AllAroundMobility: online marketplace for mobility aid products.

The Challenge

When it comes to website and product development, it can be hard to create an innovative product that truly changes people’s day to day lives. They key to making a successful product is to create something innovative that solves a problem and provides the consumer with a better quality of life. You do not want to create just another product that blends in with other products on the market. You do not want to merely update an already existing idea or produce a more expensive item. For example, releasing a new update on a phone is not going to make a significant change on the lives of people, because the basic purpose of the good already exists. You need to create something that has inherent meaning and offers a new and improved purpose.

It can be hard to discover this as a business. Yet we got a stroke of luck when we were approached by Allaroundmobility, a California-based company who sells products for people with disabilities. They already had a retail store in California, but they wanted to go one step further to expand their audience through creating an online platform where their products were easily available to customers. But they did not want to stop there. They wanted to include not just their own products, but also products from other top providers who were competitive in the market. In other words they were asking for a website to showcase products from multiple producers. This site needed to be dynamic, taking into account all the potential needs of future customers. It needed to be user-friendly so that anyone could navigate it. It also had to highlight the products in such a way that shoppers could easily learn about the characteristics and features that were most important to them.

Our goal was to make the site as simple and user-friendly as possible. We wanted our website to make users feel like they had support every step of the way as they shopped. To do this we had to focus on the overall user experience, putting aside any ideas about complex design features in order to achieve a website structured with brevity and convenience in mind.

Experience, Strategy, and Vision

Our first task involved researching and analyzing the business environment. We researched top industry leaders, analyzed existing resources, and conducted the classic SWOT analysis. Understanding this environment and considering problems we may face from our competition allowed us to develop a first draft, or prototype, of the website. Usually, initial development would stop here. Yet we wanted to take the website’s development one step further. We wanted to understand the needs of our
actual customers. Yet how do we determine who exactly is in our customer base?

To help us answer this question we went to Allaroundmobility to find out information about their current consumers. We asked them to analyze the existing consumer base so that way we could find out exactly who our potential customers were. We received quite an interesting result. Our customer base consisted of three main demographics. The first group consisted of close relatives of people with disabilities whose ages ranged from 35 to 45 years old. The second bunch consisted of younger people with disabilities whose ages ranged from 25 to 50 years. The last group were among the older generation who had disabilities. Their ages ranged from 50 to 70 years old.

From conversations with their clients, Allaroundmobility deducted that the main consideration their consumers took into account when making purchases was not the price, but the specific features of the product. These consumers did not want a simple update of the products. Rather, they wanted products that would significantly improve their life, and for the way they accessed those products to do the same. They desired to purchase something that had long-term usefulness.

Next came the second round of our prototype, which was followed by criticism from focus groups. This feedback was useful because it helped us understand the main concerns of our customers when it came to the service and platform we were building. Among these concerns were worries about inaccurate product descriptions, customer service, and warranty support. Another concern was the ability for the shopper to change their mind about a product mid shop and then easily switch it out for a more suitable option. This critiquing process helped us to really think about the website we were creating. For every feature and detail, we were asking ourselves: “Does it really need to be there?” And if so, then “Why?”. After gathering ideas from focus groups, we were ready to move on to the third version of our website.

Usability-Led Process

After several rounds of development, the client finally approved the website prototype. The next step was to brainstorm the design. From the data we had gathered, customers feared inaccurate product descriptions. We needed a design that addressed this fear. We had to settle on a calming color theme and make sure the overall function and design of the website addressed these fears. Our solution was to include round-the-clock customer support into the function of the website.

Another question that came up during our brainstorming process was: what sort of characteristics do we show for each product category? It was tricky to determine the answer to this because different products needed different characteristics highlighted. For example, electric and mechanical wheelchairs have different key features, but belong to the same category of goods. What is the best way to go about this problem? Our solution was to sort all the items into groups, then sub-groups. From there we were able to better pick specific features for each sub group that best correlated with customer needs.

Planning and Scope Definition

After three rounds of the website prototype, we were able to finally develop a plan. From many brainstorms with the team and several interviews with potential customers, we were able to envision the right style and functionality of the website. With all this information gathered were able to formulate a project plan.

Project Plan:

  • Create final design and layout
  • Spend time on backend development
  • Test the site before officially launching it
  • Develop further support to best optimize the site’s potential

Design Execution

When creating a design, we always make sure to develop a website that can be well presented and easily read on all platforms. We want it to be just as easily viewed and navigated on a smartphone or tablet as it is on a desktop. We applied such mentality to this project as well.

Back End Development

During our process of back-end development, we discovered a creative solution that benefited not just the customers, but also the store owners. This solution allowed customers to have quick access to the right products and reviews. It also allowed the store owners to rapidly and automatically update the product database, update market campaigns, and create promotions that would better serve customers.

Outcomes

Whereas offline business was once their only option, the customer now has the ability to access our modern, user-friendly website. This online solution has allowed the overall market to increase its sales dozens of times over, while also enabling individual companies to see exponentially increased sales as well.

The website’s feedback and rating system not only gave customers a voice, but it enabled the company to improve interactions with their customers and receive deeper insights into the customer’s problems and needs. This interaction with analytics services helped directly involve the customer in building the right sales funnel that would fully meet the expectations of the customer.

Client and Industry Feedback

“AAM became a new selling platform for our company”
Nick May
New York, New York

“AAM is a great solution that helped me find the right product at the right price, something that I’m using on the daily basis”
Erica Moore
Buffalo, New York

“AAM is quick to respond. You do not have to make hard choices and risk. You use and one and the same resources for all of you”
Clifford Bailey
Denver, Colorado

“AAM is extremely easy to use. Offline stores is not an option anymore – I have over 300 options for an electric-powered wheelchairs. I’m sure that if this one does not work for me, it will be replaced seamlessly”
Deborah Kay
LA, California

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