CASE STUDY – 2021
Meal Kit Delivery Service
The challenge for this project was to realize FreshKit’s new on-demand offering in a manner that would set them apart in a crowded segment
Project carried out over 2 months as part of a UX Bootcamp with the IxDF
- The global meal kit delivery market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.8% from 2020 to 2027. This is forecast in large part due to an increasing preference for homemade meals among millennial’s whose busy lifestyles can make planning and cooking a challenge.
- In the US 59% of Millennials are keen on cooking more and 43% of Americans planned on cooking more at home (Peapod, Dec 2018)
- The US accounts for 30% global revenue 2019 and has recently seen a significant increase in amount of meal kit providers.
These insights are all pre-pandemic – in all likelihood the market will have jumped significantly in size.
With the increased interest in home cooking among Millennials in addition to the 25 to 29 years age group being the most populous in the US, this makes makes this is a healthy and growing customer segment in which to differentiate a new product offering.
Incoming Gen Z as potential future customers should also be taken into consideration – This generation has a different consumer mindset to Millennials and that should be factored in when planning longer term strategies.
The US meal-kit delivery market is a highly competitive one with many companies offering a similar product in a very similar format.
– Many meal-kit providers only allow you to properly see the product after you create an account – a lot of the time that includes entering your payment details. This ‘register/pay first see product after’ flow could be a major barrier to entry for a lot of people that a non-subscription alternative would help circumnavigate.
– Customer satisfaction also varies substantially across the board with customer retention a challenge, and so while this project is focused on FreshKit’s ‘on-demand’ service, their subscription service is still available, and so high levels of customer trust and satisfaction will be key to making gains in this segment.
Large e-commerce sites such as ASOS and The Beauty Bay provided some key insights on ease and speed of product ordering in addition category handling. Apps featuring category implementation like Spotify and Just Eat were also taken into consideration in terms of interaction inspiration.
DISCOVERING PAIN POINTS
With customer retention being integral to FreshKit’s sustainable growth, I gathered many consumer reviews of multiple meal-kit delivery companies and by flipping the positive ones to negative and vice versa, I established several needs & wants that if FreshKit were to meet could markedly increase their customer retention.
– Consistently fresh produce
– Transparency and trust in the service
– Excellence in customer support
– Diversity of offering
– More options for vegetarians/allergy sufferers
– More eco-friendly packaging solutions
– Reliable delivery service
This project was carried out in Ireland during the Coronavirus lockdown and so user interviews and usability testing were all done remotely. The meal-kit delivery market in Ireland is also comparatively small, however lockdown has seen the rise of on-demand meal-kit offerings by restaurants and grocery shops
In relation to home cooking/shopping:
– Many get stuck in a rut when it comes to cooking
– Food waste is a major pain point in particular throwing out vegetables that haven’t been used and have gone off
– Excessive amounts of packaging a frustration
In relation to meal-kits
– Would be very interested in meals that are a little bit different
– Appeal in not having to source hard to come by ingredients
– Meal-kits can instill a sense of occasion
These takeaways tie-in with US industry reports which state that people use meal-kits because:
– They save time on grocery shopping
– They compel amateurs to try more exotic dishes
– They make cooking a homemade meal much more efficient
– They are more economical than eating in a restaurant
– There is less food waste
With that in mind I used available resources to carry out a semi-hypothetical customer journey map that includes business goals and KPI’s in tandem with user actions/goals. Including both the business and user side of things in the journey map should help maintain a more aligned vision and a more effective customer experience.
MOODBOARDING & IDENTITY
This brief contained no business or branding info for FreshKit, and so in order to properly ideate I needed to give life to the brand I was working with.
Establishing FreshKit’s visual identity and voice would then help feed ideation in terms of features, copy, layout and interaction
Sharon – 37, Brooklyn NYC, married, mum of 2, works in advertising.
Jason – 28, Portland OR, single, freelance game designer
And so I went through the process of creating multiple HMW’s from both the business and customer side of things and then ranked them in order of priority in relation to the scope/timeline of this project. I then generated ideas around each HMW, some being explicit features and others being more overarching concepts.
I then developed a user task prioritization matrix that also integrated business priorities and wireframed the different pages including elements in order of pertinence to the priority task at hand. In addition to the must-have site features, I chose to integrate two standalone features that addressed higher priority HMW’s:
The Shop Assistant: A wizard to help hurried shoppers pick and plan the meals they need.
The Pantry: a section where people can pick up FreshKit branded basic ingredients such as salt, olive oil etc as well as house wines, candles, napkins – basic things that people might
LOW-MED FIDELITY PROTOTYPES
This initial testing threw up some issues, mostly to do with confusion over product categories – The filtering/categorization on the main product listing page was overly complex and needed to be streamlined. The inclusion of a Heat & Eat section was also overly complicating things in this instance and so I removed.
HIGH FIDELITY PROTOTYPES
The Family-sized meal-kits category was confusing and was removed in favour of integrating portion size options to each meal-kit. This then made apparent the challenge of how best to convey portion info in relation to children, and multiple iterations were tested.
Initial ambiguity in terms of what exactly the product was, and so the prototype was tweaked between testing to find the minimum amount of info new visitors would need to understand the product.
Aside from some minor issues no other major usability issues came up but participants were keen to give feedback input on the placement of features and so feature order was tweaked along the way.
All of my usability testing subjects were very positive about the feature even though it’s not fully functional yet and requires iteration.
“Oh yeah this is really handy.. great for when you’re rushing..”
‘Oh this is great.. I like this a lot!’
The main goal of the Pantry is to increase customer spend by way of increased convenience and so it is integrated into the prototype in multiple ways, suggesting suitable items a customer could purchase on the product, check-out and order confirmation pages.
There is also scope for greatly increased brand visibility by way of FreshKit own-brand products such as oils, vinegars and wines
While this feature would be more of an investment, it could help increase customer spend, compound the convenience offering and increase brand visiblity by way of packaging.
The Pantry feature needs further work but also garnered very positive reactions amongst testing participants.
‘Oh yeah this is cool.. You could pick up condiments and things like paper napkins..’
‘Ha I always suckered into that ‘‘People also bought..’’ thing! That and ‘‘You might like..’’.. always gets me!’
– Featured video content showing cooking tips from FreshKit chefs
– Gamification of color-coded recipes – progress could be shown within the customers profile
– Testimonials and FAQ’s throughout the site in order to help instill trust
LEARNINGS & NEXT STEPS
It became apparent when testing that users will evaluate the product listing and copy even if you advise that a lot is filler content, and so the prototype inventory or product offering should be the same or similar to what will eventually be offered, otherwise your usability feedback could be influenced by negative opinions of the actual product offering.
Elements should always look like they have been signed off by ‘The Department of the Obvious’.
Lots of learnings that compounded the ‘test early – test often’ strategy!
– Scale the site for desktop
– Incorporate customer recipe ratings
– Flesh out messaging and site content in terms of marketing angles and engagement
– Develop the My Account sections and incorporate favourites, order history, and customer progress in terms of recipe difficulty