Design Your Dream Setup - Case Study

Website Tool Helps Customers and Growth    

Zen Habitats began when Co-founders Randy Williams and his wife, Heidi, could not find the right enclosure for their first reptile, a bearded dragon they named Chi.

“We did some research and discovered our enclosure was causing Chi stress,” said Randy. “We wanted to give him a healthy and stimulating environment but none of the enclosures on the market provided everything we needed.”

The enclosures on the market were too small, did not retain heat, caused threatening handling due to a top opening lid (many reptiles have a parietal eye on the top of their head to spot predators), and reflecting glass that caused anxiety in Chi.

He said, “To calm Chi down we decided to build him his own enclosure that met all of his needs.”

Word of Mouth Leads to Zen Habitats

When word spread to other reptile owners, they began to contact Randy and Heidi to make them their own enclosures.

Randy said, “After years of trial and error and perfecting our products, today we are happy to be known for our healthy, functional, attractive, easy to assemble, and affordable reptile enclosures and accessories.”

Through foresight and planning, Zen Habitats has also become a rich resource for reptile enthusiasts across the county. “Our Facebook fan page connects reptile lovers with each other, our Instagram and TikTok accounts bring people into our unique and fun culture. Plus, we are continually adding new website content aimed at informing and engaging our customers,” he said. 

Posts and Customer Interactions Lead to Valuable Insight

Through the Zen Habitats robust social media program and from the company’s customer care representatives that they refer to as Gurus, the Zen Habitats team has received valuable feedback from customers and the reptile community alike.

“We saw that customers on our social media were asking each other about their setups, what worked best, how they looked in their homes, and more,” Randy explained. “Our Gurus were telling us the same thing, that it was difficult for customers to visualize their setups. The bottom line, they needed our help.”

Coming Up with a Solution

After thoughtful contemplation, Randy woke up early one morning with an idea that would help their customers and greatly impact the business. 

“The idea for a website tool, a product configurator eventually named Design Your Dream Setup,” he explained. “The goal was to help our customers build their enclosure setup, swapping out components, until they had the combination that would work best for their pets and home.”

The tool would also reinforce the flexibility of Zen Habitats enclosures and stacking capabilities with extension and spacer accessories.

He added, “Additionally, our customers would be able to add all the items in the setup to their cart at one time, making checkout easier and speedier. We knew this would increase multiproduct ordering, but we did not have a set sales goal in mind.”  

After a couple of unsuccessful tries outsourcing to developers, they found one experienced in Shopify to create the script for the configurator and its necessary functions for the Zen Habitats website.

“I worked closely with the developer that was creating the backend script for our website. I hired a graphic designer to ensure the over 300 renderings we needed were to scale so that they would show our customers exactly what the setup would look like in their homes,” Randy explained.

And the Results Are In

The main goals for Design Your Dream Setup were to help customers understand that there were many stacking capabilities for their enclosure and that they could easily add the components to their shopping cart once they decided on the configuration that worked best.

What they did not foresee was the degree to which it impacted their sales.

“We expected our customers to find the tool engaging and helpful but did not expect to have a return that was 30 times our initial investment,” he explained. “Our cost for the project was $20,000 and we expect Design Your Dream Setup to generate an additional $600,000 in annualized revenue.”

In the fourth quarter of 2020, multiple enclosure orders accounted for 5.4% of all orders, in Q1 2021 they jumped to 9.7% of all orders. This resulted in a total increase of 79.8% in multiple enclosure orders from one quarter to the next.

A couple of weeks after launch they moved the announcement for Design Dream Setup from the middle of the website homepage to the top. They immediately saw an increase in users clicking through and staying on the page.

Randy noted, “When we moved it to the top, it quickly became one of our most visited pages. Our customers are now spending an average of 3.24 minutes on the page, more than double most of our other pages.”

When thinking about how they could make Design Your Dream Setup even better, they added a shareable link feature to Design Your Dream Setup. 

He said, “This enables our expert Gurus to work with the customers, helping them build their setups and share the links with them. It also enables customers to simply save their setups to view later.”

Lessons Learned

Design Your Dream Setup has boosted Zen Habitats customer satisfaction and sales, but it has also provided valuable information for Randy and Heidi to carry with them as they continue to grow their business.

Randy said, “I’ve learned from our customers and this project that there are things we can keep in mind as we move forward.”

He offered up these tips:

Customers are not always right but listening to them matters.

“Regardless of the feedback being positive or negative, there are always nuggets of information in between that can help to improve and expand your business,” said Randy.

Outsource to professionals with the exact skill set you need.

“It costs less and saves time when you hire the right person at the start, the one that has the exact skills needed to get the job done,” he said.

Continue to look for ways to improve the user experience on your website.

“If there is even a small hurdle for your customers, do what you can to fix it,” ended Randy.