Friday, October 9, 2009

Frank Feedback Required - What Will Encourage You to Purchase?

"Analysing" Image Credit:

Well, it's been an amazing 24 hours - so much positive feedback, lots of tweeting, over 1800 unique visitors, more than 100 customer accounts created and 100s and 100s of beautiful shoes designed. However we want your frank feedback, even if it stings. We want to make Shoes of Prey awesome, and we can't do that without your help. What do you think we can do to encourage this interest to convert into sales?

We have a couple of theories on what might be holding some of these interested people back.

Theory 1 - Uncertainty
While the feedback on the designer has been very positive, it's a drawing rather than a real image of your shoe. You can design something that looks great on paper, but will it look great in real life? Perhaps customers aren't sure so this holds some of them back from ordering.

1.1 We're super confident that the shoes are amazing in real life so we're changing our returns policy to offer a 100% satisfaction no questions asked gaurantee that you'll love your shoes, or we'll give you your money back.

1.2 Over the coming 2 weeks we're going to be adding a lot more photographs to the gallery to try to show even more examples of what the finished shoes look like.

1.3 Our beta testers are very happy with their shoes and we've asked if they would write testimonials of their designing experience and how they've found their shoes. We'll be putting these up shortly.

Theory 2 - It takes time to decide
There's a huge amount of choice in the designer. We'll soon be adding pointy toes and flats, but even now there are literally millions of possible shoes that can be designed. The site has only been live for 24 hours and women want to play around in the designer for a while before deciding what they want. In our beta tests we found it took people at least a few days and sometimes over a week to decide on their shoes.

If theory 2 is an issue we'll probably lose quite a few customers who might never be able to decide. I've not thought this through enough yet, but we'll want to think of ways to give our customers the confidence that the shoes they've designed look great and that they will be thrilled with the result when they have their design created.

What do you think?


  1. 1.1 is all I need, that's what was holding me back. Nice work and GREAT story on the trademark resolution

  2. Thanks Jen. We're modifying the returns policy this morning and highlighting it on the front page of the site. :)

  3. First, I love love love this, and congratulations on the launch!!

    1) I want a way to browse all the different designs visually. I have noticed some designs are only available when others are selected (like the gladiators are only available with the platform heels). Right now I feel hesitant because I'm afraid I may have missed the design I would like most because I haven't played enough.

    2) I'm glad you are adding more gallery shots. But...could I have a gallery shot as close as possible to my designed shoe? I realize possibilities are much greater than photos, but showing an approximation after I save my design would be cool.

    These shoes come at a moderately high price (I understand they are hand-made), which is another reason for not buying a pair at this precise moment. But I'm starting a new job soon so I intend to splurge with my first pay check :) Seeing your beta-testers' reviews would definitely be beneficial on this front.

    Keep up the good work, I'm excited for more designs to come in!

  4. there has to an element of sharing, viewing and getting approvals from peers re Pt 2.

    For example can u see the design that other people have made? Or would this ruin the exclusivity of the shoe that someone has made? cause that's what I like about sneaker design competitions. there could be an option to share your design with the public and get comments/votes.

    i.e. have two sets of galleries 1) for designs that you guys have made, 2) public has designed.

    even simple things like sharing with facebook, twitter, etc... can be easily added to a website. there's going to be people that just want to muck around with the designer and don't intend to buy. but they might design a great looking shoe and if they share it or vistor might see it, it might prompt someone else to buy, or extend the design.

    re pt 1, that's a valid concern - the difference between the designer image and how it might turn out. i would post the designer image of every shoe in the gallery along with the actual pic (next to or underneath). I can see that you have a "open in the designer" option. but posting the designer image next to the actual shoe image would make the comparison easier - one less clickthrough. i'd also like to spin 360 around the image too =)


  5. Minor bitch about the website:
    While playing with the Designer I tried to right-click to open the FAQ in another tab and couldn't do so because of the way the html is coded. I might be alone on this one, I really like my browser tabs, but sites coded this way always annoy me so in the spirit of construct criticism I'm mentioning it.

    Rather than written testimonials maybe try visual testimonials - create a forum for customers to post photos of what their shoes look like *on their feet* after they receive them. How many girls would buy a dress on without trying it on just because it looked good on a hanger? I could foresee a disconnect between shoe-on-screen and shoe-on-foot making people uncertain, so get more pics of the shoes actually being worn onto the site.
    Kickstart the forum showing Jodie wearing some of her/your own creations?

    Comment from my better half:
    The drawing-board look of the shoes in the Designer doesn't give an accurate feel for how the shoes would look; eg. most of the colours look very dull compared to how the finished products look in the gallery.
    Other than build up a more extensive gallery over time as people create shoes (get a photo of every creation before it gets mailed out) I don't have suggestions on what you could do about this one, but am passing on the feedback.

  6. Thanks for the feedback.

    Sara - great thoughts.
    1. This is tricky because as you point out some parts of the shoe can only go with certain other parts of shoes. 2 options we're looking into to help customers with this:
    a) a short video which shows how the designer works and the possibilities.
    b) a static page which shows all the design possibilities so you can see them all in one place.

    2. Great feedback and we agree. Once we have more shoe photographs we're hoping to be able to show you 'photos of similar shoes'. It's going to be difficult to build, but ideally, as you're designing your shoe, we want to show you photos of shoes that have the different elements in your design. Design a shoe with a mary jane strap and we'll show you a photo of a different shoe with a mary jane strap. Design a shoe with red patent leather, we'll show you a photo of a different shoe with red patent leather. It's not perfect but it should give you a decent idea of what you'll get when combined with the drawing in the designer. Colin - hopefully this will also help out with your comment that some of the colours look a little dull in the designer drawings.

    3. Reviews will be up later today hopefully. :)

    Matt - great ideas too!
    We're thinking through at the moment how we can best do exactly this. We want to create a gallery of recent designs, or popular recent designs. And we definitely want to do a Facebook application and use Facebook Connect and the Twitter API so you can show off your designs to your friends and get feedback if you want it.

    Great point on showing the drawing next to the photo in the gallery too. Unfortunately spinning the shoes 360 degrees is a way off - we'd love to do it but it would involve totally rebuilding the designer.

    Colin - Thanks again for your feedback! Good point about not being able to right click those links. I've passed that on to Mike.

    Love the idea of the visual testimonials and more photos of shoes being worn on the site.

    Your better half has great ideas too! I'm heading to China next week for 5 weeks and Alice and I will be photographing all the shoes that we have made. We plan to do that for all the shoes we ever have made. Hopefully the gallery fills up soon!

  7. I know that for me, I'll design a few different ones, then pick the ones I like the most - but after a bit of time. I'm bad at impulse buying, so it's a good control to make sure I'll still love the design when they're finished :o)

  8. Are you familiar with the wishlist system at amazon?

    Also, with the designer. I think dropdowns like next to the heels might ease the navigation on toes/backs/decorations. or even a fraction (1/6, 2/6,3/6 option) approach...

    busy days guys! keep up the good work!

  9. referrals discounts..

  10. Thanks guys,

    Jen - It makes sense to shop on the site that way, thanks for confirming that's what you'll do. I think that will be the case for quite a few people as there's a lot to choose from.

    Aaron - Yes, the wishlist system on Amazon is good. We've got the base of a similar system - you can save your favourite designs to the 'My Designs' part of your account. Later we're planning to add functionality for you to easily share those designs across your social networks to get feedback, and share them with friends or your boyfriend etc. in case they might like to buy them for you for a bday or other event. ;)

    Dropdowns or a fraction in the designer is a good idea. I'll speak to Mike about whether that's easy to add. One downside is the additional clutter that would create, so we'll have to weigh that up to.

    Referral discounts is an interesting one. We want to avoid too much straight discounting as it can cheapen fashion brands. But there might be a way to do it an interesting and classy way. I'll give that some thought. I think though we can encourage referrals without discounting by adding more social features to the site.

  11. Hmmm how to get me to buy...

    Referral discounts would be great but not necessary.

    Sample image swatches showing what each leather/fabric *really* looks like so I'm not scared my pumps that look rose pink on the screen will be hot pink in person.

    +1 on the 360 degree view of the shoe (or even just front, back, L, R) so shoppers can get a better idea of the shoe they are creating.

    State up front that you'll design shoes for feet of any size. Those of use who have *ahem* size issues are used to things like this not being for us. Having to get halfway down the purchase process just to see sizing probably isn't the best. Maybe mention it in the FAQ?

    More along the lines of sizing. I know for sure that of all the shoes I own, none of them fit Just Right. If I'm to pay for custom shoes, I want them to fit perfectly. That being said, I'd like to at least have the option to put in real, done by a professional, foot measurements. That way, I can finally have a pair of shoes where the left shoe is slightly larger than the right shoe (a common problem, I hear).

  12. hey dudes and dudettes, i just remembered that when lisa bought some shoes the other day they came with these small insole things in case the sizing was a bit off or they rubbed. they werent those entire footbed ones, just small. apologies, but i dont usually listen that well when she tells me these things. do you know what i mean? could you use them?

  13. Thanks for the great suggestions guys.

    Referral discounts - we're thinking this through but we want to be careful as discounting can reduce the value of a brand. In addition to the possibility of discounts we're hoping to encourage referrals in other ways by allowing you to easily discuss your designs with your friends on your social networks. In an ideal world we'd do this in a way that adds even more value to you than a discount would - because it will be even easier for you to design your dream shoe with the input of your friends.

    Sample swatches - I'm meeting with our supplier to discuss a process for posting leather swatches to people. If you can see and touch the leather in person that will help you decide on the shade of pink you want! We also want to include some swatches of our best leathers when we send you a pair of shoes to help give you some more ideas on designs.

    360 degree view - we totally agree on doing something like this to improve the designer. We built this version knowing that if things went well we'd completely redo it in the not too distant future. Week 1 has been fantastic so Mike's already got his thinking cap on.

    Sizes - I'm meeting with our supplier in about an hour to discuss the full size range for all our different styles. Unfortunately we can't do every style in every size as it depends on exactly what shoe lasts are available for that style, but the size range is much larger than a normal shoe store carries. Once I have this info we'll work out a good way to publish it on the site - FAQs sounds like a good place.

    The perfect fit - this is very tricky and unfortunately it's something we can't achieve. Even with profressional measurements the only way to get a perfect fit is to do fittings and make adjustments as the shoe is being made. Our model doesn't allow for this. If the fit is not at all right we'll remake the shoe but we need to be careful that we don't overpromise on fit because while we'll do our best, it won't be perfect.

    Speaking of fit that's a great suggestion. We're including 3 different types of insole inserts for exactly the reason you describe. If the fit is just a little out you can experiment with these to improve it. They can also be used under the heel or ball of your foot to make the shoe more comfortable.

    Thanks again guys. :)