Friday, July 8, 2011

Results from our first customer survey!

This post was originally published to Power Retail.

In mid June we sent an email to 2900 of our English speaking customers who had bought shoes from us before asking them to complete a customer survey. 610 (29%) completed the survey and given readers of this blog were so helpful in assisting us with putting the list of questions together, we thought we'd publish the results with our thoughts on what we found. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you'd interpret these results and questions we might want to ask in our next survey.

1. What is your date of birth? (Converted to age)
0 - 5 : 0.0%
5 - 10 : 0.0%
10 - 15 : 0.3%
15 - 20 : 2.6%
20 - 25 : 8.2%
25 - 30 : 24.0%
30 - 35 : 25.5%
35 - 40 : 11.5%
40 - 45 : 9.5%
45 - 50 : 6.6%
50 - 55 : 6.7%
55 - 60 : 3.1%
60 - 65 : 1.3%
65 - 70 : 0.7%
mean 34
median 32

50% of our customers are aged 25-35 with a further 35% aged 35-55. The 25-35 bracket tend to be very fashion conscious and have a high disposable income and it's great that half our customer base comes from this group. It's also good that we're not reliant on this group entirely and that a significant portion of our customers come from a slightly older age bracket who tend to be more discerning about what they're looking for. The spread of customers across these age brackets highlights we're a mass market rather than a niche business.

2. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
9.7%: Fewer than 10 pairs
49.9%: 10-30 pairs
24.8%: 30-50 pairs
12.6%: 50-100 pairs
3.0%: 100+ pairs

Half our customers own 10-30 pairs and 85% own less than 50 pairs. This indicates we're catering to the mass market in addition to shoe fanatics.

3. What is the average price you pay for shoes?
22.7%: Under $100
54.7%: $100-$200
19.2%: $200-$300
2.8%: $300-$500
0.7%: Over $500

75% of our customers normally spend less than $200 on a pair of shoes. Once again we're catering to the mass market here rather than a niche of only the most shoe loving women. Our average price is $280 so our customers are trading up when they purchase from Shoes of Prey. They see value in being able to design their own shoes and are willing to treat themselves and pay extra for this experience.

4. How often do you shop online?
7.6%: Shoes of Prey was my first online shopping experience
28.6%: I shop online a couple of times per year
16.4%: I shop online a couple of times per month
32.7%: I shop online most months
14.8%: I shop online most weeks

I find it very exciting that 7.6% of our customers are first time online shoppers! Given you have to design your own shoes on our website we're hardly the easiest place to have your first online shopping experience but it's great to see our concept is attractive enough to encourage people to try shopping online for the first time. One of our favourite customer service stories was Susie helping a 70 year old man create his first email address so he could buy a pair of shoes for his wife on our site!

5. Which industry best describes the one you work in:
2.0%: Manufacturing
1.0%: Transportation
3.1%: Full time parent
11.0%: Government
3.0%: Agriculture, Mining
10.8%: Retail, Wholesale
7.7%: Communications, Utilities
10.8%: Finance, Insurance, Real Estate
13.3%: Health Care
1.0%: Construction
7.9%: Student
4.6%: Internet
12.6%: Services
4.1%: Nonprofit
7.1%: Law

Once again these results highlight that our customers come from a broad selection of the population. No particular industry dominates our customer base and the results from this question also indicate that we appeal to a broad cross section of socio-economic groups.

6. Prior to purchasing from Shoes of Prey, did you know someone who had made a purchase from Shoes of Prey before?
11.3%: Yes
88.7%: No

7. Prior to purchasing from Shoes of Prey, had you seen a pair of Shoes of Prey shoes in person?
10.2%: Yes
89.8%: No

These two question indicate that seeing our shoes in person or knowing someone who has purchased from us isn't a complete barrier to purchase. The 'yes' responses to these questions should grow as our business continues to grow and more of our shoes are on women's feet around the world.

8. Prior to making your purchase, did you come to the Shoes of Prey website with a specific shoe design in mind, or were you inspired by the site and shoe designer to create something you hadn’t considered before?
56.5%: I designed something I hadn’t considered before.
43.5%: I came to the site with a specific design in mind.

A near 50/50 split is a great result for this question. Customers are inspired to come to our website to design something specific, however our site is also inspiring enough that some customers will come and order something they may not have considered purchasing before.

9. For what reason did you purchase your Shoes of Prey shoes? Tick all that apply:
15.0%: I wanted shoes for an event I’m attending
12.7%: I wanted shoes to match a particular outfit I own
10.5%: I received a Shoes of Prey gift certificate
12.7%: I wanted shoes for the office/work
8.3%: Shoes of Prey make shoes in widths I can’t easily purchase in a store
12.5%: Shoes of Prey make shoes in sizes I can’t easily purchase in a store
18.2%: I didn’t have a specific reason, I just wanted to design something unique for myself

Once again a very broad range of responses to this question. This highlights we're not just satisfying a particular niche in the market, women order from us for a broad range of reasons.

10. How satisfied were you with the experience of designing your shoes on the Shoes of Prey website? (Scale: 1 = not at all satisfied. 10 = extremely satisfied.)
1: 6
2: 2
3: 3
4: 1
5: 10
6: 20
7: 54
8: 122
9: 131
10: 260
promoters: 64.2%
passives: 28.9%
detractors: 6.9%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 57.3

11. How satisfied were you with the level of customer service you received from Shoes of Prey? (Scale: 1 = not at all satisfied. 10 = extremely satisfied.)
1: 2
2: 0
3: 1
4: 1
5: 6
6: 5
7: 16
8: 47
9: 87
10: 444
promoters: 87.2%
passives: 10.3%
detractors: 2.5%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 84.7

12. How satisfied were you with the packaging of your Shoes of Prey shoes? (Scale: 1 = not at all satisfied. 10 = extremely satisfied.)
1: 1
2: 2
3: 2
4: 1
5: 16
6: 7
7: 20
8: 48
9: 91
10: 421
promoters: 84.1%
passives: 11.2%
detractors: 4.8%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 79.3

13. How satisfied were you with the quality of your Shoes of Prey shoes? (Scale: 1 = not at all satisfied. 10 = extremely satisfied.)
1: 6
2: 5
3: 1
4: 7
5: 19
6: 17
7: 64
8: 93
9: 143
10: 254
promoters: 65.2%
passives: 25.8%
detractors: 9.0%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 56.2

14. How likely are you to recommend Shoes of Prey to a friend or colleague? (Scale: 1 = not at all likely. 10 = extremely likely.)
1: 9
2: 5
3: 5
4: 5
5: 17
6: 11
7: 29
8: 64
9: 95
10: 369
promoters: 76.2%
passives: 15.3%
detractors: 8.5%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 67.7

15. How likely are you to purchase from Shoes of Prey again? (Scale: 1 = not at all likely. 10 = extremely likely.)
1: 13
2: 8
3: 5
4: 15
5: 44
6: 33
7: 56
8: 86
9: 91
10: 258
promoters: 57.3%
passives: 23.3%
detractors: 19.4%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 37.9

======== TOTAL ============
promoters: 72.4%
passives: 19.1%
detractors: 8.5%
net promoter score (promoters - detractors) 63.8

Thanks to everyone who suggested we use the 'net promoter score' for these questions. For those who haven't worked with it before, you ask for responses on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest. People who give 9's and 10's are 'promoters', they've had a fantastic experience. 7's and 8's are passives, they've had a good experience, not particularly outstanding but not bad either. 1-6's are detractors, they've had a below average to bad experience. Your net promoter score is the % of promoters - the % of detractors. Wikipedia says that a net promoter score of 0 is good. On average you have as many promoters as detractors. A score above 50 is excellent, it means you have lots of promoters and not too many passives or detractors.

On this measure our results for these questions are outstanding. We had an average net promoter score of 63.8 across all these questions. Our highest score was for the customer service question with a net promoter score of 84.7 - an incredible result! Susie, Jonaye and the team in China are nailing customer service and our customers love it. Our vision for the business was to offer bespoke, tailored customer service to go with your bespoke, tailored custom shoes and we've executed on that to near perfection.

Next up was packaging with a net promoter score of 79.3. Qun, Holly, Jophie, Penny, Ken and James in China are doing a fantastic job with the packaging. Customers love the handwritten note (though we may still switch to doing a tailored, typed note instead), the photograph of their shoes and the inserts that help with sizing, all of which we've been doing since launch. Earlier this year we updated our shoe box, added a high quality shoe bag and now wrap our shoes in Shoes of Prey tissue paper, a ribbon and have added an outer carton to protect the entire package. We're finally happy with the packaging we're shipping our shoes in and clearly our customers are too. It's the only physical touch point we have with most of our customers so we view it as important to get this right.

Satisfaction with the experience of designing shoes on our site cam in next with a score of 57.3. This is an excellent result. Our customers clearly love our online shoe designer, as do our competitors. That said, this is an area we think we can improve on.

Satisfaction with the quality of our shoes came in next with a net promote score of 56.2, another great result. Clearly our shoe making and quality control processes are working well. That said, with the addition of Ken and James to the team, both of whom have shoe industry experience, this is a figure we plan to improve on.

How likely are you to recommend Shoes of Prey to a friend came in with a net promoter score of 67.7. This highlights that the overall experience is excellent and the concept is viral and one that our customers plan to tell their friends about. The figure in the earlier question that only 11.3% of our customers knew some one who had purchased from us prior to ordering their shoes will no doubt grow as our customer base grows.

The final question, how likely are you to purchase from Shoes of Prey again came in with the lowest net promote score of 37.9. This is still a great result but put in the context of the other questions it's quite a bit lower. Why would so many people love our service and be willing to recommend us to their friends but not be likely to purchase from us again? We suspect it's due to fit, a question we didn't ask about in the survey. Selling shoes online without customers trying them on is no easy feat and like any brand of shoes, our shoes aren't suitable for every shaped foot. We'll add a fit question to our next survey.

Still, given our return rates fit can't explain the entire reason the results for the question aren't as high as the others. Any other thoughts on what might explain this?

To encourage customers to complete the survey we offered free shipping within 2 weeks of sending the survey, 51 customers (9% of those who responded) have taken up the offer to order shoes. That's a great result considering free shipping is effectively only a 10% discount. This highlights that we should be doing a lot more to re-market to our existing customers.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you might interpret the results in a different way, and any other questions you think we should ask in future surveys.


  1. Hi Michael,

    I've been reading (and enjoying) your blog for long enough so thought I'd finally comment! Very interesting survey results - especially the Net Promoter Scores.

    Question 11 - there were only 15 detractors which is very impressive. You may well already have done this but after doing a similar survey ourselves we contacted anyone who had left negative feedback to find out what their issue was and to offer a resolution where possible. In many cases customers issues were very minor and easily sorted - from their experience with other retailers they had just assumed that if they'd informed us about the issue then they were unlikely to get a response.

    A simple example is a customer who received the wrong case for her camera six months earlier but had never told us which we swapped out for her.

    The fact that we pro-actively followed up and resolved these issues meant we received a lot of positive comments from these previous detractors. This is a long winded way of saying I think you should follow up with those 15 people!

    Finally, I think you could get some VERY valuable insight by simply asking the people who gave a 1-6 for question 15 (How likely are you to purchase from Shoes of Prey again?), why they gave that answer. Obviously you don't want to pester people who have spent the time completing a survey for you but I'm sure most would reply to a two line email asking what would encourage them to buy again.


  2. For the question, how likely are you to purchase from Shoes of Prey again, I think the time delay of designing your shoes to getting your shoes might be a large factor in that. xJeni

  3. It would be interesting to compare the question about shoe quality against the pricing question. Are the people who usually spend $300 on shoes less impressed by the quality than those that usually spend $200? This can also help see if people paying for the chance to do their own design or for a generally good quality product (this will probably be the case, but to what degree?).

  4. Jeni - good suggestion. We're working on getting that down and are averaging about 3 weeks at the moment down from 5 previously.

    Anonymous - good suggestion, will take a look at that.

  5. I'd be interested to compare the answers to q15 and q9 to find out for the people that are not likely to come back again - why did they purchase in the first place? Some of the answers such as buying for a specific outfit etc may point to a one-off purchase as opposed to repeat customer? Might even be worthwhile following up?
    I'm not sure I agree that fit is necessarily the issue - if the shoes weren't comfortable the recommendation rate in q14 probably wouldn't be so high.
    Perhaps price is also a factor? q3 indicates that people are paying higher here than they usually pay. Perhaps they consider it a one off luxury rather than a repeatable purchase? Might be interesting in the next survey to have a question that benchmarks levels of satisfaction with Shoes of Prey shoes compared to normal store bought shoes?
    thanks for sharing the survey results, interesting read! good numbers also, congrats!

  6. Hi Michael,
    Cudos to you for publishing your survey results to your readers, it's obvious they appreciate seeing the findings of a survey they contributed to. Just a suggestion for future surveys; as a market research consultant I feel the need to point out that the Net Promoter Score was designed as an advocacy / recommendation question (as in your Q14) rather than a satisfaction question, and to compare your Net Promoter Score to industry benchmarks you would need to use a scale of 0-10 rather than 1-10. The 1-10 scale itself is fine to use in survey questions, but technically you can't calculate a Net Promoter Score using that scale. Have a look at this link for more information:
    I hope I've been a help rather than a nuisance!

  7. Mei - great ideas around delving into the reasons some customers will recommend but don't plan to purchase again. Will factor that in for our next survey.

    Anonymous - thanks, I hadn't noticed we needed a 0 at the bottom end of the scale, will add that in next time, thanks.