Strategy, UX Design, UI Design
At the beginning of 2019 the homee team approached me with an interesting hypothesis: They assumed that homee users would be very interested in buying smart home products directly from inside the app opening up a lot of very intersting business opportunities and advantages for the homee GmbH as well as for the users. We decided to quickly build this InApp store and test this hypothesis. Spoiler alert: The hypothesis has proven to be true...
No matter what project and how much time there is, I always start with asking two question: What are the goals of this project (business & user outcomes)? And where do we stand (what do we know, assume, don't know)? In some projects – when there is enough time and the stakes of getting this wrong are high – I take quite a lot of time to answer this (noramlly during a 1-2 day workshop). In this case though we decided to move quickly and so I asked these questions during a phone call, took some more notes on this afterwards (including some own thoughts) and discussed these with the team.
The higher level business goals were to increase the sales of compatible smart home products but also to offer another attractive business opportunity to partners and open up a way for deeper collaborations and product partnerships. Of course homee also hoped to inscrease the customer loyalty.
The value proposition towards the homee users is to offer them lower prices and an increase the comfort and simplicity in finding the fitting products.
So what was quite clear from the start was: The users need to be able to shop compatible products comfortably from inside the app for the lowest price and with the assurance that these products are highly compatible. And maybe most important of all: all of that needs to be as convenient as possible.
We had another hypothesis though: To drive sales inside the app we need to add an inspiration element to the homee InApp store. A place where the users can find new ways of making their home smart and get easy access to everything they will need to realize that inside their own homes. That is why we added the discover section to the very front of the app. Here the user finds the mentioned inspiring usage examples but also interesting deals and tips from the homee team.
By that time I started calling our new feature "homee world", because I felt like it has become way more than just an InApp store. And the cool thing is that this name stuck with it and is now the official name 😊
When working on the concept I also thought about what else we could do with this new important part of the homee app in the future. I see a lot of potential in adding a community aspect to it, where homee users can inspire others with the way they use homee. And I also think that it will be interesting to think about how the homee GmbH can add even more recurring income streams to their business strategy that will in turn help cover the regular software development costs. Be it through digital InApp purchases, pro features or maybe even some kind of memberships. Either way, I think there is a lot of potential in this for the future!