The Wrong Login Can Kill An App

Bushel.ag is a mobile app designed to help elevators serve their farmers.  Earlier competitors had farmers log in every time they wanted to use the app.  All the competitors failed.

Bushel’s secret sauce, login once with a phone number, keep the user logged in for one year.  I’m sure they are using some sort of long lived token or device ID in the background.

They are able to demonstrate value from the app in under 2 minutes and they keep it valuable so the farmer wants to keep coming back.

Jake Joraanstad the CEO of Bushel.ag

At the Sioux Falls Innovation Expo

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Don’t Be An 18th Century Product Manager

Even when you find genuinely good things to copy, there’s another pitfall to be avoided. Be careful to copy what makes them good, rather than their flaws. It’s easy to be drawn into imitating flaws, because they’re easier to see, and of course easier to copy too. For example, most painters in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries used brownish colors. They were imitating the great painters of the Renaissance, whose paintings by that time were brown with dirt. Those paintings have since been cleaned, revealing brilliant colors; their imitators are of course still brown.

Paul Graham

The lesson here for product managers is to make sure you understand the customer for that feature you are thinking of copying.  You never know when a feature that looks so bright and shinny from the outside is another product manager’s nightmare feature on the inside.

The competitor’s customers are probably different, their customer problems are probably different, and their long term strategy is probably different.  If you aren’t building something that is truly valuable to your customer, you could end up with a feature that flops…that stays “brown”.

1st Financial Bank Flow

I drive by 1st Financial Bank everyday on my way to work and I was curious about what they do.  Turns out they issue student credit cards.  I tried to get one for my collection.

 

1.  Application Page

1st Financial Bank Application

2.  Confirmation Page

1st Financial Bank Confirmation

 

3.  Receipt Page

1st Financial Bank Receipt

 

I never got my personal invitation in the mail.  I think they must know I am not a student.

 

 

Eliminating My Wallet

I have been trying to minimize and eventually eliminate my wallet and keys for a couple of years.  I recently tried to scan all my membership cards into a mobile app.  It made my wallet very thin, but there was a problem.  Retail locations can not scan my phone and cashiers have to manual type my number every time, which completely negates any convenience from eliminating my wallet.

As a millennial trying to eliminate my wallet, I want POS systems to be able to scan my digitized membership cards, so the front line staff doesn’t have to manually enter my number.

-Verify the number is correct in the POS system
-Verify that the process can be completed in less than 2 seconds

OCR of License Plates in Drive Through

Background

The app is the Taco Bell mobile app; customers can earn rewards, get coupons, and order food for pickup.  After conducting customer interviews and a small survey (n=2), the biggest consumer problem is the need to get fast food into the customer’s mouth faster.  The existing pickup experience has too much friction; it requires the customer to tell us when he is on his way and to read a number to the cashier.

 

Feature Overview

The new feature would rely on license plate optical character recognition (OCR) scanners to notify the food preparation team to make the food when the customer pulls into the parking lot and to notify the cashier which car to hand the food to in the drive through.  Taco Bell and Dominos are the market leaders in using technology to improve their fast food deliver experience, but the same feature would improve any app to physical pickup experience.

 

Personas

Our target customer is “David Drive Through”.  He has a smart phone with a data plan that he uses continually.  David eats Taco Bell more than once per week.  He orders the same thing 60% of the time, but he is attracted to new items and specials.  David uses the drive through when he is on the way to work and he will not eat here if he thinks it will take too long.  If Dave comes with friends, they will come into the store so they can each pay separately (future feature idea).

 

User Stories

  1. As David placing my first online order, I want to enter my license plate number, so that I can get my food faster.

 

  1. As David placing my second order online, I just want to pick my food and hit the order button, so that the experience can be as transparent as possible.

-Verify that the customer can hit one button to repeat last order.

 

  1. As David after I receive my food, I want to receive an in app notification, so that I can know my credit card was charged.

-Verify that there is a feedback mechanism in the alert to block fraudulent purchases.

 

  1. As the food preparation team, I want David’s food added to my order que when he pulls into the parking lot, so we can have it hot and ready for him.

 

  1. As the cashier, I want to know when I should hold David’s food out the window, so he does not even have to stop.

 

  1. As the restaurant manager, I want to report against in app purchase in my location, so that I can manage my business.

 

Validation/Modeling

The expectation is that this feature will save time for the cashier, make the food preparation more effective, drive new customers into stores, and increase the frequency that existing customers visit the store.  We will measure or estimate each of these variables to justify the cost of two OCR scanners in each location and the development expense.  I propose we pilot this feature in the Sioux Falls market, where we can iteratively improve the feature before a nationwide launch.