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#4 Cases Of Thinking Through The Experience Design In a way, a great product is a derivation of a great experience. And that's the holy grail for design thinking that has become ubiquitous today.

By Sandeep Soni

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How technology entrepreneurs are using design thinking mindset to break away from the clichéd problems solution formula, they thought was scalable, to achieve growth. After all, coding their way through problems can't work every time.

Products are dead. They no longer differentiate you from other brands. But what does - is the experience they offer, as customers look for experience that's intuitive, personalized, and realistic. This goes beyond just creating a great product. For instance, Apple wins over experience against Samsung despite their phones having almost similar specifications and competing in the same price range. In a way, a great product is a derivation of a great experience. And that's the holy grail for design thinking that has become ubiquitous today. Top global brands use design thinking – the cognitive approach to derive solutions for customers by connecting with them at the emotional level – as nucleus to whatever they do. "This is an inside – out process, which can be practiced by entrepreneurs as a way of working on day-to-day basis and at the same time – can be sourced to a design agency for specialized needs," opines design expert Shuchi Gangwal, Founder & Principal Designer of design studio - Kypsa. Chew on the following examples to "design think' your problem. It always works.

(This article was first published in the May issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)


Disrupting the retail pharmacy space was a great idea for PharmEasy's Dharmil Sheth in February 2015 by creating an online pharmacy platform. But it was easier said than done. Four months into the business, it didn't go anywhere. So Sheth came up with a solution: categorize medicines for patients to find them easily but that too didn't work. Because PharmEasy couldn't deliver medicine without prescription, the customer would give prescription to the delivery boy who would take it the store to verify the prescription and then deliver the medicine.

Hence, customers were reluctant to buy online. So Sheth and his team, one fine morning, went out asking the customers why they leave PharmEasy mid way without completing the transaction. He came across a very fundamental issue. He says, "More than 50 per cent of the patients cannot read medicines' names on the prescription. They take it to a local chemist store who can read it for them."

So, Sheth tossed out an idea that aimed at replicating the offline behavior: to ask customers to upload the prescription's image on PharmEasy where comprehension of the prescription is done by the pharmacist in the backend. Soon after that the results were in: the orders went up from just around 15 to 50 everyday and monthly growth from 30 per cent to 200 per cent apart from 50 per cent reduction on the development cost from cart-based selection to image-based.


As digital payments in India goes through an inflection point, a number of payment gateways have stepped in to facilitate that change. Among many payment gateways has been Mumbai-based software-as-a-service Airpay Payment Services co-founded by Kunal Jhunjhunwala in 2012.

The process of transacting via Airpay was similar too but till nine months back. Customers using Airpay, much like other payment gateways used to fill in their personal details along with payment details and were re-directed to the payment gateway page. But here was the catch, the customer would have to re-do the entire cycle right from selecting the product if he/she made mistake on the payment page.

Jhunjhunwala looked at customer history and noticed where customers were getting lost. He says, "We tried many things to reach there. We came back to our first problem where the consumer left without making payment because he was redirected back from where he started." The solution Jhunjhunwala came up with has been pretty unique now: Airpay would send the customers on the same page to fill details correctly.

"As customers will make mistake, the technology has to gracefully fix it for them. There are more reference sales now with word of mouth from 800 merchants that we have," states Jhunjhunwala. There's 40 per cent growth in transactions since then for Airpay, from 100 to up to 200 transactions per day


November 2016, it was already more than 18 months for Thirukumaran Nagarajan running NinjaCart – Bengaluru-based business to-business agri-marketing platform that he had pivoted to, from earlier model of hyperlocal grocery delivery. And he didn't seem lucky second time as well.

He says, "The consumer base was not growing that fast." So Nagarajan tried everything generic. "We reduced the prices but sales still didn't happen. We looked at improving the quality by reducing returns, but that too didn't work," he adds. Sitting at the office one afternoon Nagarajan went back to the promises made to his customers. "We pitched five things to customers to be better than others – affordable price, better quality, availability, fulfillment and timely delivery but couldn't maintain all of them," he admits. For e.g. NinjaCart promised to be one-stop shop but often many products weren't available. This meant changes in the supply chain.

"We made the supply chain "flow-based'. Earlier the supply used to be from farmers to warehouse and then to customers. We changed that from farmers to fulfillment centres followed by distribution centres and then to customers which reduced our logistics cost by 25 per cent to Rs 1.1 lakh daily from Rs 1.4 lakh earlier," explains Nagarajan. From March onwards things started improving: Our quality improved as our returns dropped from 11 per cent to 3 per cent and pricing became 10 per cent competitive to market rates. Also fulfillment rate hit 99 per cent, on time delivery was at 95 per cent.


Chennai based Rajesh Nahar is among the lesser known Internet entrepreneurs of 90s India who started with an online grocery business in 1998 with Chennaibazaar. com. In 2005, he launched online clothing store called Cbazaar.com for Indian diaspora worldwide in 2005.

Like other online retailers for clothes, Nahar had the challenge of touch-and feel. He says, "Talking to them we realized the need for touch-and-feel experience of the fabric at least for the first time buyer." So he tried few things except discounts. Cbazaar created a widget to help customers buy what they want. "We spent eight months to help discovery of products and better conversion but it didn't work. We also promised deliveries within seven days but that too went down. We lost $1-2 million in this," remembers Nahar.

He later looked at the pattern where customers left the website: most of them leave after selecting an outfit. So Nahar decided to separate the two parts of buying online – one where product discovery, outfit trial, measurement and fitting, customization and style recommendation. And secondly, where transaction happens. Nahar pulled out the former from his portal and offered those services by setting up a "Guide Shop' – a 200-400 sq. ft physical store.

Here, customers can touch, feel and fit themselves into the samples of best selling designs on Cbazaar at the Guide Shop. For this, Nahar partnered with Cbazaar most loyal customers, who have done at least 50 transactions on its portal. While he didn't disclose, but partner-customers are assumed to be taking cuts on sales. "It has impacted my overall online conversion as knowing about our offline presence adds credibility to our brand among customers. In fact they add five per cent to our total revenues," maintains Nahar. Currently, there are three Guide Shops – in New York, Los Angeles in the US and Chennai in India.

Sandeep Soni

Former Features Editor

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