A responsive web platform for bicycle company Norco integrated into their current website. Designed to engage customers pre, during and post purchase of a new city bicycle.
This was the final 5+ week project in a senior Experience Design course. Our process began with thorough research on Norco, its competition and the industry as a whole. All with the goal of uncovering a core business problem and contextualizing it. This research phase included extensive information modelling, swot analyses, contextual interviews at local bike shops and an interview with a director at Norco’s headquarters.
The phase culminated with an interview with a director at Norco’s headquarters. In a rapid mind mapping session following the interview we caught a glimpse of the core business problem our project was to be framed around.
Norco’s digital presence and brand expression emphasizes their road and mountain segments and not the ‘bread and butter’ of their sales, city bikes
After uncovering this business problem we rapidly explored a number of possible openings, sketching and creating rough prototypes to communicate our ideas.
However, in evaluating ideas we realized that all our solutions were all trying to raise the post-purchase value — riding in the city. There really were no major pain points associated with riding a Norco bike in the city. Period.
Based on insights from our customer journey framework, we pivoted and directed our attention to reducing the cognitive overhead of purchasing a city bike. This way customers would be able to access the true value, riding.
In order to focus our process, we conducted research into the customers experience, and identified friction points in the buying process. This research and my insights having interacted and sold bikes to hundreds of people working at a bike shop came together into three personas to use a framework.
Some common friction points included confusing categories on Norco’s website, not knowing riding style and even industry distrust due to bad experiences at a mass merchant dealers like Walmart and Canadian Tire.
One of Norco’s brand pillars is listen. They built their name on their openness to listening and innovating for the enthusiast or competitive cyclist. However it appeared Norco left it up to their independent bike dealers to listen to their city biking segments.
Noting this, we looked into industry publications and found future projections pointing to an upswing of locally tailored city biking solutions in which bike manufacturers worked closely with locales. Furthermore our field research particularly at Union Cycles in Vancouver opened our eyes to a growing trend of bike customization among city riders.
Norco could strengthen their relationship with customers and in turn, local bike shops by engaging both in the creation of a dynamic product
We found that Norco only engaged their customers through the third party channel of independent bike dealers. It was crucial to stabilize and fortify the connections between the three key stakeholders, Norco, Independent Bike Dealers and City Bikers.
A Viable Local Solution
We began by proposing new groupings of Norco city bikes reducing the seven confusing categories into three, named by their main intent of use. Taking this further, my research revealed the production and distribution system supports closer collaboration with cities than any bicycle manufacturer is currently doing. Bike customization and local solutions are current micro trends that no big industry player was addressing.
Norco could create three midrange bikes made from parts of existing Norco parts, specifically tailored to each city’s unique ecosystem and cycling infrastructure.
Educating By Engaging
Norco’s website is the starting point for many purchases so in addition to simplifying the seven categories, we wanted to redesign the product discovery experience. Currently costumers are shown a confusing spec-sheet underneath a neutral product image. We explored using parallax scrolling and overlays on bike parts in order to chunk information and present useful specs spatially and in a familiar context.
If accessed on a mobile phone the interface would present even more digestible chunks of product information relevant particularly to an in-store context. Costumers would also be linked to real people by viewing stories about the products written by real people in their city.
Thinking In Stories
We used storytelling as tool to build the sense of the local Norco community. Getting Norco riders talking about their city, something that happens naturally anyways, could build a sense of community and also provide aspirational motivations for potential customers. Existing customers would be able to share a story related to city cycling prompts such as Raincouver anytime including on an in-store tablet.
Utilize 10-15 minutes of idle time on return visits to re-engage customers