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What’s the hardest thing about becoming a new mom? According to Ally Downey, it was knowing what to buy. “The first time I walked into a Babies R Us, I burst into tears,” she said. “I looked up at a ten-foot wall of baby bottles and saw — in all of those options — a metaphor for how completely unprepared I was for the hundreds (thousands!) of choices I’d have to make for my baby.”
She turned to her friends for help and found they were eager to share what to buy and what to skip. “…[A]s my inbox flooded with advice from my in-the-trenches friends, I started to feel a little less overwhelmed and a little bit more ready. By the time my baby arrived, I’d become one of the ones sending the instructive emails (Get Triple Paste in the tub, not the tube!).”
She saw not only a tremendous pain point for parents, but a huge business opportunity, with new parents spending roughly $5,000 on baby products in year one alone. So soon after her first child was born, Ally launched weeSpring — a place for expecting parents to find reliable advice on what to buy, and for new parents to share what they had learned. A year and a half later, weeSpring is a vibrant community of new and expecting parents with over 150,000 product ratings. Expecting parents can log in via Facebook to see what their friends have reviewed, save products for later, and build lists like “Newborn Necessities,” “Teething Time, and “Best Gifts for a One-Year Old.” New parents can share their own tried-and-true advice and learn about new products as their baby grows.
Like any growing startup, weeSpring has been experimenting with ways to reach new users. By writing a blog that details their favorite products and tips, building a strong Pinterest presence, and experimenting with paid advertising, they are seeking out the most effective channel to reach new and expecting parents that convert to registered users. As they sat down to analyze which experiments were converting the best, however, Ally and her co-founder Jack found a pattern they didn’t expect.
weeSpring had stumbled into a classic startup challenge: new users coming in through the “back door” (from search or referral) did not understand what weeSpring was and how it offered value. They were not signing up and they were not reviewing products. In short, they weren’t behaving the same as new users who came in through the “front door” (from weeSpring’s homepage, which has a strong onboarding flow).
weeSpring signed up for Product Office Hours to get some advice on what to do next. Product Office Hours is an hour of free consulting offered by Pivotal Labs for startups who want advice on how to move forward when confronting a particular challenge or feature.
We (the team at Pivotal Labs) helped weeSpring identify that they were ready to dedicate design and development resources to address the needs of their new back door users. We then led them through two activities to design an experiment to focus on converting back door users.
First, we determined the goals of a back door new user who had clicked onto a weeSpring product page (e.g. Aden and Anais swaddle blankets) from a blog post, a Pin, or a newsletter, but had not yet signed up. We concluded that back door users wanted to:
Second, we needed to figure out what had to be on the page so that a back door user could achieve his or her goals. We determined this in four steps:
Ally and Jack walked out of Product Office Hours intending to roll out an experiment with the goal of improving conversion on logged out product pages for first-time mobile users.
Several weeks later, they rolled out small changes to their logged out mobile page. Since the change, they are seeing two positive signals:
You can see the changes that the team made in the screenshot below, which compares a logged in (L) versus logged out (R) product page on mobile.
By making small, pointed design changes to focus on purchase, conversion, and communicating their value proposition, weeSpring has been able capture more new users to sign up and buy. They can now feel confident making bigger changes to product page because they have validated the basic concepts.
We’re looking forward to seeing their new product page, as well as new experiments to encourage back door users to complete front door activities (such as rate and review products).
Need Product Advice? Pivotal Labs now offers Product Office Hours. Learn more or sign up here.