Delivering a great digital customer experience is no easy task. Here’s how KBC Bank Ireland and its Head of Digital Channels, Paul Flynn, set out on a mission to ensure that their customers would get the best possible experience through their website.
“Putting the customer experience at the heart of the plan was my main priority.”
The customer champions
Paul set out on a journey to do this by firstly finding like-minded champions of the customer across the organisation. They were all digital natives, used to online experiences that are fast and easy to use, and would not offer anything less to their customers.
They were creative people and were winning over the hearts and minds of their teams by elevating IT to be about the customer, and making their decisions based on data. People found their approaches fresh and innovative, and he knew that he needed them in my team.
Paul brought them together from across the organisation, from marketing to the legal and data teams — forming an extended team of customer champions. They created a plan to replace the existing website with one that delivers a superior digital experience for their customers.
With help from WONDR (specialists in Digital Product Design) they collected all the information needed for the project and converted stakeholders to collaborators by enlisting them as advisors. WONDR created a beautiful new design language for the website and selected Liferay, a cloud-enabled digital experience platform as the foundation for the new solution.
We listened to what customers wanted
The digital champions took feedback from customers on board when working on the new enhanced site. Customer feedback showed them that the site had too much jargon, used language that did not relate to the customer, calculators were hard to use and finding the information they were after was difficult.
Taking this on board, KBC worked with WONDR to define 8 personas with needs and goals; and offered key insights for each. They then mapped out the steps on the journeys, and designed an experience that would maximise good emotions, eliminate pain points and feel familiar to the customer.
But they wanted more, and found ways for their brand to shine as part of the digital experience. Armed with a powerful new technology, a detailed plan, a compelling vision and lots of excitement, the team went to work.
Making the complex, simple
The customer champions approached the project in a new way . They would work in a real agile way instead to get the project off the ground.
They would deal with complexity and uncertainty by working out the finer details as the project went on and rely on the talent of the team to adapt as needed. They brought in Webtown, a customer-centric software development company.
By putting in the Liferay digital experience platform as a foundation they managed to get a more up-to date starting point for the website development. This offered faster speed, better accessibility and mobile support out of the box.
While rebuilding the calculators on the site using the new design, the team were able to leverage the developer’s experience to reverse-engineer what was there to re-create the calculators in a way that gave the website administrators more control while making the website easier to use for customers.
The customer champions developed new, enterprise-ready ways of working for the development. They brought in cloud-based technology that enabled them to develop safely and release frequently.
Then they introduced better practices for documentation, accessibility and data quality management in the team. This led to a higher quality experience and vastly improved usability, because they continued to improve and iterate on the experience while the project went on. This would also make sure the solution would stand the test of time.
The customer champions had all rallied behind the vision to make decisions based on data and give the customers what they wanted, so were able to take decisive action when needed.
The new solution was very well received. Customer feedback highlighted that the new experience was really easy to use and helped them make decisions.
30% Conversion Rate Increase
The new website outperformed the old one with a 30% higher conversion rate, so the project paid itself back really quickly.
Call Centre Efficiency
The call centre staff were saving time because customers gave them the right information.
In changing times like today, client retention is more crucial than ever.
ESB Energy saw an opportunity with the company’s rebrand to consolidate three websites, improve the digital experience and increasing conversion rates for EV, B2C and B2B customers.
This was the challenge for Irish electricity giant ESB in the UK market, which provides power to more than 100,000 homes each day in the UK. With 100% renewable electricity, the company offers competitive prices and over 90 years of industry experience. The goal was to launch ESB Energy as a digital-first experience and grow the brand through easy to complete sign up flows.
WONDR focused on planning a design system that could work across all digital touch points. We designed the experience across the product site, acquisition funnels and customer portal across mobile, tablet and desktop.
With clarity and a collaborative team approach, we delivered a quote journey with a 95% form completion rate and a customer portal which over 86% of customers used.
Find the detailed cases study for ESB Energy here.
By putting the user in the centre of the experience to simultaneously increase online revenue by 165%.
At FBD Insurance, Ireland’s largest Irish-owned insurer protecting Irish consumers, farmers, and businesses for over 50 years, they had a specific problem on their site. They wanted to transform the entire digital platform into a core revenue-generating channel that puts customers and their needs at the very centre of the experience.
We brought all aspects of our work together through the user interface design. We were careful not to let the visual design affect the highly attuned customer journeys and UX design.
To reflect FBD’s compelling brand positioning of ‘Protection, it’s in our nature’. We integrated a publishing platform. This enabled FBD to share helpful claims advice, safety initiatives and community programs.
WONDR’s strategy and process directly led to significant increased conversions and renewals, including a 164% increase in new business policies sold online, among others.
By auditing, benchmarking and prototyping, we developed a best-in-class user experience roadmap.
Do you want to know more details? Read our Case Study here.
A better brush doesn’t make you a better artist. After all it’s simply a tool. And as with all tools and innovations, what’s more important than the technology itself, is knowing how and when to use it.
Ensuring that the innovation augments and supports your creative process. Employing it with purpose and precision to refine, but not dictate, your vision. And so it is with AI.
For the last year, WONDR have been practicing design with AI technology embedded directly into our flows and processes. We now predict, with up to 95% accuracy, how real users are going to perceive and interact with our designs and our technology choices.
This allows us to challenge and validate the instinctive decisions all designers bring to products. Though these choices are borne from experience and intuition, they are not beyond question, or improvement. In this way AI acts as a sense-check. An impartial, data-rich challenger providing us with accurate feedback and clear opportunities to refine our work.
Mariana Spagnuolo Design Lead
This impartiality is critical in protecting the voice of the user. It removes subjectivity from our own & our clients’ decisions. It’s not what we say it is, it’s simply what it is.
We’ve always relied on user testing to validate our approach. This will continue. AI is not quite human, yet. However by harnessing it we have sped up our design process, reduced risk and reduced cost for our clients. Not bad for a new brush.
Econsultancy recently shared a post called ‘Four online experiences that impressed me during lockdown (and what brands can learn from them)’ and our client Pet Drugs Online were listed as one of the four.
We’ve worked with this brand for a number of years to reimagine their digital brand experience which led to the design of their eCommerce platform built on Magento.
Considerable thought was given on improving the whole user experience and it was a delight to see the author to pick up on the details we worked hard on and that have delivered such strong results for the brand that made them the No 1 Pet Care brand in the UK.
If you want to know a little more behind the project you can read a more detailed interview on the story behind it all. Alternatively you can view the case study where there’s plenty of lovely pictures of pets.
Experience is everything. This is the brand promise of The Loop, the Irish-owned travel retail company. They appointed us to refresh their eCommerce experience to drive online traffic and revenue.
Dublin Airport saw a total of 32.9 million passengers in 2019, so converting those in-store browsers to online shoppers is a key challenge The Loop wanted to meet head on.
Our team ran extensive discovery workshops to inform customer journeys resulting in refreshed UX/ UI designs to help increase conversion. These learnings are also reflected in peak-season social activations, tying together the convenience of the click-and-collect service with the wide range of luxury products on offer.
While The Loop is synonymous with Dublin and Cork airports, we will be helping them to launch new enhanced eCommerce sites for New Zealand and Canada markets as they look to expand their business on a global scale through digital.
They welcome you home. They purr, they bark, they chirp. Some of them get you up for a brisk walk on a crisp Winter morning when all you want to do is stay under the duvet. They’re dependent on you when they’re sick and hungry.
All across the globe, pets are cherished companions and owners do what they can to Love Them Well. This is the insight that helped us make the online pet medicine retailer, Pet Drugs Online the best performing Magento eCommerce site in the world.
Although the business was performing well as an eCommerce platform, the real challenge was to stand out in the market and build trust with new consumers. We partnered with the client team to define their digital brand & user experience design in order to build trust, make the purchase of pet medicine easier with overall goal of increasing the online revenue.
For WONDR, delivering results for eCommerce clients is all that matters.
Just a year and a half later Pet Drugs Online have seen significant revenue uplift from investment in the UK, ahead of a European roll out plan.
YoY growth in 2019
Estimated YOY growth 2020
UK Pet Healthcare brand
Neil Fitzpatrick Pet Drugs Online
We went from 3rd biggest Pet Health Care brand in the UK to number 1 in 18 months. The work we did with WONDR rolled out across every channel. The brand message is clear. We are the brand that allows you to love your pet better.
Defining business goals
For WONDR it started with in depth discovery sessions to understand the business, its systems & people, listening to all staff members and compiling a coherent plan to set the project in motion.
Just simply having functional digital transactions is not enough anymore, building brand trust and an emotional experience is critical as it has always been for brands, just the technology has changed.
Working with a progressive minded culture that Neil has built in PetDrugsOnline gave us the opportunity to demonstrate that setting your digital brand right is just as important as getting your UX journeys nailed. We know how to help brands deliver great customer experiences that make significant uplift to brands online revenue.
Setting the brand
As part of the process we helped define the brand positioning of ‘Love Them Well’ and created the brand system for all digital channels. This included brand mark refinement, typography, UI styling, photography guidance, patterns, eCommerce component styling, as well as a complete set of social and video templates. This set in place a simple set of guidelines for the in house creative team to implement.
Dermot O’Shea WONDR
Building brand trust and an emotional experience is critical as it has always been for brands, just the technology has changed.
Building a richer user experience
We researched this brand and user experience extensively to get a solid understanding of what the opportunities were there to deliver better customer experiences and increase revenue.
Dermot explains, “The brand had a reasonably good conversion rate, however it was clear from research that the PDP and checkout pages needed particular attention. We had to make the process of uploading prescriptions easier and remind people that this is all for the love of their pet, so finish the journey.
We carried out extensive user research which included GA analysis, user video analysis, stakeholder interviews as well as one to one sessions with customers to establish what works best for the them.
We prototyped fast, tested with the call centre staff & real customers as we went to refine and adapt the user experience. This was invaluable as it allowed us to make modifications to help us refine the checkout in particular. The financial success today as a result of this, speak for themselves.
Oisin Hurst WONDR
Don’t be frightened. Don’t skimp on the user research as part of your budget. Listen to your customers, it will pay to do so!
Putting design into motion
Oisin Hurst, WONDR Creative Director says, ‘After we set the brand we created a cloud based tool kit which allowed all of the integration team and 3rd party tools to access one central library to get all the brand assets and styles. This made iterating new features and rollout of front end much faster than traditional methods.’
Setting emotion on the website was important and we did this through video, imagery, typography, copywriting and colour palette to communicate the brand proposition.
The prescriptions journey was designed to be effortless, leading with in site search to help customers find what they needed faster. To create a richer, topical and genuinely useful experience we created an advice centre for users to discover pet-care tips and related, relevant products.
Video content is critical for mobile and we build a system to allow the brand to launch the platform and refine core propositions, guided by three pillars, Trust, Convenience and Value.
Neil Fitzpatrick Pet Drugs Online
In an already crowded market, we are the only brand in the UK growing at that rate and that shows just how on the money the overall brand revision was.
A partnership for success
Partnering with clients for product management can’t be underestimated. We helped the team to brief, document and liaise with the chosen integration partner.
Understanding the development process, we assisted the Product Owner in Pet Drugs Online, pushing as much functionality into the first release as possible and worked closely with the team using Confluence to set the project and manage its delivery.
Creating a lasting bond
The brand invests heavily in PPC and SEO but to complete the journey we needed to build audience engagement and real connection. In a move away from generic posting we devised a campaign that would build trust and emotional connection. Brought to life through some simple social video advertising that struck a cord with pet owners.
Choosing between what is right and what is easy isn’t always a straightforward choice but it doesn’t have to be an either-or situation.
Catching up with Dermot O’Shea (Founder – WONDR) and Oisin Hurst (Director of Creative Brand Strategy – WONDR) and Sarah Jane Lynch, Head of Digital Innovation at Brown Thomas/Arnotts to discuss how making the right combination of choices led to an agile 25 day User Experience project that resulted in a 100% uplift in mobile revenue for the Irish retailer.
When WONDR first started working with Arnotts over two years ago to help them transform the brand for digital there were some serious decisions to be made. The brand’s overhaul for digital required the launch of an entirely new eCommerce site that would align with the brand’s quality credentials, not to mention demanding customer expectations. But what should be done with the existing site in the meantime, particularly on mobile?
The team at WONDR came up with a plan to both redesign and re-platform the brand while also ensuring key fixes on the existing site would work alongside to significantly boost revenues.
Oisin explains “The initial plan was to look mainly at the new eCommerce website but it became apparent very quickly that there were existing opportunities — ones that would immediately generate more revenue for Arnotts. We looked at it as a win-win — start increasing sales and revenue on the live site, while developing the strategy for the new site in parallel.”
To start, WONDR convinced the Arnotts team that it could apply a “hotfix” approach to optimise the front-end of the platform without having to modify the current platform it was running on. Time is money in retail and this short and medium term approach was essential, especially considering the re-platforming project was due to take several month.
Oisín Hurst WONDR
Re-platforming can take a while, but during that time nothing should ever stop for the business. The retailer needs to be able to continue performing user experience changes to keep the business and brand growing
Dermot adds “WONDR already had a very strong working relationship with Arnotts, having worked on a number of projects together — but this time there was the opportunity to tap into a far wider range of techniques and tactics. It was a chance to prove that some of the techniques we planned to deploy in the wider and more ambitious re-platforming project could actually be used right away.
“When you’re working on a project like this it can be very easy to gravitate towards the ‘big ideas” he continues. “Our job was to ensure Arnotts could make the most of the existing platform whilst delivering a mobile and multi-platform brand that would be fit for the future.”
WONDR’s brand philosophy is very much in line with delivering results that matter — every idea proposed and decision made by the team was based on doing the best for the customer while also ensuring the brand remains differentiated and distinctive. As a quality retail brand with “experience” as a core principle we needed to deliver on both.”
Sarah Jane Lynch Head of Digital Innovation - Arnotts
We needed to make sure that every piece of work had a clear and demonstrable impact on the bottom line.
She goes on to explain “The team at WONDR spent time analysing site analytics to get a clear picture of what was happening and how to deliver the best site experience and revenue potential. As well as their knowledge of brand building and experience design they really understood that any investment needed to deliver real financial pay-back. Putting strong measurement in place allowed us to measure this against every change made.”
The up-front analysis carried out by the Arnotts and WONDR team clearly helped avoid the costly pitfalls often associated with both hot-fix and major re-platforming projects.
Dermot explains: “Time that you would normally spend in the boardroom coming up with ideas, prepping presentations or polishing minor ideas is better spent working on the actual nuts and bolts of the project itself. It may sound pretty basic, but on projects like this it really is better to sketch out on paper rather than spend valuable time on a Mac polishing detail that may not go anywhere. This project had no time for pontificating or the stroking of crusty beards around a whiteboard — retail moves too fast and is too competitive for that.”
“Once I had a solid system in mind, I quickly moved into prototyping the key journeys that were critical for performance, testing and iterating a real mobile experience.”
“We skipped the usual presentations with exhaustive and quite frankly unnecessary explanations. We were working with a team of “digital doers” — both in WONDR and in Arnotts. It’s amazing what can be achieved by taking a mobile device — the device the customer will actually end up using — and with a savvy, motivated team testing, iterating and implementing quickly.”
A Customer-Centric, Brand-Centric Approach
As soon as ambitious timelines and the right level of investment was agreed the challenge was clearly set. Bridge the gap between the present site and the re-platform and deliver both a long-term and interim customer-centric experience worthy of the Arnotts brand.
We set our best creative developer to lead the team, and his mission was simple: descale as little of the ideal prototype while retaining all mission critical functionality”.
Just improving design and functionality on it’s own though wouldn’t be enough. In the competitive retail category, where many brands are failing to cut-through or disappointing consumers with poor digital experiences, delivering above expectations is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Dermot adds. “We had to start with a basic mobile iteration of their current platform to allow us to build the brand for the future.
The site couldn’t just be a catalogue of products. It had to be a rewarding retail experience online.”
He continues “Anyone who knows anything about retail store design will tell you, it’s very much about understanding customer psychology. So why wouldn’t the same be true online? The big opportunity for Arnotts was transferring this to the digital shopper journey.
Dermot O'Shea Founder - WONDR
We’re living through a cultural and retail revolution and mobile is at the heart of it. For Arnotts, the opportunities are boundless.
Key psychological truths like ‘choice anxiety,’ ‘future memory’ and ‘personal self-doubt’ are all deeply ingrained in shopping behaviour. These important human factors combined with changes in style and culture were taken into consideration during the design process.
User-design is much more than just keeping things simple. It’s about appealing to users on a deep and emotional level while being differentiated as a brand in the mind of consumers.”
Oisin agrees with this perspective. “Designing for retail in digital is much more than optimising opportunistic online transactions. You have to create a true retail destination. A place that people will want too go to because it inspires them, not just helps them carry out pre-considered tasks. People should want to come back to it naturally, like their favourite news site or social media network. That’s the real retail challenge. Brands like Arnotts see it as an opportunity and are already reaping the rewards.
The approach paid off. The project was delivered on time and on budget with the mobile solution delivering significant and immediate impact on revenue.
“It was agile, innovative, cost-effective and financially measurable,” says Sarah Jane, “It was a positive experience to work on too. A real partnership between the teams.”
Oisin adds, “What we’re most proud of is that we proved that properly engaging with a re-platform project, in increments, not just single goals, can bring significant benefits. Taking on a front-end only project is never the ideal solution. Yet for so many businesses in Ireland they can’t afford not to to this.” he says.
“I’m glad we were able to demonstrate in a very tangible way that investing in the proper design and people-centric experience can bring forth much more returns. You don’t have to wait for the big re-platform project to happen. Losing money on a poor site is more expensive in the interim than breaking hot fixes on an existing platform into smaller work streams to create real results from day one.”
So, if time is money in retail, then waiting for the “big new site reveal” without also making what you have work even harder through solid brand and UX thinking could be costing alot of brands more than they realise.
Dermot concludes “We established WONDR to work with progressive, businesses that want to build their brands around people in a digital world. The Arnotts team understood this from the start and we had the backing of the senior team. This is the sort of partnership that creates great work, in the immediate term as well as the long term and as we’ve seen with this project, great return for the business.”