Allseasonbites is a small catering business operating out of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). They conduct all their day-to-day operations on a social media platform – Instagram. They have amassed a loyal customer base through their quality of products and exceptional customer service. However, when it comes to the initial customer interaction, there is a lot of room for improvement.
Currently, customers reach out to the business on Instagram via direct messages (DMs) to inquire about product information and to place an order. This process can take anywhere from half an hour to a few days, depending on the complexity of the order. This first impression lowers customer satisfaction and wastes business’ time. This is the time the business could spend on improving their craft and serving more customers.
Now that the business’ customer base has expanded, they are struggling to find time to fit the increase in requests, while maintaining their high level of customer service. This has led to the business owner struggling to keep up with orders and even turning away a lot of new customers. This will mean that she loses out on a lot of new customers and the business’ momentum.
User Pain Point & Feedback
Based on research with AllSeasonBites’ customers, the biggest attractor to their business is the variety and customization of their products (desserts). At the same time, there is a lack of information on product offerings. This leads to a significant amount of time spent on back-and-forth explanations between the two parties. All customers reported this issue as their main pain point regarding their experience with the business.
Through research, we learned that in order to create a positive ordering experience for both the customer and the business owner, we needed to come up with a solution which would reduce the time spent communicating back and forth about product information.
Landing on the solution
As a team we decided to focus on one problem statement to narrow our scope: How might we make it faster and easier for a customer to order from a small business so that they have a positive experience and are more likely to purchase from the business?
We identified our jobs to be done as the following:
Our vision for this product is to be able to support more than one Instagram-based local business and automate the ordering processes. Ultimately, our goal is to help these local businesses scale.
Minimum Viable Product
For the scope of this program, we decided to hone in on one pain point, which was time spent ordering. Therefore, we prioritized a simple ordering form for our MVP. The first iteration of our product centers around a customer being able to order 1 dozen mini cheesecake bites (the most popular product) using the powered by SoLocal order form.
The SoLocal product is a way for local business owners and customers on Instagram to reduce time spent ordering. Additionally, it’s a product that lets the same local business owners easily track order confirmations, thereby reducing interactions on Instagram DMs overall.
The designs for our MVP reflected the user feedback we received throughout the program. We decided to focus on only the key elements of an ordering form, which would be placed in the business owners’ Instagram page. The feedback from the business owner also helped us with the design process, going from the lo-fi designs to the hi-fi prototype of our product.
One of the main pain points we wanted to target immediately was allowing customers to view product information immediately. As soon as they were ready to order, they would get the full list of flavours and prices to erase the constant back and forth via Instagram DM’s. From there, we took customers through a simple order form, where they could select their flavours, quantity and method of delivery.
Usability Tests to Hi Fidelity
Our usability tests informed us that we should make information clearer in terms of displaying buttons above the fold or making sure users understood they could scroll on certain pages. We also condensed our flow by removing a page so customers could still see the product information early on, but they were not viewing duplicate information. We kept this flow focused on the ordering process.
Our plans for the future are offering two buttons on the landing page ‘Start/Begin Order’ and ‘Menu’. In the future, if customers haven’t viewed the menu on IG stories or if it isn’t available, they will have the option to view it before they even begin ordering.
High Fidelity Frames
As a Product Manager, I valued stakeholder interactions with the business owner to hone in on the problem space.
Through conversations with business owners and customers, I was able to uncover a lot of the pain points of all these businesses in a highly saturated market on this social media platform. This helped me learn how to manage stakeholder expectations, as we created a B2B product. Through these regular interactions with the stakeholder, I learned that business needs don’t directly translate with business desires. This allowed me and my team to prioritize the key features of our MVP deliverables.
As a Designer, I learned the importance of prioritizing features and efficient user flows when evolving existing designs.
Working in a time crunch to create a high fidelity prototype, get user feedback and provide handoffs to the developers, motivated me to stay focused on a standout pain point that both the business and customers were struggling with. I also valued and learned how far effective collaboration - in a short period of time - can take your product. Working with our PM was a great way to understand the vision for how our seemingly straightforward solution could scale to have a larger impact on numerous local businesses than just the one we were working with.
As a Developer on the team, I had a first time experience working with a product manager and designer to ensure we achieved our goals for the MVP.
I learnt that ideas and designs always change, and embracing the changes rather than thinking about the already completed work that is about to be deleted. I was able to gain useful experience working in a cross functional team setting and I feel more confident in my coding abilities. Prioritizing tasks always help in the long run, if you follow the plan you have set out.
As a Developer on the team, It was my first time working with a PM manager and Designer to really come together and come up with a product while also learning how to bounce ideas off of each other. I learned that prioritizing certain things made everything come together, as well as learning how to manage my time and figuring out how to break things into smaller portions rather than tackling it head on. My communication skills have greatly improved. This experience has given me more confidence in my ability to take an idea and make it come to life, regardless of any obstacles that come my way.
As a team, we learned that the importance of communication resides in being able to understand your teammate and their problems. We learned each other’s communication and learning styles, and worked together to foster better relationships. While we had setbacks early on regarding deadlines, we managed to develop a better communication plan that allowed us to meet our goals during Co.Lab4.