Redesigning the Bronco Experience for the 21st Century
In early 2018, I was commissioned to work with a product owner at the Bronco Motor Corporation, in Arizona. To assist with developing a number of product lines, and to work on building out a UX strategy and implementation plan. The Goal of the UX implementation as a first step in the process was to test out the prototyped product, in terms of the demand for it, and in order to further define the product offering, in order to meet user needs more closely.
The Vintage Ford Bronco market is extremely niche, with a maximum of 25 vehicles sold a year, at an average price of $200,000 each. Recent years have seen a resurgence in people buying and restoring cars from the 1960s - 70s . I was to learn that the Ford Bronco, the 70s version is a cult classic, that has appeared in a number of feature films including Easy Rider, and more recently the series "Yellowstone", starring Kevin Costner. This factor enforced the need to create an offering that would closely match what users want. Failure to do so would be highly costly. Hence, the approach of treading cautiously, and a first step of testing the proposition.
As this project was carried out under NDA, I have excluded any details that would contravene the terms.
To launch a minimum viable product offering by June 2021, when the first prototypes will be built.
To be the premiere Vintage Bronco seller, offering created not customised Broncos that promise reliable engineering created through a proprietary process. Recreating the spirit of the vintage Ford Bronco in a reliable trustworthy vehicle.
The Problem statement:
With such a niche product, which sells for a premium price. Where some users, still build from scratch. The challenge was:
"How might we convince Vintage Bronco buyers, to buy our product that is custom built - Not a refurbished vehicle. How would we manage the tradeoff, between something "perceived" as "authentic" vs "re-engineered. Creating a commercially viable product that is accepted by users".
Users as our research would reveal are high income individuals mainly identifying as male who are high earners.
- Product design
- User research
Scope and constraints:
We were to create only 3 product lines. The website was to be image heavy rather than text heavy. And the initial goal, was to simply gauge demand for the product, hence the goal of the website/UI, was simply to pick up enquiries. Prospects would then be invited into the retail premises to discuss their needs.
I created a few pieces of research during this process. The first was a cohort chart competitive analysis. Looking at players in the market that were offering a similar product proposition to ours. Research revealed, that there was a varied product offering. Some offered second hand sales, some rebuilds, some Electric vehicles, some offered parts sales, and some offered merchandise. Our main offering of a Bronco created and customised, rather than "rebuilt", somewhat overlapped, but was not the main proposition offered by any of the players.
All the players above, had a sales process in place, where the user was invited into the store rather than an ability to buy online. This is common with high end luxury products. For example Bugatti Veyron. The second piece of research was a user survey, aimed at existing Bronco users. I wished to determine, how they made their purchasing decisions. What product attributes they rated most highly. And where they bought their vintage Ford Bronco. Time was also spend in Bronco users groups, to get a "feel" for the type of person that typically goes out and buys a Bronco.
The research confirmed what we already knew in terms of demographics, that most users were high earning individuals, who owned a second and even third car. Aged between 36-60. And who did their research on forums and facebook.
What is a question, still to be answered is their choice of buying channel. The majority seem to buy privately, via facebook or craigslist. One concern noted was the fear of ending up with a "lemon" (lemon refers to a car one buys that breaks down very shortly, ending up in a costly mistake).
An optimistic hypothesis here might be, that there is still a large market to be exploited through our product proposition. A more pessimistic scenario might be, that people still prefer to use channels other than retail to make their purchase. Leading to a design question: "How might we build trust with non-retail buyers to convince them our product provides more reliability with the same authenticity?"
The MVP, proposition that we will be testing, will reveal more.
What we did learn from the research is that the some of the product attributes we assumed as favourable, stood in opposition to the research. This will mean a revision to the product, and perhaps more testing.
Our research revealed the following persona. The typical user, was affluent, aged around late to mid forties, already owned multiple cars. Was time poor. And although they loved cars, and collected them, had a concern with ending up with an expensive "lemon".
Mapping the customer User journey:
I mapped out the user journey with an estimate of 4-6 week long buying cycle. With the user first encountering the product via a facebook ad, and completing their journey in the company's premises for the final sale. This process revealed some shortcomings in our current "image heavy" website. The need for a FAQ section, and making of videos, to build trust. And perhaps adding a warranty to the product.
As the goal of the current website is to generate enquiries. With this first iteration of a minimum viable product. We wanted to get the user to the enquiry page, from as many points as possible, without appearing to push.
Outcomes and Results:
This project has meant, we now have more information regarding how the actual product proposition can be better built, to meet user needs. We also have more clarity around how the website, and general user experience around the UI needs to be structured in order to meet the goals set out.