In February, 2010, 174 people inquired to one or more vendors on the Inventables Marketplace. Our lead developer, Jeff, pointed out that they were all ignored. In an effort for Inventables to critically evaluate the success of our site, Jeff created an "Inquiry Memorial" in honor of these buyers to express the severity of this issue.
As you can see by the pictures, having this in our conference room was impossible to ignore. So we brainstormed and concluded that there may be several reasons the vendors had not taken action on the inquiries. As a result, we built a new feature that allows vendors to send an anonymous reply to buyers who submit inquiries. This gives the vendors the option to answer general questions, determine whether or not there can be a potential relationship, or respond to the buyer and let them know why the product may not be the best fit for their project. (Read more about this feature here.)
Our goal was to increase our response rate to buyers to 25%. We blew this goal out of the water, hitting 70%. Ironically, at the same time buyers began getting responses from vendors, the "Inquiry Memorial" began falling down off the wall. This change signified a huge shift at Inventables and has greatly increased the communication between buyers and vendors on the marketplace.