Survey confirms: Russian and Finnish craftworkers strive to develop online sales
E-commerce, online sales, digitalization, international networking are the terms that artisans of Russia and Finland, if not yet actively using at the moment, then at least begin to incorporate into their business planning dictionary. In principle, even before the coronavirus pandemic, it was obvious that the future of sales was in digital technology, and no one could imagine the post-COVID era without new marketing approaches. These and many other patterns are clearly seen in a recent survey conducted by the Russian-Finnish team led by the Association "ECHO". The survey not only highlights the new status quo, but also provides the basis for cross-border business education for craftsmen.
What does a portrait of a craftsman look like?
The survey showed that craft business in the border region has a predominantly female face. Most of the participants of the survey consider the craft to be their job, but the differences begin here: despite the fact that the level of education among Russian artisans is higher than among their Finnish colleagues, the level of legalization of business has the opposite dynamics, and in significantly larger proportions: all Finnish craft entrepreneurs register own business, but among Russians only 37% do so. At the same time, Russian artisans “modestly” call their occupation “hobbies”.
What worries Russian and Finnish artisans?
Despite the differences in legislative regulation and the realities of doing business, on both sides of the border they equally see the key problems in the development of crafts - this is a lack of knowledge in the field of marketing and sales. Success factors have also been noted in the same way: the conformity of products to the needs of consumers, the difference from competitors' products, the ratio of "price-quality". At the same time, the Finns are ready to invest in the development of sales and marketing skills, and the Russians are ready to expand the assortment. International cooperation is not at the end of his list of priorities of a single artisan, which means that contacts across the border are still an attractive development tool.
Everyone will get what they want: either fishing rod or fish
The survey clearly demonstrated that Finnish and Russian artisans are looking for contacts with each other and they are united by a common cause and a common understanding of how craft business can become their personal success story and the success story of the entire border region. Today, the importance of manual labor is underestimated, and its economic potential is far from exhausted. The project “Northern Crafts ID”, funded by the Karelia CBC Program, was launched for the development of craft potential, and now when the project team has sociological data, we can move forward and offer concrete services to artisans. Someone will immediately want to buy "fish", that is, services in the field of marketing, visualization, e-commerce, while someone will prefer a "fishing rod" - knowledge, know-how, success stories.
Business skills for craftsmen
Having learned through research that craftworkers want to study marketing and sales channels, as well as the use of electronic online technologies for business development, the Northern Crafts ID project developed an educational program “Business Skills for Craftsmen”. The program will become the first of its kind multilateral training tool for craft entrepreneurship and an opportunity for interaction between artisans in Russia and Finland. In addition to online and offline sessions, the business course will offer a large amount of materials for self-study. Perhaps for many, participation in the course will be a chance to open their own craft business or increase its productivity and profitability. It is possible that new facets of manual labor will open up for someone, because by developing it people will preserve the identity of their family and their people, cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.
Read the Survey Report within the framework of the research "Entrepreneurship in the field of crafts in the Republic of Karelia, Northern Karelia and Oulu region: challenges and conditions for business development"