets, we can make decisions to get us back on the right path’. 

Analytics for Studio Elke aren’t just about sales though. Internally, the team are also analysing where their time is being spent. ‘We have just implemented a project management time tracking software…It’s been such an eye opener for us all!’ says Kate. ‘As much as we would like to be spending the majority of time designing collections or creating compelling visuals, the reality is that about 70% of our time is spent on business admin. Now that we can see this clearly, we’re taking steps to streamline the admin process so we can all be doing more creative work’.

It’s this ability to adapt that has helped Elke and her team succeed in a competitive landscape. If giving advice to her younger self, Elke suggests, ‘Everything shifts, so be adaptable and reserve energy to keep evolving’. And while Kate admits that, ‘choosing to allocate time to review the analytics of the business on a regular basis is the best investment we have made’, she also stresses that when running a creative business, leaving room to experiment and test boundaries is equally as important. ‘While we do use analytics to inform our design process, we always counterbalance this by designing from a purely creative place too, and ensuring the products are also new, innovative and have a strong visual narrative.’ That visual narrative will soon take the form of a new ollaboration with Brintons Carpets, and a future Studio Elke flagship store !

Shop Studio Elke jewellery online or find your nearest stockist here.
Keep up with Studio Elke via their Instagram.

Kate Hurst, Elke Kramer and their fab team of ladies! Go girls! Photo – Jacqui Turk.

Elke first made jewellery for a friend’s fashion show in 2007, and it all grew from there. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

A cabinet of curiosities at Studio Elke. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

We are in the process of launching a new, completely custom built site, as we’re needing to adapt to changes in technology and the way customers interact with online shopping’ says Elke. Photo – Jacqui Turk.

TIPS FOR UTILISING ANALYTICS IN SMALL BUSINESS

1. Start with a single focus

You can’t analyse what you don’t know. If analytics aren’t a huge part of your business, set aside some time to review the absolute basics. Ask yourself, what’s the one stat I need to know in order to grow this business? For example, if you’re selling products online it may simply be conversion, i.e., what percentage of people are converting to a sale when they land on your site or on particular product detail pages? You can find this information through the basic insights included in most eCommerce platforms (like Shopify or WooCommerce) or via Google Analytics. You may then tweak your marketing messages or distribution channels (i..e social media, email, collaboration or event marketing) to look at what impact this has on overall conversion.

2. Educate yourself

As Nas says, ‘every great person educates themselves’. There has never been an easier time to understand analytics with YouTube hosting a wealth of free how-to guides. Google Analytics should be implemented on every website) runs a free academy where they teach you exactly how to use the program. Likewise, Google’s Digital Garage offers free online courses on various elements of analytics and digital marketing. Most shopping platforms will offer free insights and webinars for utilising these. For super quick insights into stats around your website’s performance, plug your site’s URL into HubSpot’s Website Grader or add these seven dashboards to your Google Analytics for a quick review on everything from top pages through to social media traffic and conversion.

3. Create new habits

Years ago I worked at Amazon and I formed a habit then of checking key stats first thing in the morning. I’d grab a coffee, open my laptop and spend between 8:30-8:40am every single morning checking the same analytics for my area (Kitchen & Home). It never took more than ten minutes (as I was looking at dashboards) and yet it gave me so much insight into what was a priority to focus on for myself and the people I managed. While you may not need to review analytics daily, creating a habit around the time that you do — whether it’s a weekly meeting with staff, a 30-minute cafe break where you review stats on your laptop, a Thursday evening check-in, wine in hand, or just ten minutes in the morning when you collect your coffee — makes it much more likely you’ll stick with it and, consequently, learn from the insights gained over time.

4. Share the love

If you’re lucky enough to have staff, ensure you’re sharing key stats, so they a) are upskilling by understanding the key levers for the business and b) are buying into the success of the company. When people feel responsible for an outcome, they’re more likely to put in the work to achieve it. You may choose to share analytics via an emailed report, by updating a communal whiteboard scorecard, via a weekly or daily stand-up meeting, or by enabling everyone in the office to have access to view your Google Analytics.

5. Avoid analysis paralysis

There is SO much data out there, you can easily fall into overwhelm or analysis paralysis looking at what it’s possible to find out. The thing is, just because you can, doesn’t always mean you should. By asking yourself what you most need to know, you can set up dashboards or processes that answer this and avoid any temptation to get bogged down in ineffective data. Don’t know which analytics to focus on? Look at getting a business coach or mentor, hiring a digital specialist consultant or teaming up with a fellow biz owner in your industry to review your requirements.

Fiona Killackey is a business consultant and the founder of My Daily Business Coach a consultancy that provides business coaching and consulting, brand + marketing workshops and creative ideation.

 

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First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net