In February we posted our 2019 customer survey. A collection of questions to learn what you think about what we are doing and what you would like to see us do in the future. We presented 10 questions, some simple and some more engaged.
First up were 3 questions picking your brain on our brand representation. Which of our brands you primarily buy from and how often. We asked if you understand our mission with J&L Apothecary being gender neutral in presentation and concept. 75% of our responses demonstrated an understanding that our intent is to include everybody, regardless of how they see themselves or represent gender. For those other 25% who selected Unisex, you’re very close and generally get it. We wish to say that we see gender neutral go deeper and reflects a non-binary approach. We feel we project our mission by having a generic and simple packaging style and the use of bold primary colors that differentiate product categories.
Our 4th question wished to see if the men knew they could get their favorite J&L Pogonotrophics scents in other products. When we introduced this crossover between brands it was not clear that we offered these fragrances across many products in both brands. We wish to continue this crossover but we do not wish to overwhelm ourselves, and you, with too many options.
Q5 brought up a big monster for us. It referenced back to our 2018 survey where a large response indicated that some of you want to see our products on Amazon. We have constantly kicked this idea around. For us there is a huge negative that would affect our brand – a dramatic price increase would be required for many of our popular products. Such a price increase would change our “value” image we are working to establish. Many items would see a 17-25% price increase. Amazon as a strict policy that your own website must sell at the same price it is listed on Amazon. So their policy is to force a price increase through their fees and hidden costs that may deter established customers from shopping with us. We did not receive a single very positive response to this, and we did see a 20% very negative response. We will not be selling our products on Amazon anytime soon. We are among many small bootstrap businesses that are not willing to put up with Amazon’s policies that put too much pressure on small maker/sellers. There is only one workaround we see, and that is to offer unique products only through Amazon – different sizes or packaging.
We asked about what new branded products we could offer with Q6. Some of what we listed are things we are working on, some are things people have asked for and some are things we tossed in just to gauge your thoughts. Hair Styling products was the top response at 62.5%. We have been seeing into this but we have one huge drawback, how to keep these items as natural as the rest and still be a quality product. Many natural styling products literally don’t hold up, the best products are full of ingredients that are bad for the environment or just aren’t all that natural. We will still keep looking. One item that scored well we just introduced. A wash in Beard Conditioner was something we had been working on but with our Pop-Up, we were not able to devote time to developing such. Deodorant and Eye/Skin toning creams are under strong review and have been for some time. With the positive response they are more likely to become a part of the family.
Similar to Q6, Q7 asked what new 3rd party/accessory items you would like to see. The top responses were a tie between travel accessories and “swag” (shirts, key chains, hats, etc.). Early on we took a stance that we would not load up our store with branded swag. Despite it being free advertising for us, we felt it was just not something people would want and seem like an act of desperation for us. We did place one caveat with that statement, we would do it if money was raised for a charity. So, this may happen… The other top response needs more attention to sort it out. We do have a plan for more travel size versions of our most useful products and we hope to have this in place by the end of summer. But that would not be accessory type items. More discovery will need to be done to determine exactly what items would be beneficial.
Q8 asked about Primp & Jol and if there is interest in such a store. 62.5% of you said YES. This is still a concept and will require some major investment to make happen. And, we do want to make it happen. Our plan is to seek out a permanent production facility that we can open to the public. A place for us to make and present our products, allow you to shop everything we have, provide an order pick-up location and a place to test Primp & Jol.
Q9 related to the types of products we would seek to offer in such a store. The top response was “Lazy Day” – things to read, sip and create a retreat. Tied for second was “Dinner + Drinks” and “Spa Day”. Spa Day overlaps Lazy Day in many ways but leaves room for sharing some too, while Dinner + Drinks promotes intimate social situations. Our take-away from this is that many of you like the idea of small, simple moments whether alone or with others. This is at the heart of what Primp & Jol is about! As we go forward in our planning these will be the framework categories for us to work under.
Question 10 dealt with creating a “membership” program to provide perks to those who buy from us more often. Such perks as small discounts, free shipping on most orders and special promotions – much like Amazon Prime. 75% of you see a value in this. With this positive response we will dig deeper into seeing if we can make this happen. The infrastructure is there, we just need to craft it to our products and services. And, find the right price point for the membership fee that continues our value mission.
We really love the engagement and feedback. This survey will remain open for some time and we hope that more people tell us what they are thinking. If you have not taken the survey, we have a link below. Thank you, J&L