survey

Array Redesign Survey Results

Earlier this year we ran a brief survey to collect feedback from our customers to help guide the recent redesign. I was blown away with the detailed responses we received, which really helped shape the direction of the new site and the new products we have already begun working on. We ran the survey for one week and collected 200 responses.

What is most important to you when looking for a new WordPress theme?

q1

Design and code quality stole the show on the first question, which bodes well for us considering that’s our primary focus here at Array. Personally, I would have expected Theme Options to have more votes but I’m glad it didn’t. Decisions, not options, folks.

One other surprising note on this one is the lack of votes for Support. This could be read a few different ways. It could be that those who took the survey have experienced our themes and know they don’t require a ton of support. It could also be that the survey participants were more advanced WordPress users and require less support. Or people just don’t want/need support! I wish I would have asked what their skill level was, which may have given us a little more insight into this.

Would you be interested in a hosted option, where we host and maintain your WordPress install and theme?

q2

After seeing some theme shops offer a hosted solution for their themes, where customers could sign up and have their install of WordPress and a theme installed and managed by the theme shop, I was curious if our customers had any interest in this. They overwhelmingly were not interested in this and I was a bit relieved. Although a hosted solution can add to your bottom line if done right, it can also add a lot of technical difficulties and I wasn’t really interested in muddying up the Array ecosystem.

Would an admin area demo of each theme increase your likelihood of purchasing a theme?

q3

Another curiosity we had was whether or not an admin demo would increase the chances of a customer purchasing one of our themes. I wasn’t surprised to see that many people said yes, they might be more likely to buy after being able to see the admin area.

My initial thought on seeing this result was “Well, we better get an admin demo solution in place!” However, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. First of all, there are very few admin demo solutions out there that are doing it right. The ones that do exist still aren’t quite the quality that I would want for our customers.

Secondly, I think there’s a little bit of aftershock from the theme options bonanza era, where themes were packed to the gills with theme options panels and endless settings that you would want to see before buying. There are still plenty of themes like that, but we don’t make those kinds of themes. We make themes that are beautiful out of the box, and simply by adding your content you are building your site. Sure, we have theme options in the Customizer that help you customize the theme and set up key features, but we’ve eliminated much of the white noise. So, ultimately, there isn’t a ton to see in the admin, aside from the necessary options we’ve added to the Customizer. Instead of adding an admin demo solution, I think we’re just going to focus on showing those options via screenshots and gifs.

When do you prefer to renew your theme for ongoing support and theme updates?

q7

Nothing too groundbreaking here, but we thought we’d ask. Our intuition was correct that customers would rather pay for their subscriptions on a yearly basis, versus 6 months or monthly. At one point, I was curious if some customers might be interested in having a subscription they could stop and start at their convenience, but this would be more trouble than it’s worth.

What do you think is a fair price for a single WordPress theme these days?

q4

Along with adding fresh pixels to the new site, we wanted to take the opportunity to make sure our pricing was still matching the expectations of the folks buying our products. We started by asking what a fair price was for a single theme. As you can see, $49 was the clear winner here, followed by $69.

Before the redesign, our prices were variable depending on the theme. Some themes were $49, some themes were $69, one theme was $89. This was probably maddening to someone browsing the themes. Because we had such a clear winner at $49, this was the obvious choice to set as our base theme price. This price also makes for a good upgrade opportunity to the Theme Club, which we’ll see next.

What do you think is a fair price for a WordPress club membership?

q6

The Theme Club pricing question was a little more competitive with the answers. Although $89 was the winner, you can see $199 was second place, and $149 coming in third. (Sorry the numbers look a little confusing along the bottom, Google generated these charts.) Interesting that $199 was second, showing that it isn’t always about the price.

Seeing that there were opportunities along the price scale, we decided to set the Theme Club price to $89, and introduce a Lifetime Theme Club for the big spenders. We’re excited to see this is working out very well so far.

How do you prefer to pay for your WordPress themes?

q5

Although PayPal is probably the quickest way for customers to complete a checkout, I personally would love to ditch it. There are horror stories where they freeze your money, it’s got a clunky admin (even after their redesign), an API that leaves much to be desired, and the list goes on. But it is friendly to international buyers and many people already have a PayPal account, so it can’t be discounted right away.

When we asked our customers, 62% said they preferred to use PayPal and 38% said they preferred credit card. I expected the PayPal number to be higher, so that’s good news. When asked if there was no option to use PayPal, would the still complete their order, 84% said that yes, they would still complete their order. This is even better news! This tells me that we wouldn’t take a significant hit to conversions if we decided to only accept credit cards in the future. I’d love to hear anyone’s experience with making this transition.

Open-ended Questions

That’s all for the chart-y questions. We asked several other questions but customers were free to respond however they wanted, so that data had to be sifted through and parsed manually.

What other WordPress theme shops do you consider when looking for a new theme?

As you can imagine, there were all kinds of sources for WordPress themes, but the top five were Elmastudio, StudioPress, ThemeForest, WordPress.org, ThemeFoundry. I was very happy to see our customers are also shopping at Elmastudio, who has some really beautiful themes.

Another interesting thing to note is that even though ThemeForest dominates as far as the number of themes available, it seems our customers tend to prefer independent WordPress theme shops over marketplaces when searching for themes. This is obviously good news for us, but also just a good sign in general. It would be a bummer if everyone was just going straight to ThemeForest and having to dig through the piles and piles of WordPress themes for a decent theme.

Why might you choose another theme shop over Array?

A lot of great responses in this one, but one of the most common responses was simply design. If they find a design that better fits the project they’re working on, that’s the theme they’ll go with. We pride ourselves in focusing on quality design, but that doesn’t mean that good design inherently fits every project, and that’s fine by us!

A few other responses were price, variety of themes, and a few people said more customization and layout options would be nice. We can do that!

What can we do for you that might improve our theme collection and overall service we provide?

The biggest takeaway for this question was that customers want a wider variety of themes, more specifically WooCommerce and general business themes that could be used for a variety of use cases. Customers also wanted to see more themes in general, naturally. On the service side, there wasn’t much mentioned that could be improved.

Data-driven Decisions

The amount of decisions we were able to make with this one survey was pretty astonishing. We were able to tweak our prices to better match customer expectations, set the tone and direction for the new site, and create a roadmap for the WordPress themes we’ll be releasing next. We’re indebted to the fine folks who took the time to take our survey and provide us with such quality information and we look forward to reaching out to them again in the future.

We’d love to hear your take on some of the data we collected! Leave a comment below if you’d like me to elaborate on any of the questions we covered above.

Published by Mike McAlister

A high-powered mutant of some kind, never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die. I design all the things.

9 Comments

  1. Mike,

    This information is actually really inspiring to see and read about. Array really stands out from other WordPress Theme developers – because of one thing (in my mind any way): Customer Focus. It’s not about how many themes you make, or how many people buy them.

    The reality is that Array develops aesthetically pleasing themes that deliver results straight out of the box. And you can rest assured that your customers are loving it (hello, that’s me).

    I am curious, though. Was there any questions regarding theme releases? How often does Array plan on releasing themes? It would be great to get hyped and look forward to new themes once every so often (monthly, quarterly, etc).

    Keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Hey Mathew,

      Thanks for the kind words! I’m happy to hear that our ethos of making products that solve more problems than they create is resonating with you and our other customers. I think once people realize building a website doesn’t have to be so difficult and doesn’t have to take all of their time, they will start transitioning back to products like ours. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking. 😉

      Yep, there were definitely some questions about theme releases. Because we’re a small team and want to get things done right, meeting a monthly deadline can be tough, but we’re working towards that goal of being able to get a theme out each month. Having just done the site and released a new theme with the site, it will be several weeks before we release our next theme, which will be for WooCommerce. After that, I’m confident we can start hitting a more regular target.

  2. Love to see you guys collecting user data like this, and actually acting on the results. I don’t see many other theme shops (or businesses in general) doing this, so kudos!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Chris! They keep trying to say themes are dead, but I don’t subscribe to this idea. Themes are meant to be a solution to creating a website, and everyone still wants a website. We’re going to keep using proper design, intuition and data to try and make websites look and work better for everyone.

  3. Yes Mike this is indeed good data and even better implementation. I hope that you continue in this fashion and shape you business even more!

    Reply
  4. That 16% would not complete their purchase without PayPal is interesting. So is what you learned about how Support appears to be almost a non-factor when choosing a theme.

    I wonder about the single theme price question. If you give people the opportunity to ask for a lower price, wouldn’t they naturally do so? People don’t usually volunteer to pay a higher price but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it to them. I wonder what percentage would have answered Yes to, “Are you happy with the price you paid for our theme?”

    I’m glad to hear your Club pricing is going well (curious to know what percentage opt for the Club over a single theme purchase).

    PS. Congrats on the redesign. It looks really, really good. 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, Steven!

      Whenever you’re asking people openly what is a fair price, you’re definitely going to get those who aim lower. Because of this, we couldn’t adjust prices strictly based on survey responses, rather use it as a springboard for where to start our considerations. Ultimately, we think the folks who were surveyed were answering pretty honestly based on where the market is at for our style of themes.

      Your question could have netted some interesting responses, where were you in January?! 😉 We did receive comparable feedback from some users in our follow-up questions, but maybe we’ll ask that one the next time around!

  5. I’m surprised you chose to make single themes $49. It’s a low bargain price for the amazing quality that you provide! I remember you wrote that article slating $35 themes back in 2011. A $14 increase in 5 years might be great for consumers, but as a business, surely this can’t be a sustainable price increase? Have you changed your opinion abut low priced themes, or it simply that people don’t pay more for ‘clean & simple’ themes?

    It’s been consistently shown that higher prices attract better customers, so I wonder if you’re running the risk of attracting buyers who are driven by low prices, rather than the quality of the products you make?

    Reply

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