Improving Your ReStore Experience: Reflections on our Shopping Survey Results

Our ReStore is here for the community—to serve as a donation center, a discount home improvement store, and a powerful source of income to build houses with Habitat for Humanity of McLean County. We’re also here because of the community in and surrounding Bloomington-Normal, which is why we appreciate your feedback. In our recent Shopping Survey, we asked you 15 questions to better understand who is shopping at the ReStore and what your experience is as a customer. Based on 92 responses from all age groups, we summarized the results and addressed your concerns.

 

We were so pleased to learn that 100% of our shoppers (who took the survey) were at least somewhat familiar with our mission and almost 53% of you were very familiar with our mission. We hope the idea of paying it forward with your purchases is one of the reasons you continue to shop with us.

 

We realize knowledge of our mission might be skewed as many of the respondents were some our most faithful shoppers*, so we will continue to make sure our mission is well-known. When our ReStore ReNewal project is finished, we plan to have materials about how to get involved with Habitat—both as a volunteer or donor, but also as a potential future Habitat homeowner. We will continue building on our partner family wall, which we know many people like to stop and admire as they’re shopping.

*86% of our respondents were women, even though we have a more balanced demographic who comes through the store. The average survey respondent visits the ReStore at least 3 times per month, so many of you are our regulars.

 

We appreciated learning that 63% of respondents heard about the ReStore from someone they know. That’s great! Please continue to bring your friends and family on your ReStore shopping trips, share our social media posts, and keep showing your loved ones all your unique ReStore purchases.

While 84% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their shopping experience at the ReStore, we did take into consideration the many open-ended suggestions we received.

18% of people asked for extended hours. While we don’t have any plans to change our current business hours, we are considering having special after hours once or twice a month for those who find it difficult to get to the ReStore before 5pm.

 

45% of shoppers said they sometimes find what they want. The nature of a thrift store is ever-changing, one of a kind inventory, so it can definitely be hit or miss, but we feel when it’s a hit, it’s often a treasure. We were happy to hear that 49% of customers often or always find what they want at the ReStore. We hope to see this number increase when we introduce more homewares and better displays in our new expanded space. We know our decorations are limited at the moment, but to the 24% of you who hope to see more homewares, we won’t disappoint! For the 76% of you who are happy with our current selection of items or want more of the same, we plan on keeping all of our most popular items, but in sleeker aisles and greater quantities once the ReStore ReNewal is complete.

In terms of pricing, we pride ourselves on being a budget-friendly resource in town. Although we rely on our profits to support Habitat McLean County, it is very important for us to be affordable for families in need of quality items for their homes. 2/3 of our survey-takers were satisfied with our pricing, but we agree with some people’s notes that there is sometimes inconsistency in our pricing, particularly with our smaller items. We are working on creating a comprehensive pricing guide, which will serve as a baseline for our volunteers. We are also making some staffing changes so the volunteers who work so hard to clean, process, and price donated items have direct staff oversight and support. While prices must be still be taken as-marked, please do continue to give us feedback if you feel certain items—especially whole categories—are over, under, or inconsistently priced.

 

We also have recurring requests, both via the survey and through Facebook, for us to hold or deliver items, or take online payment. We do not have the capacity to fulfill these requests at the moment, but we do plan on explaining our policies more deeply in an upcoming FAQ blog post.

 

We’d also like to address the concerns people have about the current parking situation and store layout. These are temporary nuisances that will be corrected once our construction period is over. Part of the reason for our expansion project was to streamline the parking lot and donation experience. We are really looking forward to our Grand Re-Opening with all of you this June.

 

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to respond to our Shopping Survey. Even if you weren’t able to complete the whole survey, we are always open to your feedback so that we can make your ReStore experience the best it can be. And for those of you who are truly invested in the ReStore model and mission, consider volunteering behind the scenes. You’ll see how items pass through the ReStore into new homes and you’ll get a 10% discount every time you shop!