E-commerce Link: It's All About Experience
When presented with this problem, my team hypothesized that our client might be missing a higher-level perspective: Homeowners generally don’t think in terms of single bags of plant food, but rather in terms of creating and maintaining their entire outdoor space. By creating an experience model and showing how customers move through it, we were able to strategically identify marketing opportunities and a digital strategy that was better aligned with the end consumers’ thinking.
In looking at the high-level outdoor space experience model (shown in the mediaplayer at right) you’ll notice that we divided the process of creating and maintaining an outdoor space into three major steps or stages:
Each of these steps is then broken down into more detail. In the case of “Use”:
Each of these individual sub-steps can then be looked at even more carefully to fully understand the associated bright spots, pain points and gaps that come with each. In our example, further exploration of “maintain” uncovers such pain points as:
- Maintaining a full birdfeeder.
- Keeping the grass and garden appropriately watered.
- Dissuading bugs and critters from snacking on flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Dig Into the Details
It’s looking at this lowest level of detail that inspires ideas for online opportunities. Given these details, our team came up with a slew of innovative digital ideas for our prospective client including:
- Allowing subscription to an automatic birdseed replenishment program, where the customer’s credit card is debited and seed is delivered according to pre-determined intervals.
- Sending personalized e-mail and text alerts based on the customer’s weather and garden profile. “It’s 85 degrees and sunny today in Chicago. Remember to water your lawn after 5 p.m. to prevent burning.”
- Featuring the best-kept tips and tricks from the pros to help the weekend gardener maintain a beautiful backyard. “Using a spray bottle, spritz the leaves of young shrubs and trees with lightly soapy water. This will help keep bugs like gnats and aphids at bay.”
Paint the Picture
The beauty of an experience model is it allows you to simplify and organize a complex reality enough to be able to succinctly understand the big picture, while still allowing access to the details that are necessary for brainstorming and ideation.