Prior to launching MyNappies, Jason and I did market research by going to local parks, shopping centres and even daycares to talk to our potential customers and learn about their shopping habits.
Around five months after sending the site live we found our early momentum was dissipating. Anyone who has experienced this knows just how scary it can be. What was working a few months ago is no longer producing results.
After a chat with one of our advisors we came to the conclusion we needed to learn more about our customers before our growth slowed anymore. We knew we wanted to utilise a survey, but also knew that customers would not complete it just for goodwill… no one likes filling out surveys.
Below are the steps we took to create a survey that provided us with more market research than any IBIS World report ever could.
At MyNappies priority #1 was customer service. We therefore wanted to work this in to our survey campaign.
In exchange for answering 24 question survey, we would make customers VIM’s (Very Important Mum’s). This entitled them to six months free shipping and early access to new products. In their next order we would also slip in a handwritten thank you card for becoming a VIM.
None of these benefits stretched our business as we already offered Free Shipping for orders over $70 and our average order total was around $90. Hence, the majority of customers already received Free Shipping so it was built into our business model. What it did do was almost guarantee customer loyalty with those who became VIM’s as they felt some form of investment with our business.
Note: before we made these significant promises we checked we could sustainably cover the costs. Shipping cost was a large chunk of expenses for us, but as I mentioned we had it already built into the cost of running the business. You need to make sure you can follow through of any customer promises you make.
We used Google Forms to create and run the survey as its free, easy to setup and all the results get automatically curated into a spreadsheet.
The aim of this survey was to get a better understand of the habits of our customers – What do they like and what do they dislike? This information would allow us to better serve our current customers and would improve our marketing by helping us to improve our message.
We set no limit on the number of questions during our brainstorming session. We finished with 30 but narrowed this down to 24 after asking ourselves:
Once we had responses for this question, could we take any action to improve the shopping experience for our customer?
Repeating this process with all 30 questions enabled us to drop off 6 questions. We then went through each question to see if we could make it funny or unique in some way in order to make it more interesting for the mums. Here are the questions we used in our survey.
We sent the survey link out to a segment of our audience (around 750), of which 137 completed the survey in full. For a survey that consisted of 23 questions an 18% conversion rate is pretty good. It would be fair to the say the reward for responding to the survey (free shipping for 6 months) was what caused the high conversion rate, however by making the questions fun and interesting we minimised the number of drop offs.
Actions We Took
The easy part is creating the survey and offering a quality incentive to ensure your customers respond. The hard part is to take action based on the responses you received. For our survey we had 23 questions and 137 responders. This meant over 3100 points of data.
We worked our way through each column of responses and took note if we found a trend we did not already know or proved one of our current beliefs wrong. An example of this was in the responses to the question: What is your biggest concern in shopping online?
Prior to the survey our belief was that Pricing was the biggest concern for mothers shopping online for baby goods, followed closely by Shipping Cost. The survey threw this out the window with close to 65% of responders stating that Trust was their biggest concern. Pricing and Shipping Cost accounted for the remaining 35%. This came as a significant surprise to us! We acted on the information quickly to improve our customer experience, which directly grew our sales.
We added a more apparent Verisign security badge across our site, and also added payment option badges onto the cart and checkout pages.
Another question that proved very useful to us was: Apart from nappies, what else does your little one frequently require?
We included this question as we were looking to expand our product range and wanted to hear from mums what else they buy on a repeat basis. The responses to this question proved the basis of our research when we started our product expansion, providing us with invaluable insights into the mind of our customer.
Do not rush your surveys, plan them out carefully as you really only get a few chances.
Offer an amazing incentive for completing the survey. With this in mind, make it a sustainable incentive. We were able to offer free shipping for 6 months as we had it built into our business model from day one, you may not want to use this as your incentive. Another incentive could be to offer access to a new product/service before its go live on the site along with a 5-10% discount.
The better your incentive the more in depth you can take your survey. You can’t offer a crap incentive yet ask customers to answer a 20+ question survey.
Something I didn’t mention above was to analyse your survey as the results are coming in. Check to see if there is any questions that customers do not understand or maybe the question just sucks. Either reword it or remove and replace.
Once the survey responses are in take action based on the customers feedback.
Taking this one step further, for customers who provided really valuable feedback or awesome ideas we would email them back personally telling them how we were going to act on their feedback. This ended up being 60 people, all of whom now felt more invested in our brand and therefore became loyal customers.