Small decisions can impact product success …..


Last weekend, I volunteered to spend an hour at our local grocery store handing out flyers to shoppers on an upcoming Town hall vote on Grafton school feasibility study. We had a simple decision to make – do we hand out the flyer when shoppers are coming into the store or when they are exiting the store after they are done shopping. We chose to do the latter – for a very simple reason.

When shoppers walk in, they are thinking about one thing and one thing only – SHOPPING – what do I need to buy? where do I need to start? I should not forget to pick up the gallon of milk etc. – anything that breaks their train of thought is an interruption and an unwanted intrusion. If you now give them the flyer, here is a very likely scenario:

  1. They are unlikely to read it
  2. They will put it in the empty cart and the groceries they buy, end up on top of the flyer
  3. When they check out, they will leave the flyer in the cart
  4. They will load the groceries into the car and the flyer ends up left behind the cart.

When shoppers are exiting their store – they are happy that they finished shopping and are headed out. They are more likely to be receptive to your pitch when you hand them the flyer. Here is a very likely scenario:

  1. They are likely to put the flyer into one of their grocery bags or carry it with them in their hand.
  2. The flyer makes it to their car and their home
  3. It has more chances of being read

Now you can see why the simple decision to hand it out at exit works in our favor.

I can think of many such scenarios when I use different products:

  1. When I visit a website that offers a free service, I get interrupted by ads that I have to get past before I am allowed to complete the task. Just because you offer something for free, it does not make it acceptable to force an ad on the user – allow them to have a positive experience and then once they are done, thank them and have the ad appear. They are more likely to look at the ad now that they have had a sense of accomplishment of having completed their task – they are more relaxed. You helped them and they are more likely to help you.
  2. Asking users to register before they can read marketing white paper that brought them to your website. Let them read enough of an outline so that they know if it worth their time and then if they want to read more about it, ask them to either login or register – and tell them why your are asking for the information – so that you can improve their user experience, provide them more of such material etc. – whatever will benefit them. They are likely to give this information to you, now that you have helped them. Or give them the first one free without needing to register and ask them to register when they try to access the second white paper or on their repeat visit.

These may sound obvious when we are the consumers of products or services, but when on the other side designing these products or services, we may get too hung up on our business agenda as opposed to the needs of the users of your product. Try walking in their shoes and see if it makes a whole lot of sense. Go with your gut feel, you will usually be right and if not talk to some real people (people outside your company and get a second opinion.

Your perspectives and comments welcome !!

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