The results of our first-ever product survey!

We asked and you answered! As a part of our new mission to serve you better, we sent out a product survey to help determine what we can build for you. These are the results, and how we are going to respond.

The results are in for our first ever product survey. First, let me assure you that this blog will not be used as merely a communication tool for Storefront Themes to connect with its customers. It will be used to provide value to you as a business owner. So why am I sharing this information with you? Because it may be an idea that you will want to implement for your own business.

I am relaunching Storefront Themes and I’m doing it as a side-gig. Don’t let that term fool you, I will be very much dedicated to this project for the foreseeable future. But, because it’s a true side-gig, I have to be really focused on making the best decisions possible about how to spend my time in the business. To that end, I wanted to get some feedback from my customers…what should we be building? How can we serve you better.

Last week I sent out a product survey. 31 of you took the time to fill it out and give us feedback. I’d like to share that feedback here and talk about what we will do next.

Which e-commerce plugins do you use?

70% of you use WooCommerce as your preferred eCommerce platform and 33.3% of you use WP eCommerce. I find this interesting, since WooCommerce owns about 99% of the marketshare. I say this because lists WooCommerce as having over 4 million active installations and WP eCommerce only 20,000. So this number is compelling to me, because while WP eCommerce is dwindling in it’s usage, 1 in 3 of my customers potentially still prefer it.

So what does this mean for Storefront Themes? It means that until my customers tell me otherwise, I will continue to develop themes and plugins for WP eCommerce. I will also develop for WooCommerce and for Easy Digital Downloads (the latter simply because that is what Storefront Themes is built on).

Do you prefer to use one robust WordPress theme that you customize for each project or have multiple themes to choose from for each project?

We are pretty evenly split here, with 45.2% of you wanting one theme that does it all and 54.8% desiring multiple themes to choose from. I have been pondering this and wondering what the best way forward here would be, and I think a good answer came in the form of one the responses later on. We left a field for you to communicate anything else we left out and one customer said the “answer is one great theme/framework with multiple child themes”. I have been thinking about that, and how best to utilize my time and this may indeed be the best way to go.

My initial leaning is this: there are many great “one-size fits all” themes out there and even if that’s what sells, these themes feel very “vanilla” out of the box and unless you’re a designer, your results with them can be pretty ugly. While I know I have some web developers and designers in my customer base, the customer I’d really like to serve best is the solo entrepreneur with a cool product that wants/needs to run their own online website to sell it. I feel it may best serve you to provide you with several strong designs that look great out of the box and that you only need to upload your logo and choose a color for your background or buttons.

To that end, child themes may be the way to go, at least as far as WooCommerce is concerned, simply because their “Storefront” theme (I wonder where they got that name?) is so popular and could be a great theme to develop child themes for. For WP eCommerce, there is no great parent theme available, so while I may continue to develop one-off themes in the short term, perhaps a good parent theme should be developed by us.

What additional services would be most helpful for you?

This question of course was heavily dependent on the choices I gave, and those choices were limited to what I could think of at the time. Having said that, the topics that gained the bulk of the votes were…

  1. Content Migration (moving from one eCommerce platform to another)
  2. I need custom work on my site
  3. Theme installation / demo site installation
  4. Better Hosting (recommended hosting)

So, it’s pretty clear that in addition to actual products, some of you want services as well, so I will definitely include options for that. I know working with eCommerce systems can be frustrating and even scary as it seems one wrong move and you can lose a ton of data. I’ve had to migrate very large shops and port them over to different systems. It’s not easy, but I’m confident in my ability and would love to give you a hand if that’s what will serve you best.

If we could provide tutorials for other things besides our products, what things are you most interested in?

This question I was particularly interested in because I have a lot of knowledge to share and really need some direction in terms of which areas to start with. 67% of you voted SEO or Search Engine Optimization as the thing you wanted to learn more about. In second place was Digital Advertising (Facebook ads, Instagram, Adwords, etc) at 40%. Tied for 3rd place were Social Media Strategy/Training, Developing for WordPress, and Specific WooCommerce Training. The response with the least votes was Hosting and DNS issues.

My big takeaway from this, is that in order to serve you better, I have to pour less into being a “WordPress Expert” and become much better at helping you with the actual business end of your online business. Don’t get me wrong, I will definitely have resources to take care of things like hosting, but I’ll probably just create some tutorials and resources for one really great web host that I would actually recommend and use myself, and use most of my time spent creating training to help you figure out the marketing puzzle.

Other stuff…

The rest of the questions were free-form to allow you to chime in with anything I may have forgotten. These responses were all unique so I will hold on to them and deal with them perhaps on an individual level in the next couple of months.

So what’s next?

Okay, to sum up, here is the direction for Storefront Themes for the next few months…

  • We will continue to create themes and plugins for WP eCommerce. We will also make some great stuff for WooCommerce, and to a lesser extent, Easy Digital Downloads.
  • We will develop custom designs for WP eCommerce and child themes of “Storefront” for our WooCommerce customers*. We will also look into developing a parent theme for WP eCommerce. (*One caveat to this is that I already have a couple of designs for WooCommerce that I plan on releasing that are not child themes, so the child themes will probably come after those.)
  • We will provide several service options to help you directly with your site, from installation to content migration and even (potentially) custom work.
  • We will recommend other great projects that I personally use for things like hosting and digital marketing.
  • We will focus a lot of our training on business-related things like marketing, rather than technical, developer-oriented things.

So what do you think? Are we headed in the right direction? Sound off in the comments below!