POST PURCHASE INNOVATION
PERSONALIZING AMAZON'S RETAIL EXPERIENCE FOR DEVICE OWNERS
Until this project, my focus at Amazon was exclusively in helping customers make better purchase decisions for themselves. In the spring of 2021, we asked ourselves, can we also help our customers with their devices post purchase? We learned from research that 25-55% (depending on product line) of our customers come back to Amazon within the first 90 days after purchasing a device to learn more about it.
The problem is, that when they come back, they see the exact same content as they did before they purchased the device, and that content doesn’t answer their questions. In fact, 43% of customers reported leaving Amazon, and going to search engines, blog sites, or other channels like YouTube to learn about their device. This was concerning. We definitely didn't want YouTube to be the spokesperson for our products.
What if we could give device owners the answers they're looking for right on Amazon?
But how do we interrupt Amazon's core value, from being a place where customers go to shop, to being a place where customers come to learn about the devices they bought, even a year or more after purchase?
We defined success as delivering a positive impact to units and engagement, with no negative impact to devices sales. It took us less than a year from idea to launch. I was the design lead, and along the way recruited stakeholders from several departments across the company (Alexa app, Devices-retail, Shopping Design) to bring this idea to life. Leading this project helped me strengthen my leadership skills, stand up for what really matters, and increased my motivation to lead large scope projects.
Securing funding with a vision
The first thing we needed is to get funding for this idea, and Rohit, our director, asked me to lead the vision to get funding from Dave Limp, VP of devices at Amazon. Through research I learned that the top 3 reasons customers come back to Amazon's product pages are - to learn what they can do with their device, to buy another device, and to see what other products are compatible with their device.
I used that research, and collected insights from the data science team and customer support team, and took a stab at reimagining how every element on the product page might change to answer the questions we know customers have after making a purchase.
With this vision we secured funding for an MLP (minimum loveable product). But then, I started noticing a problem. The minimum lovable product was not lovable. My leadership team, in their desire to show bias for action and get something out the door quickly, decided to go for profit first, leaving education for later. That approach went contrary to the Amazon leadership principles which I believed were essential to this project – Customer Obsession, and Earn Trust. I believed the way to our earn customers' trust was by educating them about how to get the most out of the device they just bought, before we sell them another thing.
Our leadership instructed the team to move quickly, and the quickest way to launch was focusing on an experience that would generate quick returns. I got my core team of 2 SDMs, 1 PM, 1 principal engineer, and 8 SDEs together - and spoke to them about how by ignoring education, we are straying away from our vision. I used the company’s leadership principles of earn trust and customer obsession, which we all care about, to motivate my team to focus on what matters, and get leadership aligned as well.
After we were all aligned on the direction, I collaborated with my cross functional team to brainstorm what is the content that will help our customers with post purchase and where should that content live. I chose to create an owner zone that would appear on product pages for customers who own the device. The owner zone is personalized by user, and houses all the post purchase content in one place. The design rationalle stemmed from 3 guiding lines -
(1) Education – To teach customers that there is one centralized place on Amazon that they can always come back to if they have questions about their device.
(2) Personalization – I wanted the owner zone to give customers the feeling that the content in it is curated for them as owners.
(3) Habituation. Content in the owner zone should be refreshed, with a goal being to habituate customers to keep coming back to see the next best thing for them to do with their device.
If the customer owns another smart home device, or a subscription, they will see cards with high value actions about how to use their devices together.
If the customer doesn’t own a smart home device, for the business that meant we needed to upsell them to one. But because this is the owner zone, I wanted the upsell to feel personal to them as owners. I created introductory cards to smart home that highlight the advantages of adopting smart home technology. The cards also emphasize that customers are already halfway there because they own an Echo device, and provide a convenient link for purchasing smart home accessories that will improve their device's functionality.
Because Amazon has never done this before, each content piece in the owner zone required a collaboration of several different teams across the company. I guided the collaboration between the smart home teams, Alexa App designers, and online experience marketing managers to create the desired high value actions. We needed to figure out -
(1) What actions will bring the most traction? (2) How do we connect the dots between WHAT the customer is asked to do, and WHERE they need to take the action? (3) How do we get customers motivated to take action?
(1) What actions will bring the most traction?
(2) How do we connect the dots between WHAT the customer is asked to do, and WHERE they need to take the action?
(3) How do we get customers motivated to take action?
After 28 days of testing, in April 2022, we decided to dial up the expereince for all customer owners on Amazon. We saw a positive impact on all the metrics we tested, both engagement and sales. I was surprised by these results, because we never trained our customers to come to Amazon for this kind of content. I thought we’d have to iterate many more times to get this experience right. Seeing this was incredible, and I believe spending so much time on research, and really understanding the problem - helped us get the positive results. Today we are scaling this experience to more product lines, and across other placements on and off Amazon.