Not all ecommerce is created equal. Whether you’re a cost-per-good (CPG) retailer, a drop-shipping store, or whether you’re a made-to-order custom shop makes a significant difference in the problems you need to solve for your customers.
One of LimeLight Marketing’s clients falls into this latter category, and they came to us with a problem they were having on their ecommerce platform. They design, manufacture, and service machines that slice, bag, and seal products for bakeries. Their problem? There aren’t many bakeries that know what an AL-19 Front Loader is, what it can do, how it solves their problems, and its limitations.
If you have a complex or niche product (or both), what can you do to drive your ecommerce forward?
We built a custom solution for this client that helps bakeries understand what type of machine they need – while also generating leads for their sales pipeline.
Here’s how we did it:
Identifying your ecommerce problems
The first thing we do when helping a client find a solution to a problem is undergo discovery to identify what the problem actually is. Throughout discovery, we ask pointed questions to not only understand what is wanted – but more importantly what prospective customers need.
In this case, the problem was clear (and a pretty common one in the manufacturing sector) – our client’s machines are complicated and niche. Potential customers needed more than a product page that talked about the ins and outs of each machine. They needed something more intuitive. They needed to know exactly what machine was the right choice for their bakery, based on what they knew: their own product.
Creating a customer-centric ecommerce solution
Bakeries know that they need a machine to slice, bag, and seal their bread, bagels, rolls, or muffins at scale. But what machine do they need? They’re not entirely sure. What they do know is everything about their product. They’re experts in the size, shape, and weight of their product, and how they need it packaged.
It is critical to provide potential customers with a solution that is customer-centric and focused around the variables they know the answers to.
In this case, after identifying the exact customer problem, we moved into the planning phase of the project. This phase is where all of the heavy lifting happens. During planning, we set out to understand all of the machines our client offers, their differences, and what questions they typically ask to decide the right fit for a customer.
Through this, we found that there were seven key questions that allow our client to pinpoint the correct machine for their bakeries. With these variables in hand, we created a plan for how we would leverage these questions through a digital experience to make a recommendation for prospective customers.
We decided that a BuzzFeed-style quiz would be a fun, unique, and intuitive experience for bakers. At the end of the quiz, bakers would be presented with the exact machine they needed with an easy way to get a quote. This not only gave bakers the information that they were looking for (“What machine do I need?”), but also served as a hot-lead capture.
Making an easy-to-use tool
One of our goals when we build a digital experience for our clients, is to ensure that there are no surprises. When we get to the end of the project, we want clients to have had buy-in throughout the entire process. So after we settled on a strategy and plan, we moved into wireframing what we began to call the “product quiz.”
During the wireframe process, we focus on the interface of the page and the experience of the person using it. Since this was being designed as a quiz that anyone could use, it was important that the experience was as simple as possible.
It’s at this point of the project that we make decisions like presenting one question at a time to limit distractions, rather than using a scrolling page, and using visuals to represent quiz options so that users can select an option that looks like what they need.
These decisions seem minor, but make up the experience of using the product quiz. These choices made it so that any user could answer questions – whether a baker or a baker’s mom.
Visual design makes digital tools beautiful
Wireframes are typically not beautiful. They’re meant to serve as a visual representation of the experience, but do not include things like brand color or animation. After the wireframe was built and approved, it was time to give life to the product quiz by adding visual design. We added fun, custom iconography, installed brand colors, and made it so that it felt like our client and was totally on-brand.
Visual design is often the most satisfying and fun part of the project because the project goes from a concept to being polished.
Development and testing
With the problem in mind, the wireframe approved, and the design in place, it was time to build.
Our developers coded a custom experience in a few days and made it ready for testing. Because the product quiz involved multiple different paths that people could go down, we did extensive testing to ensure that people received the correct machine recommendation based on the needs of their bakery.
We tried really hard to “break” the product quiz to identify any technical issues. Once we felt good about the functionality and design of the product quiz, we launched it into the world to help bakeries find the right machine for their needs.
A product quiz isn’t the right fit for every business with an ecommerce platform. But it can be a helpful approach for businesses with complicated, technical, or niche offerings where potential customers aren’t always sure what they need.