AIM Consulting Transforms Coffee Retailer’s Mobile Order & Pay App with Guest Checkout Experience

AIM Consulting

Case Study: Digital Experience and Mobile

SITUATION & BUSINESS CHALLENGE

An American coffeehouse company with a robust loyalty program based on card and Android/iOS mobile app usage was seeking ways to increase sales from those sources.

The existing process required users to create an account, add a card, load the card with money and then pay for orders from that account. This program was of great benefit to the company, as it provided a steady and predictable source of cash for projects; and also for customers, who were only required to set up the account once and had many options to easily load funds into it.

However, executives began to wonder whether the company was missing out on sales from customers who did not wish to join the loyalty program and were turned off by the number of steps required to make a purchase.

Managers decided to experiment with a guest checkout (GCO) option for new users of its mobile apps and set up an A/B testing program with three variants:

  • The existing experience: Requiring account creation and card loading.
  • The expedited experience: Allowing users to go from the unauthenticated home screen directly to the order page, with existing options to sign in/create account while placing an order.
  • The expedited GCO experience: Ordering is the same as in #2, but with additional guest checkout functionality.

AIM Consulting has had an ongoing relationship with the company for many years, providing substantial resources for development and optimizing the customer experience of both the Android and iOS apps. An AIM mobile developer was deployed to develop the Android guest checkout experience while a client-side technical project manager (TPM) facilitated the development of both the iOS and Android projects.

Although the initiative was supposed to be an A/B test to determine viability, when C-level executives got wind of the project, it escalated from a recommended strategy to a high-priority mandate, as the company’s leadership recognized a need to conform to the retail industry standard of offering digital guest check-out options for all their customers.

SOLUTION

The project was extremely dynamic and strayed away from the way projects are normally scoped, beginning without functional specifications and maturing organically.

The AIM Consultant assigned to the project built the guest checkout experience on top of the Android app’s existing mobile order and pay functionality and completed three official revisions of the product as it evolved over six months. The developer accomplished this by assisting the TPM in creating functional specifications as the project matured, as well as managing external dependencies to ensure timelines were met.

Success required keeping in constant communication with the iOS team. This step was critical because both apps were scheduled for simultaneous release, and the user experience for both was almost identical with the slight exception of payment methods (for example, Apple Pay was offered on the iOS app and not on the Android app). Constant communication with the QA and API teams were also required throughout the project.

The largest scope change was converting the consumer guest checkout into a persistent experience. For example, it was not originally a requirement to save any information for a user’s first checkout experience, but once leadership mandated that guest checkout be a permanent option, the team needed to figure out how to maintain information in the background to make the experience repeatable. The AIM Consultant solved this problem by restricting GCO users’ access to areas outside of mobile order and pay, while preserving their payment methods, favorited items, and preferred store information.

RESULTS

Guest checkout launched simultaneously on both the Android and iOS mobile apps as planned, with analytics tied to the entire experience to track engagement and provide direction for future versions. A/B testing was incorporated at launch so guest checkout appeared only in a portion of new downloads. With A/B testing, the retailer would be able to determine whether more products are sold through the app as a result of the guest checkout feature, whether customers are likely to use guest checkout more than once, the likelihood of customers becoming loyalty rewards members after experiencing guest checkout, and so on, ultimately determining the success of the project.

Undeniably, the client benefited from AIM’s mobile and technical program management expertise, resulting in an extension of the engagement through future versions of the product. In fact, following the successful A/B test campaign, the client announced that it would be rolling out the new GCO experience to all U.S. customers as a way to boost sales.

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