Web Usability of Aarong
In 1972, BRAC, largest NGO of the world was established. Then in 1976, BRAC dedicated to reduce poverty and empowering the underprivileged people. As a result it started a small initiative to promote sericulture among the women of Manikganj. In 1978 Aarong was born in need of helping the disadvantaged, poor silk farmers. They started their journey to change the lives of artisans and unprivileged rural women. Aarong enlighten them by encouraging their arts and crafts. They product design of Aarong symbolize the Bangladeshi culture. Aarong was established to help the marginalized people of Bangladesh. The reason is most of the people in Bangladesh live in the rural areas. They are the most disadvantageous and marginalized people and Aarong has developed a ground for these people. According to this organization, lack of working capital, marketing support and opportunity for skills development are the three main obstacles for gainful employment in the rural areas. As it is a social enterprise, it provides some services to the low income and marginalized people in the rural areas to overcome the three main obstacles.
At the beginning their target buyers were a few merchants of Dhaka. Soon enough, Aarong started to grow and spread throughout the whole country, from one single shop to the biggest retail chains of Bangladesh. They have variety of product line. It has all products under one roof. At present Aarong have 15 domestic outlets in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Moulvibazar, and Khulna and 1 franchise outlet in London. Since 1984 this organization is exporting their products in Italy, U.K., Spain, Canada, Japan and other countries. The target customers of Aarong are middle and higher socio-economic classes, expatriates, foreign visitors (tourists and business travelers) and Bangladeshis living abroad .They have established many outlets all over the country still they are planning to set up more outlets.
Aarong – Bengali for ‘Village Fair’ – is Bangladesh’s most popular lifestyle retail chain. This ethical brand began in 1978 as a humble means to empower rural artisans to rise above poverty.
Today, with 15 retail stores across Bangladesh and over 100 fashion and lifestyle product lines, Aarong supports 65,000 artisans with fair terms of trade. Revolutionizing the retail industry with high standards for quality and artistry, this iconic brand blends the traditional with the contemporary in ways that never cease to win consumer appeal both at home and abroad. In 1976, when BRAC– the world’s largest development organization – engaged a small number of rural women to produce crafts, their only buyers were a few scattered retailers in Dhaka. Weeks, even months would pass between supply and payment, until BRAC intervened and established Aarong to pay the rural women for their goods on time. Over the past four decades, Aarong has carved out a unique market segment for handicrafts, reviving Bangladesh’s rich heritage and impacting the lives of more than 325,000 people through 850 small entrepreneurs and the Ayesha Abed Foundation. The foundation acts as Aarong’s production hub, where artisans find employment and access to BRAC’s holistic support including, maternal health care, hygiene awareness and subsidized latrines, micro-credit, legal aid, day care and education for their children. From clay pots to diamond jewelers, and silk and cotton fabrics to brass and leather merchandise, Aarong’s vast range of innovative products, backed by a robust supply chain and distribution network, makes Aarong truly a household brand in Bangladesh. Its growing presence outside of Bangladesh – through fair-trade networks and the online shop– continues to broaden the market for Bangladeshi crafts globally, creating more opportunities for artisans to protect their age-old art and livelihoods.
Primary objective – I have been doing my internship from 28th June 2015 in Aarong. I was appointed in E-commerce department. So, here in the report my purpose is to discussing about the web usability of www.aarong.com. I will be discussing what the major problems in their website and how they can improve their websites to sustain in the long run.
Secondary Objective- Internship is on the mandatory program of Brac Business School which is BUS400 course. The main objective of this report is to completion of my internship. This report is the proof that I have finished my BUS400 course under my course advisor Jaber Al Mursalin. The brand Aarong will tag in my internship throughout my entire life.
BRAC started its journey in 1972 as a limited resource operation in a remote village of Bangladesh, then known as Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee. Sir Fazle Hasan Abed helped the returning refugees in 1971 Liberation War. When the first segment of relief was over, Sir Abed re-arranged the focus of BRAC to the empowerment of the poor and the landless, especially women and children in particular. BRAC was later renamed as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee in 1973 as their activities transformed to long term community development from relief and rehabilitation. In 1978, BRAC set Aarong, a handicraft marketing outlet to generate employment for the poor women in Manikganj. Other programs of BRAC include education, agriculture and food security, community empowerment, disaster, environment and climate change, gender justice and diversity, health, nutrition and population, human rights and legal aid services, integrated development, microfinance, road safety, migration, social enterprise, socially responsible investments, targeting extreme poverty, water, sanitation and hygiene and other support programs. BRAC renamed itself to Building Resources across Communities in 2000.
Aarong which means “village fair” is one of the eighteen social enterprises of BRAC and it’s a CSR based Handicraft Company established in 1978. Today, Aarong’s reach has spread beyond Manikganj to the rest of the country. Currently they are operating in 15 domestic outlets and one franchised outlet in London. Aarong has more than four hundred and eighty eight products in their outlets among them. They have grown into a thriving international enterprise showcasing ethnic wear to beautiful crafts from silks, handloom cotton, endi to terracotta, bamboo, jute and much more. From a single shop, Aarong has grown into one of Bangladesh’s biggest retail chains, with fifteen stores spread across the major metropolitan areas of the country – in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet and one in London, UK. Aarong embraces and nurtures a diverse representation of 65,000 artisans, 85% of whom are women. Aarong also plays the role of protector and promoter of traditional Bangladeshi products and designs. It houses an extensive design library where remnants of our rich craft heritage, such as Nakshikantha art and Jamdani patterns, have been widely researched and archived for present as well as future use. Aarong started out to bring positive change in the lives of rural women and then also included other craftsmen and master artisans who were involved in the creation of handicrafts for generations but were finding it difficult to survive in the newly formed country. Aarong works to “establish market linkages for rural artisans, revive crafts and interpret them for the contemporary market”.
Ayesha Abed foundation, Manikganj. In 1978, Aarong, started an initiative in Jamalpur through BRAC’s development program to organize, train and support, rural women through the art of Nakshi Kantha. Later, this initiative took institutional shape in the establishment of the Ayesha Abed Foundation (AAF). At present Aarong have 13 production centers and 653 sub-centers across the country. Today, over 65000 artisans working under AAF’. Over the last thirty years, the art of Nakshi Kantha has increasingly developed, with designers using the particular stitch in more modern uses and interpretations.
www.aarong.com: On 16th July 2014, Aarong’s website was launched nationally. In 2012 Aarong had a vision to launch an e-commerce site by 2013. The slogan of Aarong Ecommerce is ‘Shop Online’. Aarong is one of the first organizations in Bangladesh which brought Western website design to Eastern audiences by providing a high-class user experience. They placed their all product in their site. Their main motto is to reach internationally.
Aarong the leading fashion and craft retail of Bangladesh has been playing role in energizing the traditional Arts and crafts of Bangladesh. By using the goods and of the country Aarong offers a huge range of exciting products. With growth, the product lines of Aarong have also grown up. At present Aarong have more than 100 product lines. The products of Aarong are as follow:
Aarong helps the workers when they are hospitalized. They cuts twenty five taka from every employers and they save this money when their artisans are admitted to hospitals. They donate every fees of their medicine including their hospitals bills.
Aarong also provides services to the disadvantaged artisans and unprivileged rural women who work for Aarong. Aarong has formed with the goal to bring positive changes and help the rural marginalized people. For doing this they identified three major lacking areas. Those areas are: working capital, marketing support and opportunity for skill development. According to Aarong these three basic facts are causing obstacles for productive employment in rural areas. To overcome these lacking, Aarong provides some services for their workers and suppliers. Those services are as follows:
- To promote efficiency and productivity instant payment on product delivery.
- For artisans, doing marketing communications and making availability of information.
- To ensure reasonable value for efforts given by producers reaching out to them in remote areas.
- Product development through product design and support.
- To increase product quality and marketability provide training and education skills.
Brand image: Aarong has successfully created a brand in the customers mind. Their unique idea draws the “attention of the customers. People perception about Aarong is positive because they claim themselves a socially responsible. People don’t mind paying high price for the same product which is much lower price in other stores. Customers come to them because they obtain certain value from Aarang products. Sometimes, people don’t get the size of Panjabi, Kameez but still they prefer Aarong. It has establish itself as extensive design library where remnants of our rich craft heritage, such as Nakshikantha art and Jamdani patterns. It has created such a brand image that when we even think about presenting a souvenir to a foreign friend, many prefer to present Aarong products as they reflect the country’s unique contemporary fashion.
Unique idea: Aarong is creating an image that they are fair trade organization dedicated to bring about positive changes in the lives of disadvantaged artisans and underprivileged rural women. This idea of selling is unique which is creating an image in customer mind that by they are doing business which directly helps the extremely poor people. Their UK branch is making huge profit as foreign customer has high perceive value for their product.
Low production cost: Aarong is making huge profit as their cost of production is extremely low. There don’t have any factory cost, and the cost of making the product is cheap. They are able to meet huge demand of customer because they have large workforce. They have 65000 employees working under them who make the products.
Strong distribution channel: Distribution is all about getting your products or services to the right people at the right time with special consideration for profit and effectiveness. Successful marketing does not end when a business has developed a product or service and has found its appropriate target audience with a view to selling it at the ‘right price’.
The unethical marketing strategy: The market strategy they follow is not ethical but generate profit for the organization in short-run but it long run it may hamper the image that they have earned. They are claiming that their main purpose is build healthy and democratic world free from hunger, poverty, environmental degradation and all forms of exploitation based on age, sex and ethnicity. This message touched thousand customers’ emotion but in reality, they are actually not doing what they are claiming. Their employees are underpaid and products are overpriced. In near future it is possible that customer may lose confident in them if truth is exposed.
Wrong advertising strategy: The current commercials of Bangladesh wrap up the vulnerability, innocence, emotions regarding children and sell them back to the consumers, the promotion is a success. However, what the advertisement makers fail to notice is that they are exploiting the innocence in the most silent way, Aarong has the child artists, not only are draped in garish make up, but also are used to (knowingly or unknowingly) preach wrong ideologies and stereotypical conventions that affect the psychology of under aged consumer.. In the billboard advertisement children colored their lips and eyes with unnecessary make-up. This completely distorts the innocence of a child. Furthermore, the kids exposed to this ad might start being superficial too
The website is not up to the mark- They are revolting website which provides very less information about them. For UK customers they should have on-line buying option to be competitive in market.
They don’t have R & D department: It is market leader and generating huge profit but they don’t have R&D department which can come up with more innovative products and superior marketing strategy.
Inefficient H.R. department: The responsibility of H.R. department is to select right person to right place to increase efficiently. But customer are not satisfied with their customer service as they sales person are slow in doing transaction in computer.
Entering into different market- They can enter in United States, Australia, as they are having a good business in England now they can shift their target towards other countries, who are willing to accept the traditional artifacts and clothing of Bangladesh.
New trend- They can come up with some modern and classical types of designs, mixing up both together and people might love it, because it’s something unique. Threats
Competitors: Their major competitors are Deshi Dosh, Yellow, Jatra as they are also offering same products like Aarong. Though the prices are slightly lower than of Aarong so many people are shifting to these brands. Deshi Dosh, Yellow and Jatra have a huge shop space to display their products with professional associates in a very good environment.
Personal Recommendation- While working with Aarong I found some lacking in all the departments I worked. In the e-commerce department many times I found the product color is different compared with the photographs. After their photo shoot they should check whether the color is similar with the original product or not.
From the figure above we can the color of the sme product is different. One picture is more brighter than the other.
While doing the customer survey in the outlets I found some questions was very irrelevant like your monthly annual income. I found many customers were feeling shy to give the answers and many customers directly skip that question. The people in marketing department should make the question more carefully so that the customer does not get embarrassed while answering. Another question was about the marital status, the option were single, married, widow and divorced. I found no customer gave a tick mark on divorce or widowed. They can directly give only two options that are single and married. While printing out question they should check whether the question is arranged by numbering order. In Gulshan outlets after the question number 19, question number 22 came out then question number 20 even the customer was embarrassed when they observed this mistakes. So, I recommend them to arrange the questionnaire more carefully.
Arranging question in such a manner looks very unprofessional.
In the Social Compliance Department (SCPD) while doing the producers audit I also found there was many mismatch question in the software. The question in the survey paper does not match with the question in the Audit Software. Later, an employer from SCPD told me that the questions in the Audit software are the old version. So, I recommend them to update the Audit Software as soon as possible. It takes too much time to me to complete one audit in the software.
I would have done the Audit more quickly if the software was updated.
If I sum up all the lacking which I faced that should be recovered as soon as possible. It will reduce my time to complete the work properly. I can save more time for doing any new project. If they can solve this problem it will beneficial for Aarong as well, they can give more task and project to their employers since the time consumption doing the work will be reduced.
Web Usability: Web usability means the easiness of a website. Usability is a quality attribute that assesses how easy user interfaces are to use which also means making products and systems easier to use, and matching them more closely to user needs and requirements. The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process. Usability is defined by five quality components, the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. Usability is very important because it is a necessary condition for the survival of a web. The website should always be stable it should not difficult to use. The homepage should clearly states what the website offers otherwise the visitors will decrease from the website. Visitors may also leave if they find the information provided on the website is difficult to understand or if they don’t get any key answers from the website. As a result there should always improvements in the websites otherwise the company will lose money because for the extinction of visitors from the website. There are plenty of websites which has been abandoned for not maintaining their website properly. On the Internet web usability is most easiest way to survive. Now more than ever, a web site’s success is dependent upon how usable it is. The main reason why usability is vital online is because usability has a direct impact on the potential revenue your web site can produce. For example, if a user goes to a web site to buy a book, but they can’t figure out how to use the shopping cart, they won’t be able complete the purchase online. If a user can’t use your site they will leave it (most likely to go to a competitor) and never become online customers. A web site has to make it as easy as possible for a user to complete a desired task. Most people have the misconception that the success of a web site is in how many unique visitors their web site receives.
This is completely untrue. It doesn’t matter how many people visit a site; what matters is what they do. A true measure of online success reflects the achievement of the desired goals of the web site. The conversion rates (percentage of visitors who take a desired action) are the real proof that the web site is achieving its goals. For example, if the goal of a web site is to sell shoes and it receives 2,000 unique visitors, but only sells 1 pair (a 0.050% conversion rate), we can can’t honestly say that the web site is a success.
Making even the smallest usability enhancements (rewording vague labels, making things easy to find, getting the pages to load fast, adding security and privacy statements, etc.) will have a positive impact on the conversion rates. Usability is all about making the goals of your site
easily achievable. After all, there’s no point in having a web site if people can’t use it affectively. (Nngroup.com, ‘Usability 101: Introduction to Usability’. N.p., 2015. Web. 11 Aug. 2015).
Measuring tools: For doing the web testing and findings of the www.aarong.com the performance should be measured by which I can show how good or bad the website is. If I show any problems in the website I should proof that with valid findings. In order to proof my analysis I have found one websites which gives a very good analysis of any website. In the entire report for the web testing I used pingdom.com. This website helped to analyze the current problems in the website of www.aarong.com. In the next part you will be going to see how this website helped to do the analysis.
Aarong is a very renowned company but their web usability is below the standard. Here, I am going to show some problems with the website which reduced the easiness of the website if any visitor wants to shop online.
Every page of website should have unique title tag, preferably starting with a relevant keyword. The company should include their name in the title. It is important that the keywords are also found within the content of the page – that means the keywords used in the title tag should match the keywords found on your site. Meta description tags are extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs. These short paragraphs are a webmaster’s opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to let them know exactly whether the given page contains the information they’re looking for. Below that the Meta description appears which does not shows the clear explanation about what the website is all about. The description about the company is vague.
Search Engine Optimization:
If anyone searches for online sarees, silk sarees or any online product in the search engine the name Aarong never comes. If we go from page 1 to page 2 or 3 Aarong does not appears. This is simply occurs the website doest have any proper Meta description and Meta keywords.
In the website www.aarongcom there is no option to change the language from English to Bangla. There are many customers who prefers bangle over English.
Wrong Category Name:
There are two categories whose spelling is wrong. One is T-shirt and another one is the subcategory Koti under Wedding. In the website it is writer ‘Tee Shirt’ instead of T-shirt and ‘Coaty’ instead of Koti. Customers search in the browsers write t-shirts or koti not the spelling which are used in the website.
Check out Process:
Placing an order is too confusing and a very lengthy process. In Bangladesh the customers are not technologically advanced. Online shopping is new in this country. There are total 7 steps as discussed earlier to check out. It is a very hassle and embarrassing for the consumer to follow these steps.
As Aarong also target the foreign customer to buy online, they should have currency changing option. The shoppers in abroad find it difficult to change the Taka amount into Dollars.
The web usability of www.aarong.com needs to be improved. With poor web usability they cannot sustain in the long run. It is very essential for them to increase their ranking in the search engine optimization. If they want more visitor in their website and if they want their customer to back again and again they need to improve.
Their main banner ads should be removed. Though it’s a promotion of them but yet the customer get distracted by these banner add. When anyone log into the website a banner add comes out, they should not do this future anymore.
They should match the product color with their original product after their photo shoot. They should re shoot the photo of the product in order to match the color with the original photo.
They should have a proper Meta title of their website like- “Aarong- The largest Lifestyle Brand in Bangladesh- A Social Enterprise of Brac”.
They should also have a proper Meta description like-“Aarong, the handicraft online shop for men, women, kids clothing, products for home, décor, dining, furniture, wooden accents, Nakshi Kantha products, jewelry etc”.
They should also have a proper Meta keyword in order to get a better ranking in search engine optimization. They can use the keyword like- “Panjabi for men, kids, boys or shalwar kameez for girls, women etc”.
They should add Bangla language. There are many customers who prefer Bangla. They should add an option where the customer will have the opportunity toc change the English font into Bangla.
They should recheck their product category name. Some of the categories are wrongly posted like- Tee Shirt instead of T-Shirt and Coaty instead of koti. They should recheck the category name again and should change it immediately.
They should have a currency converter where the foreign customer can change the currency of Taka into Dollar or vise versa.
They should minimize the check out process. Too much step is really very harassing for the customers.
Finally, they should place a customer survey in the website where anyone can participate. By the survey they will get know what their customers actually wants. This survey will help them in future.
Web Usability is all about the easiness of any website. The website of Aarong has been analyzed. In some of the parts of the website of Aarong has competitive advantage where they have scope for improvement. Some recommendations have been suggested according to the problems we found. The company should have a review of the website for some months to check how it is performing. Analysing the website, we have figured out some of the major problems in the website. What is stopping the website to have a better rank in the Google is its poor Meta Description and Title along with many other problems. This report should help the website of Aarong to have a better view of what problems they have in their site. The recommendations will help them to make their site better. This report has given a platform to understand Web Usability in practical way and learn more about how a website should be designed according to customer’s preference. If they can rank themselves in a better position there is a very opportunity that they can be one of the top most website in Bangladesh.