Pam Webber, formerly a marketer at PayPal and eBay, recently decided to make a life change and start her own business. She started weeDECOR, which offers fun, customizable, removable decals for children’s rooms. But Pam didn’t go into this business blindly. She used SurveyMonkey to research whether there was a market for her product, how the product would be used, and how she could improve the product. The insight she received from her surveys challenged her assumptions and directly helped to shape her website, her blog and the product itself.
Here’s our discussion with Pam, in which she clues us in to her business, how she used SurveyMonkey, and her favorite features:
SM: Tell us a little bit about weeDecor and the inspiration behind it.
Pam: I’ve worked in big companies as well as small companies, so when I started to think about starting my own business, I wanted to work on something that inspired me, but also used my analytical skills. I was looking for a business focused on consumers, that didn’t have inventory, that was fun and new.
I did quite a bit of research on opportunities, and really liked the nursery decor space. I also noticed that there was a growing trend in customizable, wall decals. I liked the idea of building a relationship with moms who were decorating their nurseries and potentially growing with them as their children got older.
SM: How did you first start researching the idea for nursery wall decals?
Pam: I started by focusing on my target customers: moms. I wanted to understand what would make the product and site interesting to them, what they wanted, what the current pain points were in decorating, and what solutions might be appealing.
SM: How did you use SurveyMonkey to help with your research?
Pam: I created several customer research surveys on SurveyMonkey to first understand what was important to moms in making decisions about nursery décor, and then to gauge specific reaction to products, selection, and pricing. I wanted to learn how moms shopped for décor, what challenges they faced, and what preferences they had for wall decorations in particular.
I was even able to test potential customers’ responses to specific products by including photos in my survey and asking whether or not they would be interested in purchasing the products featured in the photos.
After I launched my website in April of 2010, I created a survey for my beta customers to understand specifically what they liked about the website, what concerns they had, and if they thought I had enough product selection and if my prices were fair.
SM: What were the most interesting things you learned through your surveys?
Pam: I learned that there isn’t consistent recognition and familiarity with wall decals yet, so I knew I would have to have an education component to my website, my messaging and my marketing. That led me to build my blog.
I also learned that moms really liked the value proposition of removable wall decorations, specifically for use in kids’ bedrooms and playrooms. And that moms liked the ability to customize decals with their kids’ names.
Once I launched my site, I learned that customers wanted to see more product selections on my site, so that inspired me to work with my designers to add more products.
- weeDECOR Classic Tree and Bird Wall Decals
SM: What decisions for the business did you make based on your survey results?
Pam: I’ve made a lot of decisions for my business, and continue to do so, based on my survey results. Some of the most important decisions I’ve made include what specific products to offer, what price ranges to target, what information to focus on, and what additional products to add that would bring customers back.
SM: How have you used surveys now that your website is launched?
Pam: I’ve put together several surveys to continue to gather customer feedback now that my website is launched and I’m selling products every day. I have a post-purchase customer feedback survey that I send out. I also created a special survey to gather customer input for a sale I did with zulily.com. And I recently did a survey with a partner website, Parents Insights Network, that helped me reach out to a broader group of moms and potential customers.
(We love that Pam added her new logo into her post-purchase survey!)
SM: What’s your favorite SurveyMonkey feature?
Pam: I love the customized URLs. That’s made it much easier for me to distribute surveys and make them easy and fun for customers to respond.
(Here’s an example of Pam’s post-purchase survey with a custom URL: /s/weedecor-customer-example. We add “example” at the end so we won’t impact her survey results, so feel free to take a look at how Pam gathers feedback.)
SM: Thanks so much for sharing how you used SurveyMonkey to launch your new business! It’s good to know that moms have a fun new option to decorate their kids’ rooms (and that kids can sleep and play surrounded by stylish decor, whew!).