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Save for Later

Launching a small MVP based on a big vision

After 10 years with Save for Later on the backlog we finally did it. Customers who are on a tight budget can save their products for payday. The business can offer more tailored recommendations. Everybody wins.

I oversaw the initial launch but delivered a way to take Save for Later to the next level by understanding the customer journey, the business context and building a vision.

My role

As the UX Designer and UX Lead, I worked with our partners in UX Strategy, Merchandising, Product Management and Engineering to define a vision for Save for Later. After leading that visioning I led our process toward a Minimum Viable Product and a roadmap for improvements.

My team

There were four of us on the Core Cart and Checkout team but a reorg in July brought us into a Squad structure. Our Business Strategiests and Brand team were close partners but the decision making happened on our core product team.

Why we did it

Customers at Kohl's often need to carefully manage a budget. Often they'll have to buy some school supplies now and wait until payday for a pair of shoes. Without a way to save those items, it's incredibly difficult to remember and find them again a few weeks later.

Save for Later was pitched every year but the team could never quantify the value or capture the leadership's imagination. This was our chance to excite our team and our customers with something we knew would be helpful.

How we did it

Our first step was to understand the competitive space. Nearly every competitor has this feature. We looked at our customer feedback, this was one of the most referenced features. With that we built a vision, where we needed to be and how it would provide a true dollar value to the company.

Looking at the competition

Everyone has Save for Later but the question what we really wanted to know is if they're doing it well. Anecdotally we found hundreds of items saved in our own accounts.

We had to prevent this space from just becoming a dumping ground for unwanted items. Our key value here was relevance. We could highlight items that made sense with that cart. Item affinity, free shipping thresholds and store inventory would fit into the way we present items.

Gathering customer research

It was difficult to lean on customer research and hard data with a feature that doesn't yet exist. We relied on our Voice of the Customer feedback which was purely qualitative.

We chose to launch a minimal product initially and gather data over time. Some data points we chose to monitor were the conversion rate, revenue per visitor, number of items saved and what items are saved most.

Working with stakeholders

A novel approach for Kohl's was to interview stakeholders and understand their expectations before starting to build wireframes.

I partnered with our researcher to plan and synthesize interviews with 5 decision makers in the company. Each stakeholder gave us a clear view of what they saw as first steps and a broader vision for the feature.

We could weave insights from those interviews into the design work and the way we pitched our design work to those leaders.

The vision

The first big challenge we faced was green lighting the project. We didn't need to deliver and present every use case but the general idea needed to inspire confidence in our leaders.

Our vision was a balance between the ideal and the pragmatic. We focused on those cases where a customer is most likely to add a product and also most likely to leave the site. The Kohl's free shipping threshold is relatively high at $75. Customers often add another item but that item is generally  $15 or less.

The initial launch

Coming up against the e-commerce holiday deadline, no work is released from mid-November to early January, we chose to release a very minimal version of Save for Later.

This gave us a way to provide the customer some value and gather a large amount of data during the peak retail season. Over the next 1 to 2 years this would give us a foundation to intentionally build on.

Building value without our Cart redesign

Our 2 year redesign was cancelled weeks before it was scheduled to go live and that was a core dependency for the work we did here.

We had to recenter our expectations and design that core idea in our current experience rather than the newer, cleaner foundation.

The Shopping Cart differs drastically from mobile to desktop screens so this required us to think about our first release and also steps to unify the design as we update the rest of the cart.

Looking to the future

With the initial experience live, there were easy updates we could explore. I planned experiments to highlight particular products, group products and improve the general visual hierarchy.

Like with our Cart and Checkout redesign, our relationships with our partners would be key to building on this first release.

Outcomes and results

Customers who used Save for Later are up to 217% more likely to convert (purchase) the items in their cart. That was something no one expected. We alway assumed our conversion rates and revenue would be a longer term trend we'd have to follow but the results came back almost immediately.

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© Joel Wisneski 2021

Thanks for your interest! Let's talk

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