Last week we had a survey for both our Rabbit Blog (this one) and our Rabbit Toy Website (see it here).
We had over 300 respondents and a TON of great ideas! But before I give you some of the results of the survey and the winners of our Drawing and "The Best Idea", I would like to say a few things.
First of all, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! It always touches me that our customers and readers care enough to give us a helping hand when we ask for it. We where really lost as to what direction we should be taking and the survey gave us a much clearer vision.
As many of you know we are a small business and our main income for our family comes from our Rabbit Toy business. My husband and I have been doing this for 10 years now and still we are the main two running the business (we now have some part time help from a friend of ours). But really we have a very large board of directors, YOU GUYS! Whenever we need help, ideas, feedback, etc you have always been there to help us and I again want to say THANK YOU!
The other comment I would like to make is that if after reading the survey results below you don't see your suggestion, don't think we may not still act on it. The results that I am posting are results that came up over and over again.
However there where many many comments that where issues, ideas, etc that we will most certainly be acting on but we couldn't possilbly list everything here. Also there are a few ideas that frankly we don't want to let out of the bag before we are ready to launch them
And finally, there where many comments that we simply can not do anything about. Yes, we know International shipping is expensive, but if we offered free shipping than we wouldn't be able to make any money (i.e. feed our family). We do what we can when we can but we can not sacrifice our business either. There where a few more comments like this, where we simply do not have control over the circumstances so you may not see much change there but we will still keep it in mind and make a difference when we can.
So, without going on any longer, here are some of the results from our survey:
Question 1 – What ultimately convinced to purchase? or Why have you not yet purchased?
We found out that a lot of people purchased due to our having a sale, testimonials from other rabbit owners, pics of buns playing, and videos.
However those who have not purchased seemed to overwhelmingly those who are unemployed, underemployed, going to school, etc. Hopefully our many sales and promotions will help those people get the toys their bun deserves. This is also why we are happy to do the 5 toy giveaway each week!
Also we discovered that many people wanted extra information before they purchased that we are not currently providing such as the safety of sisal rope, what type of wood do we use, and not knowing which toy fits their buns personality best. These are obvious things we should have been doing all along but simply overlooked. We will be making a lot of changes there.
But one of the biggest things we learned is that many customers where looking for natural toys (uncolored) and said we did not carry them. The truth is we have been selling natural toys since day one. However on our current site we offer it as an option without any pictures of the natural toys so many people did not realize we have them. So going forward we will be highlighting our natural toys and actually giving them their own listings and categories!
Question 2 – What do you like/dislike about our current website?
This one was a little hard to take and frankly I became very frustrated while reading the comments. Most of the comments where about the Rabbit Toy site and it's not that the comments weren't helpful, they where. But you know how it is when you put hours and hours into something and then someone says "It sucks"? Well, I do. After I read the comments I went to the Rabbit Toy site and thought "Yeah, it kinda sucks" which was a little depressing
The biggest comment about the website was that it was easy enough to navigate but looked childish, out of date, old, tacky, etc. So really it comes down to the design. We will be keeping with the same platform and navigation but will be updating the look and feel. Actually I may post a few template designs either to here or Facebook to get your feedback on which is the best way to go.
Also we are going to include more pictures of the items and pics of the toys next to a real rabbit so you can see scale as well as pics and videos from customers of their bunny playing (you could help us out with this by posting pics and videos of your buns playing on our Facebook Page!)
Question 3 – Do you have any Rabbit Toy ideas?
This was, by far, my favorite response to read! I made so many marks and comments and we have been working in overdrive trying to figure out how we can bring your ideas to life!
Overwhelmingly we received requests for "The Ultimate Playground" with tunnels, houses, ramps, levels, hiding areas, digging areas, etc. In fact several customers wanted huge cat tree like toys with levels, tunnels, etc. This is most certainly a direction we are going to go and we are going to make different levels of sophistication. We are going to add some less expensive, simple options and some higher end, more complex options. In fact we just discovered a product being used in a different industry that rabbit owners would FLIP over and we are already working to get ahold of them.
Other recommendations we received where for more decor friendly furniture pieces (hideaways that match the room), more cardboard, willow, yucca, and the like. We will be moving forward with these ideas as well. And BELLS! We will have more and more toys with bells options while maintaining our selection of toys without bells for those who like their homes a bit quieter
Question 4 – What would you like to see on our Rabbit Blog?
We found that most people like articles about Health, Food, Bonding, and touching stories about rescues and rescue organizations. Readers LOVE the articles submitted by other house rabbit owners.
Which is a bit of a difficult issue for us. You see we are not receiving nearly as many reader submitted stories as we would like. In fact I would love to post a reader submitted story every day if I could! So we are going to up the ante a bit and put all of you on our payroll (so to speak). In the next week or so we are going to switch over to a paid article model. That means WE pay YOU for every article you submit and we publish! We KNOW you guys have great insight, great stories, terrific tips, etc. and now we are willing to pay for it. It will be a great way for you to make a bit of extra cash (which answers to question one indicated there was not a lot of access to) and gives us GREAT content. We will be launching the new model very very soon.
The other things people asked for was something that I already have up and ready to launch which is a forum. I had already put one together because I noticed a lot of people posting questions to Facebook. Even though many of their questions are answered, it doesn't help the next person since they can not scroll through and find the answer easily. Also there are some questions I just plain don't have an answer for (different people have different experiences) and I would like to open it up to the community to answer. Later this week we will start softly rolling the forum out and, again, I would love your feedback for making it better.
Question 5 – What is the biggest challenge you face as a rabbit owner?
There are really so many different answers to this it was hard to find any common ground. Several that come up many times where house training, designs for attractive indoor cages, and, the most common, bonding. We hope to spend more time on these subjects on both the blog and the forum. We are also starting to talk about Indoor housing designs that we could possibly offer on our site in the future.
One other that came up often was baseboard and cord chewing. This is another one we are going to spend some time to see if we can come up with a more universal solutions we can offer on the site. I think there is certainly something we can do to help in this area.
Question 6 – Any other suggestions?
At this point of the questionnaire many people where out of suggestions but we did receive a lot of praise about our toys and our business and this is always appreciated There where a few more toy suggestions and some thoughts about having a full line rabbit website which is a possibility but probably not in the immediate future.
One suggestion we received a lot of was to offer more treats on the site which we are moving forward with and will hopefully have a full selection by Christmas. Along with the treats many asked for mentally stimilating toys that the treats can be incorporated into. YES!! We plan to have at least two or three "treat dispensing/mentally stimulating" toys by Christmas.
Of course there where many more including a request to Donald Trump to give money to rabbit owners so they can buy more stuff . Not sure what we can do there……..
Now the part you have been waiting for! The four winners of our survey!
Since the survey only required you to offer an email address to be part of the survey, I don't have first and last names. However, I think that all the email addresses have the proper first and last name of each winner so we'll give this a try. If you are one of the winners you will be receiving an email at the end of the day today with your Gift Certificate Code good for items on our Rabbit Toy site:
$15 Gift Certificate - Lisa Konet
$25 Gift Certificate - MM Harnett
$50 Gift Certificate - Alisha Reid
And the winner of our Best Idea category is
Kelly Hardwick of the UK!!
Kelly had an idea that sounds off the wall and we may or may not do it. However her suggestion got me thinking in a direction that I had not really thought of before!
Kelly's suggestion was to offer an "All Pink" activity zone because she loves to spoil her girl bunny with pink and girly things. We may do that.
However it really got me thinking about the colors we use and how we use them. While many people do like the bright playful colors, and others like the natural wood look of the toys, we have not done much in the world of modern decor, fashion, hot colors, neutrals, etc.
When you go to the dog aisle at your local pet store anymore you see all sorts of variety when it comes to color and designs. Traditionally small pet toys have been brightly colored both because they are geared towards children in the mass market or because we think of our pets as our children and give them appropriately colored toys.
But the modern rabbit is no more a "child's pet" nor should it always be treated as a child. Modern house rabbits can be spoiled with accessories that match their human's taste as well as their own.
So the lesson for us is to start thinking outside the box and offer more options whether it be sophisticated, girly, goofy, neutral, natural, pastels or brights! Your rabbits toys, bedding, and play things should do more to reflect your tastes, not just ours.
Thank you Kelly for stating your opinion in just the right way that it opened my eyes to what other possibilties there are. Other comments skirted around the same idea but the way you worded yours is exactly how I needed to hear it to "get" it.
And Thank You again to everyone that helped us out in this survey! Per one customers response, soon we will be putting up a suggestion box so we can get more great ideas like this on an ongoing basis