Survey Results (2) : the One’s that Didn’t Make the Cut

When we conducted our survey for Starlit Citadel, there were a few comments that we found rather interesting, which we thought would make interesting discussions.  I’d like to post them here for your comments, especially if you see a comment or point that you’d definitely like to see us look into.

Community Involvement

We currently host gaming tables at VCon, Cos & Effect (the new Cosplay convention that’s replaced Anime Evolution) and GottaCon.  We are probably going to host a table at BottosCon as well and regularly donate games to both Can’t Stop the Serenity and the Diabetes for Gaming events.   We have also provided games to 1 Elementary School and 1 Camp at reduced prices to help promote gaming.

That being said, I’m not sure what else we could do to help promote gaming.  We don’t have a physical storefront to host regular gaming nights, nor do we have the human resources to regularly host one even if we did rent a place.  I am looking into developing a forums for the site to allow customers to interact and find one another, but outside of that, I’m tapped for suggestions.

German Imports

This is a tough one.  There’s 2 problems here – firstly, the last time we tried this, we found the cost of importing these games to be prohibitively high and the actual demand low.  Secondly, because I don’t speak German; it’s really hard to set-up and read the regular e-mail newsletters here.  However, I’m willing to give this another go if there is a high enough demand for this option.  Is there?

Product Comparison

A request was made to do side-by-side product comparisons (like what you’d see on most computer store sites).  We actually have the functionality on the site, currently turned off.  Turning it on would (a) clutter the website further and (b) slow-down page load time.  Is there interest for this functionality to be turned on?

 

Survey Results : Answering the Comments

As many of you know, we recently ran a survey and on the last page of the survey, we had a section that was an open comments section.  Many of the requests actually fell into the same subsets, so I thought I’d answer those as best as I could in this blog-post with the changes we’ve already undertaken / will undertake at Starlit Citadel or why not.  Don’t worry if your comments aren’t listed here or were positive, we saw them and will try to meet them if it’s feasible this blog post is to answer the majority comments as best we can :

Site Navigation & Design

Generally, comments on the site fell into the following categories:

  • Improve Search
  • More Product Information (release dates, recommended number of players & BGG ratings)
  • More varied Reward Points
  • More and better customer reviews

Changes:

  • A pair of new search modules that allows searches on information pages and autofills product information
  • Adding a new reward point option for creating tags

Forthcoming:

  • Adding a new ‘Expected release date’ page to the site
  • BGG ratings & rankings (might take a while, this requires coding!)
  • More product pictures.  This project is the next one slated after we finish building out shelves (about 2 weeks or so at current rate of progress)
  • Adding new promotional items for reward points and varied discounts. I’ll be field-testing some with regard to shipping to see if the code holds up.

Limitations

  • Well, sadly we can’t make customers review games, we can only incentivize them to do so.  It certainly seems we have been getting more reviews lately as we grow our customer base, so here’s hoping it continues to do so.
  • We also have an extremely large database of games currently, so updating any single information source (e.g. recommended number of players) takes a lot of time.  About 2-3 weeks of constant work.
  • Any work that requires coding is limited by the expense of working with our developers to create the custom code, so changes like that often occur in batches.

Local Pickups & A Storefront

There were a few areas that were requested with regard to local pickups:

  • easier scheduling
  • extended pickup hours
  • purchasing at the warehouse
  • a physical storefront / better location

Changes:

  • We set up the Google Appointment calendar so customers can schedule their own pick-ups.

Forthcoming:

  • We will undertake a trial run of some extended pick-up hours later this year during the Christmas season. Depending on the response, this might be extended to an on-going basis.

Limitations:

  • Cost.  The location we have is the best trade-off we could find between a convenient location (near the Cambie line & Skytrain) while keeping our costs low.  Sadly, we do have to give up a few things (like a proper entrance) for this trade-off.
  • Our current software is just too slow for order placement at the warehouse itself.  In addition, issues like cash handling and stock management come into play if we allowed this to happen on a regular basis; never-mind the fact that often we have orders that have to be packed before Canada Post / FedEx arrives.

Pricing & Shipping

Not surprisingly, the comments in this area boiled down to:

  • Lower Prices
  • Lower Shipping (or Free Shipping Thresholds)

Forthcoming:

  • In a few weeks, I’ll begin testing out the possibility of using Reward Points to discount shipping (or to reduce the Free Shipping Threshold).
  • We’ll be adding a regular sales special to the site as soon as we figure out how to automate some of the work of running the sales.

Limitations:

  • Capital investment.  Balancing how much of our profits go back into reinvesting and increasing our stock and how much to pay our on-going bills is a constant battle.  We currently have one of the largest selections of games in Canada, and are constantly increasing this selection.  We could lower our investment, and thus lower our prices but our selection would suffer.

Last Thoughts

We had a lot of fun reading all the comments, and while the survey could have been designed better (sorry about that !), we did glean a lot of valuable information.  We will probably be sharing extracts of that later on as well.

In addition, look out for a second post about individual comments that didn’t make the cut here, but that we found interesting.  We’d love to get your feedback on both the comments in this post and there as well.