In this post, we’ll share the results of the survey, our plans to make some necessary improvements, and the reasons we decided not to make others.
At SparkFun, we see ourselves as more than just an online electronics retailer - we're a community of hobbyists, engineers, programmers, creatives, nerds, tinkerers, and teachers. Our culture grew from the concept that all ideas are created equal - and are better off shared. We are expected to be transparent and question the rules. Everyone has an equal right to voice their opinion and listen to the opinions of others.
In that vein, we reached out to some of you to learn about your experiences with us, and find out what we need to do to get better. In this post, we'll share the results of the survey and our plans (and progress so far) to make necessary improvements.
One of the most important takeaways from the survey is that you (our customers) are doing some really amazing things!
->"At Motoczysz we are always looking for new ways to solve problems in order to build the sickest roadracing motorcycles out there. SparkFun has a great selection and we don't need to be electrical engineers to have a polished solution fast." Nick Schoeps, Lead Motorsports Engineer <-
The survey also brought home that you are willing to give us honest feedback. We received a ton of new insights and actionable suggestions as we spent up to an hour with customers on the phone. Some ideas we had already considered, but as a result of the feedback, we pushed them up the pipeline.
Look for discounts via social media later this spring on these channels: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, Youtube and the newsletter.
We would like to thank our survey takers (and everyone that leaves feedback on the SparkFun website and forum) for sharing your opinions and ideas, and we hope our follow up will improve your experience with us.
->"I have the impression that it is an organization composed
of people who really enjoy what they are doing." <-
If you're interested in specifics, here is a brief summary of the survey results:
What does SparkFun Electronics do best?
What do you think is most in need of improvement here at SparkFun? (Note the similarity in responses to those above):
Our customers feel that the most relevant content includes the Friday New Product videos and the New Products section of the website (75% of respondents mentioned this).
Our customers most often found out about SparkFun from search engines (31%) and word-of-mouth (31%), followed by referrals from magazines, blogs, and other websites (21%).
The interests of SparkFun's customer base are incredibly varied, but hobbyist is the most common, followed by computer engineering, software engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, creative endeavors, and teaching.
Suggested Improvements from Survey Takers - Status of Follow Up
Phew, that was a lot! If you made it through all that - congrats! Please feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions you might have for us in the comments below - we are always looking for ways to improve. Thanks for reading!
Yea, I often forget to add a sticker to my order. Ya know, to add to everything i build to promote this awesome company.
Have project of the week? or some sort of puzzle? or even something where if users have a general but boggling question they can submit it and it can be posted within some time. Or give a list of parts/wishlist link and say only with these parts and hardware build a contraption that does blank. I think it would be cool and get people's creative juices flowing a little bit.
Even project ideas for varying skill levels would be very cool!
I like these ideas because it seems there are plenty of sites out there already where "innovative ideas" can be heard. Thanks!
I wanted to congratulate you guys on keeping up the awesome! Not only are your completely open business practices great knowledge, but we get to see a story developing over time. This isn't just a company making money, this is a company helping to make huge societal changes that are spreading like wildfire! I love a lot of the changes above, and some seem tedious and costly, do what you can.
Considering some of the other wild things Sparkfun has done, wouldn't it be fun to pickup failed projects from one source or another (customer service returns, beta tester failed builds, or public demo fails of some remarkable nature to save) and make a video of going through the steps diagnosing the fault. Make sure to include tips on what your looking for, and when found what it means.
After we know whats wrong with the device, go through the process of repairing it (or why a repair of that type of fault is impossible).
For that matter engineering device failures like running enough juice through LEDs or other components, ICs, etc al. to fail in ways that the average hobbist might encounter... And the 'mythbusters' version too where you really blow things up. Perhaps you have another budding VidStar like Pete that would be willing to post a monthly horror show.
This is a fun idea - sort of like a tear down - content may end up including anything from common mistakes to breakthrough discoveries. Will pass this along. Thanks.
I feel vindicated! My desk looks a lot like Nick Poole's.
Could you please include "post dates" on product pages and such. Every item page seems to include terms such as: newest, smallest,... which never gets changed once a newer / smaller... item comes out.
Regarding the video transcriptions, I would imagine you guys tried this, but YouTube was pretty good about getting close with its captions, then they can be edited later. I helped my wife with some demonstration videos she had made and it took us maybe 2-3 times the length of the video to fix up the captions. Sometimes it was spot-on and sometimes it was hilariously wrong, but it was still better than doing it all from scratch.
If that's still too much then you might be able to export the text from YouTube's first pass, then you could just drop that in the git repo that was discussed to give a good starting point for any helpful souls who want to improve the transcriptions.
PIC 16F886 + FTDI + ICSP Header Pickit 3 compatible + Arduino Style Headers
(there are many PIN compatible chips so you can put a IC socket and users can choose their processor)
You do this, you open a whole new world of solutions (What you sell) to the other side of the Microcontroller culture... I would buy shields...write code... you know the drill...
Talk to CCS , cut a deal - They have a wonderful EASY compiler... i actively write code and post it on the forum, as do many others... I have so many product ideas you could sell, that would help many.
PIC users -> we were here first, yet we are forgotten.
Where can i send a picture of a product i think you should develop and sell?
firstname.lastname@example.org – we read all emails and love the suggestions! Thanks!
Yep. We're listening even now...
Nice to know... Ive sent an email with pics hopefully it your filters won't kill it.
"You've got Mail!"
.... why i would make that reference its beyond me.
Congrats on a new building!
Please don't do away with the retired product information completely as it still is useful information.
Make it easier for locals to pickup at SFE. I have picked up from your place more than once and its never an easy experience.
Please don’t do away with the retired product information completely as it still is useful information.
We don't have any plans to do so. Keeping that stuff visible has always been a priority; we just need to make sure that people aren't getting lost on the way to finding items that are actually still for sale.
I've never had a problem of finding the replacement items for retired product, the big, bold link that says "This item is retired and has been superceded by this new item" was always pretty obvious.
The last order I placed with you guys was for $300 worth of cool stuff. I thought maybe you guys would have thrown in a large "RTFM" T-shirt or something for that one. That would have been cool.