Never forget that there are countless ways to enhance the user experience. While our primary focus often centers on improving the product itself, it’s crucial to remember that the journey a product takes before it reaches the user is an integral part of their overall experience…
The challenge of VanMoof
In the world of e-commerce, where global shipping connects products with customers across vast distances, one company faced a challenge that would test the boundaries of its commitment to user experience. VanMoof, the renowned Dutch electric bicycle manufacturer, embarked on a journey into the heart of user-centric design when they expanded their operations to the United States in 2015. While the promise of transoceanic shipping opened doors to new horizons, it also unveiled a perplexing problem – their beloved products were arriving to customers mostly damaged.
The initial reaction was to reinforce the packaging. Sturdy boxes and meticulous packing techniques were employed, but the problem persisted. Next, they switched shipping providers, hoping the problem was the carriers. However, the problem kept standing.
Between all these different solution trials, VanMoof refused to concede defeat. Their commitment to providing a seamless user experience spurred them to dig deeper. They understood that the journey of a product is as essential as the product itself in the eyes of the customer. This realization ignited a quest for innovative solutions, and it was about to revolutionize not only their approach but the entire way of shipping the products purchased with e-commerce.
The idea change the world
The breakthrough, however, didn’t arrive through conventional means. Instead of reinforcing boxes or seeking out new shipping partners, VanMoof took a bold step that would redefine the essence of their user experience. It was a moment of pure genius.
The crux of the problem, as they realized, lay in the perception of their bicycles by the employees of the shipping companies. To these hardworking hands, a bicycle in a box was seen as ‘metal,’ ‘solid,’ and just another package to handle. The pivotal moment came when Ties Carlier, one of the founding partners of VanMoof, had a visionary idea. He observed, ‘Our boxes look very similar to those of big-screen, expensive televisions. Let’s swap the bicycle image on the boxes for television visuals.’
And so, the change was made. The transformation was simple yet profound. The perception shifted from ‘bicycle: durable but mundane’ to ‘television: sensitive, expensive, and easily damaged.’ It was a shift in mindset, a visual pivot, and a reimagining of the very essence of their product’s journey.
The impact of a single change
The impact was astonishing. As anticipated, the alteration of the box print triggered an immediate transformation in the minds of those handling the packages. With the image of a fragile television on the boxes, the rate of damage to both boxes and products plummeted by a staggering 80%.
This story serves as a potent reminder that sometimes, the most effective solutions are born not from complex strategies, but from a simple change in perception. While discussions initially revolved around improving packaging and partnering with reliable carriers, the ultimate solution was achieved through a remarkably simple yet brilliant interface change—one that forever etched its place in the annals of legendary customer experiences.