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mobile ecommerce prototyping for global retailer to improve the customer experience and drive more frequent sales and conversion

Accelerating ecommerce

When a global retailer wanted to boost dotcom sales frequency, we helped it better understand customer needs to improve the online shopping experience.

Site traffic is a valuable ecommerce metric, but if enough of those visits aren’t converting to sales, traffic is meaningless.

This was the challenge facing one of our global retail clients. Though the retailer had strong brick-and-mortar and ecommerce traffic, customers were only using its dotcom site for larger, more infrequent purchases, or when they needed to stock up on non-perishable supplies. As a result, its online purchase frequency was much lower than desired— jeopardizing its ability to compete with other major online retailers.

Thus, our challenge: Could we help the retailer improve the online shopping experience to entice people to buy more frequently and for different goods?

“How do you make this a very easy thing to do?”

The retailer, like many other companies, thought it had a good idea of what its customers wanted. However, its working concept—a subscription model used by other successful online retailers—failed when tested.

To successfully address its online purchase loyalty woes, it needed to listen to real customers, says Mark Lewis, a lead in Slalom’s Products and Innovation practice. The resulting conversations with customers helped the team understand what people found annoying or frustrating and identify customer needs and perceptions.

They discovered that customers wanted to spend less time searching for the best value. That knowledge, says Lewis, made it a question of “how do you make this a very easy thing to do?”

Customer conversations also helped the team vet the retailer’s working hypothesis on its ecommerce problems. Stakeholder working sessions surfaced assumptions about who the customer was and what the retailer could do for them. Though the retailer’s initial hypothesis proved incorrect, the exercise helped identify incorrect assumptions early and led to a number of ideas around different products that might meet user needs and cause them to make smaller, more frequent purchases.

This methodology allows clients to produce apps that are truly in tune with customer needs—not just whims and hypotheses—says Lewis.

Build, test, repeat

The team took a “lean” approach of building and testing multiple prototypes to design new shopping tools to meet customer problems.

Every prototype was tested, both in qualitative interviews and quantitative studies, on real customers. Their feedback helped determine which concept the retailer transformed from prototype to reality—in just six weeks, start to finish.

We ultimately helped develop five HTML prototypes, which included tools to make it easier for people to see price savings—a key aspect of the retailer’s brand, but one that consumers didn’t always believe.

ROI on innovation

The retailer acted on one of our prototype recommendations and launched an app into the marketplace. It has downloads numbering in the hundreds of thousands and 4.5 star reviews.

As a result, the retailer will “not only win more business from customers, but also save itself money and increase its ROI on innovation efforts,” says Lewis.