Way for Product Managers to go about Grocery Product Page Research

Online Grocery has been part of my growth throughout my carrier
1 Own Grocery Delivery: 2010(Early Stage )
2.UK Grocery:2014 (Market Leader Stage )
3. Design & Manage: Bigbasket 2017–2019 (maturing stage )This article is my collective experience of research and designing product pages for groceries in depth.

It was 2017 and we were India’s top online supermarket with 27+ categories of products right from short shelf life fruits & vegetables to floor clears to kitchenwares everything a household needs, we had 25,000 SKUs & 10 million customers, top in revenue, top in number of delivery per day, higher Customer Value & ABV compared to other online brands in and average.

Preaface
3rd floor conference room was filled with quarrels and hasty looks we were there to discuss on the product page revamp. One group sad “no” and another sad “yes we should do it “.There are few critical pages in a online grocery, least critical among them is the product page or more fondly called “PD page”

Product Description is the least favourite page of all

To invest on PD Page revamp or not ?
“Most of PD pages don’t get money nor delight a user, why spend time on it i say ?”asked one. General notion of Indian E-commerce companies is that
tech can be as functional as a store it doesn’t have to be “Fancy” as it is seen as just enabler for sales, so frequent revamps, or change in UI for the sense “Aesthetics” is not a always an easy win. Few were arguing why “so much investment on the page” as it was estimated to consume
15 days of Product Manager effort, 1 month of Design, 2–3 months of Engineering Effort considering even for the initial version (as 20K + pages , 40 + unique template, 27 + Cagtogires). It involved too many cross dependencies from Marketing, BU Heads, Category Heads, Product Head, Tech head, IA…..

“No body cares about a PD, this is a online grocery for god sake, people don’t come here for seeing how beautiful a tomato is” one said.
Many from business team strongly believed there should be not a single dime of effort spent on full page which is there only on SEO purpose to get in the customers. “If i need to by a KG of Potato i go search for it and buy it in the go, this the majority of the pattern” sounds reasonable but analytics results din’t show the same way

“we had 5–8 % of shoppers coming to our PD page and leaving without any reason” said the analytics person.

Episode 1: Intervention of a the Data person

These data captured are serious and told us a lot fo stories

After the numbers person started to speak about real facts the room went silent, though now all of us were debating on what could be the reason the customer abandoning the page, the doubt on revamp was completely gone . Instead of jumping into conclusion we decided ourselves to find the right questions to ask.

Why do one customer want to go to a see the detailed description of household product ?
What is the information he is seeking ?
What order does he want to see the information ?
What is the action he/she intended to do next ?
How is it going to help our business?

We promised to reassemble after we find out the reason for above answers, as a product team we kind of got where this was heading here our research was to not just find out reasons for a user abandonment but also set the business objectives and users experience enhancements outcomes on what this revamp’s impact could cause in other words make a finite ROI.

Episode 2:Medium a Wrong place to do everlasting Research
Designer and researchers are always fascinated about Medium, Dribbble , Bechance, but not all the time you get answers for what you are searching for. 1Optimizing Product page will give 2x conversion
2. All PD pages need to provide as much information as possible to the user to build trust
3. Product Pages with HD images will convert more users
4. Make the Product Content work harder
5. Badge in PD pages is gonna work and Social Proofing is the best way to go about
6. Videos in PD page work better
i don’t think we have to reject all the article, you can have that for inspiration but you don’t get any concrete information to arrive at a decision within a period of time.

Episode 3: International online grocers would have cracked it
It’s true others international market would have cracked it, but they would have done it for their own regions, the way how shoppers buy gorcries there and here its completely different. Though what these websites helped us is with listing down elements what all can contribute to a PD page how are their users reacting to it is still unknown.

Episode 4: What the Offline Behaviour ? How do people Buy offline
We were building products for our customers, we have our customers data, we should know them better, we are living with our own customer why compare ourselves to a an international equivalent.Why don’t we can study our own” one of the researchers in our group asked . So our quest to find out what was PD page equivalent in real life begain.

If you look at a market like India it is a price sensitive consumers, large chunk has more brand loyalty in terms of grocery and what they eat.

Price, product ingredients, expiry date, brand info , weight , offer, variants, nutritions facts, feedback, reviews, Product freshnes

After doing research on real supermarkets by surveys & user interviews in, we found few key insights and user journey patterns

Basically unless you know the brand and its price it not a problem and you get ahead with it

Episode 5:Hypothysis of the problem pattern
Outcome of the hours of users research should be finite it should lead to problem statement hypothesis, so we put what our research findings were in simple words.
a)Problem comes with new customers not being aware of the products or brand he/she is going to buy
b) Old customers buying new brands or new category items is a problem of faith
C) He/She knows the brand and item but still need some of the information before buying if the pattern is not subconcious.

One makes a list and stroll across a supermarket and one subconsciously buy an item that “listing page” for you and if you one picked an item to investigates on it but picking up the item comparing with other items that’s “PD page”

all above problem may vary from category to category but it all nails down to so fewer issues.
1 Low Trust with brand /product / store
2 Lack of information before purchase decision is being made
3 Value of the product is not convincing when compared to the alternatives

So we started seeing PD page a page where users come and does “quick research” , for business a page where we should build trust as in offline scenario they buy products and see more info by picking up. If they are looking do research we thought to sketch out information what they should be looking for and sort them by priority and

Based on category we designed the information a customer would be looking for while he is investigating it

When we presented to the business , we told them that users would be satisfied with the information which is organised and presented to them neatly which is what is missing from the current one so this will help in removing cognitive dissonance (which appears in each time a user buys a new product / category)

Episode 6:What’s it for the business ?
As we presented some of the new elements that should be part of the revamp You are right customers will find this page very useful and beautiful, but what is it for business?” one asked, We knew this was coming our way as the cut-throat business leaders could never quantify just “increase of trust” by moving the ui layout here and there. As the role of a PM demands one has to package a solution that has win-win situation for business users and tech we had already included that slides as part of our business.
Along with the product page revamp we delivered them “frequently bought together” and “similar products” Feature to help cross sell and up-sell. Let’s say the goal of the page is just to convert “ add the cart” but what happens after that , we will guide the customers where to go form there what to buy

If customer is buying an Apple it doest not always mean you might want to organges but you might consider buying apple peeler if you dont have one
If customer are buying a variety of onion then similar SKU in parallel category might interest him/her

So what we proposed is a possible increase in trust which can result in following business results
1 Increase in Average Customer Value
2 Increase in Average Basket Value
3 Increase in new category sales

So the how does business success achive it ? by achieving product success metrics
1Decrease in PD page abandonments
2 Increase in “Add to Cart” Clicks
3 Increase in clicks on “ Frequently bought together” and “Similar Products”

Our research insights don’t matter unless it gets some tangible results to users and business
Insights > Wireframe > Visuals >Product Development > User Start using it to > Desired Prodcut & Business outcomes

Episode 7: Ideas and Iterate- Iterate- Iterate

Our goal was to build trust, we had crazy ideas like video on how we procure product how are they being made, farmers and manufacturing unit video, but that will require effort and time we though of starting with a quick infographics on we delivery items from farm to fork get in a buy in

Rating and Reviews for online grocery was much more complicated than it sounded you had limitation of time fora given period, seasons, various parameter within the product, delivery experience, cost , we put that for certain category only and shelving the others for future roadmap , though we strongly believed this is another trust building factor.

We used the information from research, kept the same structure, but played with visual hierarchy, layouts and here are couple of our iterations

This dint come out easy , we had to play around various information keeping in mind of the users, prodcut and data we had

The Difference between product and UX is you have to think on the whole including systems and other pages, not just a best experience for one page, we did arrive at a structure which will be balancing all the categories, sub-categories and its interactions.

Episode 8: Conclusion
Of-course there were a lot of compromises when many stakeholders were involved, we had to shed down on one design element for the sake of tech feasibility, as a product we dint meet the deadline, we had to include a new layer of keywords section for the marketing purpose, it dint come-out exactly the way we wanted to build, but delivering the kind of results closer to what a customer wold want balancing others is the role i intended to do that is one step towards customer happiness is what i believe. What as a team we realised is how our research helped us in streamlining the process not just to arrive at a information but also
1 Define Business Objectives
2 Define Product goals & Key metrics
3 Get a internal stakeholder buy in

Hope you enjoyed the article , do share it with E-commerce & Online Grocery PM & stakeholders

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