Running for Snipcart

We’ve been in the game for a full year. Our user base is steadily growing, and so are our sales. We've read suggestions in UserVoice. We received feedback here and there. Other than that, we didn't actually do something to collect feedback. After attending a Dan Martell conference on growth hacking a few weeks back, I decided it was time to do something about it., developed by Sean Ellis and KISSmetrics, was the tool suggested by most. So I went ahead and set up a survey for our active users. is a quick and simple customer development tool to use. Combine it with a basic, punchy Mailchimp newsletter and you can collect feedback in a matter of hours. It’s a minimal effort for a fair amount of valuable information from your actual users.

Results and thoughts

Product discovery

The majority of the respondents found our product using a search engine. Since the start of 2014, more than 20% of our traffic has been organic. People do find our product online. But we need to keep optimizing this number by improving our website’s architecture and core content.

The killer question

All respondents would be either somewhat disappointed or very disappointed if they couldn’t use our product anymore. We didn’t have enough responses to confirm Product-Market Fit. Still, it's encouraging to see our users value our product. And it also reinforced our belief that our solution is scalable and sustainable.

Product alternatives

The mentioned alternatives to our product include a wide range of e-commerce solutions. Simple pay buttons (Stripe, PayPal), WordPress plugins and fully hosted solutions like Shopify and Tictail were all cited. When we launched, we didn't consider fully hosted solutions as direct competitors. With time, it becomes clearer that their omnipresence is the signal of a strong indirect competition, even inside our targeted developer market.

Product benefits

Users identified three principal benefits to using our product: it’s fast, it’s easy and it’s light. For most, Snipcart was a quick e-commerce solution allowing to important implementation time savings. The ease of integration with existing websites was also paramount. There is no steep learning curve and no time spent mastering a new environment when working directly in the HTML Markup.

Recommendations and product definition

A strong majority of the respondents recommended our product to others. Here’s what they highlighted when describing our product:

  • Easy integration to existing websites
  • Easy setup and use
  • Light and customizable solution
  • Perfect for testing ideas
  • Affordable option for small to medium volumes of sales
  • Excellent customer service
  • Quick shopping cart for simple product sales

Suggested user profiles

When we asked our users to whom our product would benefit the most, they came up with three main audiences:

  • SMBs
  • Designers
  • Developers

Interesting fact: Nobody mentioned web and interactive agencies. As we're writing this, a few agencies are already using Snipcart for e-commerce projects. Matter of fact, we're on the verge of launching an official partnership program for agencies, developers and designers. We will be taking steps to ensure we communicate our positioning with the agencies clearly and positively.

Also: people tend to associate our solution with small or medium businesses and simple product sales. In general, there is no scaling associated with our solution. For instance, some mentioned that high-volume sales would not need our type of solution. We can understand how this might be people’s initial perception. However, we designed our solution to offer the most flexibility when it comes to development. A good developer could easily set up all kinds of on and offline tracking, or inventory management and synchronisation. Now it’s our job to make sure this is better understood by our actual and potential users.

We’ve also received a bunch of interesting feature recommendations. While most of them were already on our roadmap, we’ll be taking the time to analyze and rank the others.

Conclusion is a tool worth using. I’d recommend it to every startup trying to clarify where they stand among their users, and if their product is headed the right way. Even if you only get a few responses, the qualitative feedback that comes out of it is priceless. It’s a great way to better understand your users’ pains and start productive conversations with them. We’ll be exchanging emails with respondents who were willing to discuss various subjects further. This little experiment might just go a long way when it comes to optimizing our product.

Have you tried or other customer development tools? If so, please share you experiences in the comments, we’d love to hear them!

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