norco city

Engaging The City Cyclist on a Local & Personal Level

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The Pitch

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.

Role

Market Research
Customer Insights
Ideation
Digital Prototyping
Process Book
Visual Design

Team

Alex Honeywell
Nadhirah Shukri
Robyn Goodridge
Sean Leach
Venus Wan
Chris Elawa

Discovery

Insight

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.

a mind map of Norco and their industry immediately after interview with a company director
we found that Norco was failing to meaningfully engage their large city biking segment
Norco’s digital presence and brand expression emphasizes their road and mountain segments and not the ‘bread and butter’ of their sales, city bikes

Reframing

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.

the focus became making new customer into knowledgeable brand members

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.

Sarah is a 35 year old mother with a desire to ride with her family but limited practical bike knowledge.
Jim is a 45 year old marathon runner taking up cycling as a low-impact alternative to running.
Hans is a 67 year old retired grandfather wanting to get back into cycling to stay active.

Exploration

Listening

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.

the bicycle industry is projected to shift towards local solutions in the near future
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.

our proposal began to address the gaps in the stakeholder’s relationships

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.
I worked on developing the strategy and designing the identity of a hypothetical 'Vancouver Urban Bike'

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.

we explored the use of overlays as a method for contextual presentation of bicycle information

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.

parallax scrolling to learn about the bike and how it is designed for the given city
the information hierarchy on mobile would focus on individual parts and customer stories

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
in the overall experience we developed 4 key touchpoints deeply

Form

The Product

customers would quickly be able to identify category matches their lifestyle
customers would then learn about their cities' specific bikes with contextually relevant descriptions
the same imagery and bicycle headbadges are used to aid with easy identification on mobile
short tweets from city riders convey stories about riding Norco bikes in the given city, highlighting the brand tribe
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