Does the Merchant of Magic UK Shop have problems?
Our magic shop wouldn't have been growing the way it has, without our almost obsessive interest in how we are serving our customers. After all, its whole purpose is to supply magic tricks and give support to the magic community. So every now and then we ask our customers how we have done and from that feedback we can learn how to make things better. Last week we asked magicians who had recently placed an order at The Merchant of Magic to give us feedback. 1000 responded which gave us a nice sample size. Here's the results and some lessons we learn't from it:
Magic Tricks and Customer Satisfaction
This is a hard one, as we have little control over which magic tricks magicians will order from the magic shop. One persons meat is anothers poison. Here's a graph of the results:
It's great to see that most magicians are happy with the magic tricks that they order. Although we are a 'whole of market' magic shop, so we stock everything without our own bias coming into play, we do try to highlight the best magic tricks on the site as much as possible.
What we could do better: The shop already has a team of magicians on hand to give opinions either by email or by phone. As we don't mainly manufacture, it doesn't matter to the team which magic tricks they recommend as far as profit is concerned. For them, it's more important that the magic tricks fit the person planning on using them, so they will always tell you if they think a trick or product sucks or if it's a favourite. It would be great to expand the customer reviews section on the site, perhaps add in staff recommended suggestions, and system that shows general feedback about items taken from social media sources.
The most important factor is aftercare here. We offer a returns program and with many items a 1 full year magic trick exchange period. Building in ways to recontact customers after a sale, so we can follow up if they have any problems is on the to do list for our developers.
The shopping experience
Firstly we asked magicians to give us feedback about the website:
Overall the results are good, but they do highlight some issues.
The layout is pretty basic and we don't change it much. It's always been about content over style. Most customers arrive on the magic shop site on specific product pages rather than the front page, so it's vital that the product pages are clear and give as much information as possible. It would be nice to change the design for the front page, but it currently seems to help people find something interesting as quickly as possible and that's the goal.
Magic Shop Search
Search really needs some work. It's quite hard to find a specific colour sponge ball for example. We are looking for a new search function for the site and that's going to be fixed as a top priority.
Magic Trick Demo Videos
The demo's are an issue for us. We used to host a lot on Youtube, but many magic demos have music that needs a licence to be used and often the magic creators don't get this permission. Youtube contacted us to say they were unhappy with the licencing for the music on a lot of the videos, so we switched to have the demos downloadable instead. That seems to work OK, but it's not ideal for customers using mobile to browse the site. It's a work in progress.
Pricing of our magic tricks seems OK. We don't want to be the cheapest bargin basement shop, as we want to have sufficient margin to allow the best customer service we can, and have room to advertise and grow the magic shop. We don't want to be the most expensive magic shop either. It's about finding a balance that allows us to employ magicians full time to answer the phones and emails, and at the same time give good value.
We received some feedback about how we show VAT on the site. It's a difficult issue as we sell to trade, and have a huge international customer base. At the moment we have a button on every page to allow visitors to choose it they want UK specific tax to be shown. We need to work on making this more customer specific, so once you log in, we know where you are based and can show prices to reflect that. It's an issue of your privacy that we strongly respect. At the moment we are working with our designers to see if we can default to your countires tax automatically, so expect some changes soon that will make this much simpler.
Customer contact seems on track. We don't want to spam our customers, but we do want to provide aftercare. Our phone lines get clogged up, but as we don't want to just hurry people into placing orders, we sometimes need to chat with them for a long time giving advice. It's not unusual for one of the team to be helping a magician through using a trick they have purchased and that has taken over an hour sometimes. Email is always a second option, but it would be great to be able to employ another magician for the phone lines. Once again it's a balancing act as we can only build in so much budget for this and still compete with guys selling magic at almost cost price from their bedrooms. It seems that most magicians are understanding about this if the phone lines have a long wait, and they are happy that we have not outsourced calls to international call centres. We need to find a way to get more people in contact faster.
Delivery of magic shop orders.
Next we asked magicians to give us feedback about the delivery process of the orders they place at the magic shop.
The main issues here are speed of delivery and our delivery methods. Speed of delivery needs to be better. As we have grown we ran out of space at the shop, so we warehouse a LOT of the range if they tend to be slower sellers. It was a hard choice for us, but we wanted to sell everything we can, just like an Amazon for magic. That means we need distribution centres in the UK, Europe, and the US. We keep most of the popular items in stock in the UK magic shop, but other items have a 1-2 day wait for the item to be picked at the warehouse and sent to the shop for packing. One option we are looking into is moving packing to within each warehouse, so that it removes the transfer time. That would mean having extra staff at each warehouse, so it's a balancing act between product price and logistical costs. The plan is to brainstrom ways we can streamline this to get items picked quicker.
Shipping methods are limited in the UK at the moment. We use Royal Mail. As we offer free shipping for orders over £50 it's difficult to switch to UPS or DHL and offer the same low rates or free shipping options. Looking at the data, most of the issues are on our international shipping speeds, so we will work on finding ways to improve international shipping whilst still keeping the price a low fixed rate.
Magic Shop Customer Care
Getting an order out to customers is one thing, but customer care is everything. Here's what our customers thought:
Happy with that. We do have a problem with not enough staff to cope with the customer contact, so phone wait times can be long. We don't want to pass on calls to a call centre to take orders, as it's important that the person on the phone to you is a working magician.
Recommended UK Magic Shop
Finally we asked the most important question. Would our customers recommend us to their friends and family. Here's what they said:
Yay! That was an excellent result to see and the whole team were over the moon. However, it doesn't mean we can rest. The magic shop feedback from magicians gave us a LOT to work on, so we will take all the suggestions and see how we can keep going on our mission to provide the best magic shop we can.
Thanks to all of you for taking part and leaving us with such great suggestions and feedback!
Have we missed something? Let us know how we can improve things at MoM in the comments section below:
Posted By Dominic Reyes