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BRAND

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PROJECT

Chatbooks Subscription

ROLE

SUMMARY

I led design across several verticals within the Chatbooks organization. Throughout my time, I helped increase print rate, improved the book edit experience, improved conversion through checkout changes, mentored multiple designers, helped create the newest version of our design system and most recently (and importantly) re-invented the Chatbooks Subscription.

Senior UX Designer

WHAT IS SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR ALL?

I designed a subscription solution aimed at improving our existing Monthbooks subscription offering to broaden market accessibility and drive higher subscription conversions.

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TL;DR

From Monthbooks to the new Chatbooks Subscription

Monthbooks, our current subscription product, has shown impressive growth and performance. In 2022, my team successfully increased our Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) from $9 million to $20 million, surpassing $20 million in Gross Cash Reciepts (GCR) for subscriptions by the end of the year. However, our ambitious target for 2023 is to further elevate this number to $30 million.

While Monthbooks is a valuable offering, it does have certain limitations. These include:

  • a maximum of 30 pages per book

  • a single book size option

  • a 12-month payment cadence with one book delivered per month

  • strict use case, 30 photos per month with each book tied to a specific month

 

In order to address these shortcomings and cater to a wider range of customers, my goal was to develop a solution that not only remedies our current limitations but also creates a product that opens up TAM (Total Adressable Market) by aligning better with diverse customer needs and preferences.

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The Problem(s)

Number of books, subscription understanding, lack of features

Monthbooks is a great product, offering a monthly photobook subscription that empowers users to curate and print their own personalized book with 30 selected photos from each month. While we have maintained a relatively low churn rate of 4-5% compared to the industry average of 6-8%, we recognized the opportunity to expand our customer base and enhance the product's appeal.

Through an extensive analysis of data and valuable user interviews spanning over a year, we discovered a strong demand for more flexibility among our users. Several notable trends emerged from our findings, including:

  1. Subscription Quantity: Users expressed that our current subscription plan, consisting of 12 books per year, felt excessive and desired a more suitable quantity to align with their needs.

  2. Strict Use Case: Monthbooks attempted to create a habit by selling 12 books per year, 1 tied to each month which would allow users to add photos from that specific month. The problem, not everyone has 30 photos they want to print every month.

  3. Book Size and Collaging: The existing book size posed challenges for users who wanted to easily create collages or layouts with their selected photos. They desired a more accommodating book size option.

  4. Photo Selection: Users expressed the desire to choose photos beyond the specific month associated with their book, seeking greater freedom in selecting the photos they wished to include.

  5. Subscription Understanding: Some users encountered difficulties in comprehending how the subscription worked, indicating the need for improved clarity and communication.

  6. Additional Pages and Title Customization: Users desired the ability to add more pages to their photobooks and customize the titles according to their preferences.

It is important to note that our subscription product's unique nature as a physical product requiring user involvement in creation and printing presents additional challenges beyond those mentioned above. Addressing these challenges while incorporating user feedback and meeting their evolving needs will be crucial for the success and growth of our product.

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Iterations and Solutions

With the problems fresh in our mind I aimed at creating soutions to solve for those 

Billing cadences

PROBLEM

Only 12 books per year

Monthbooks was created to give our users 1 book per month, each tied to that specific month (ie. January book contained January photos)

SOLUTION

Add 4 and 6 books per year

By adding 4 and 6 books a year in addition to the current 12 book per year option and decoupling those books from specific months we could open up to a larger customer base seeking more flexibility.

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Book types

PROBLEM

Limited book options

Monthbooks offers 1 book size, 5 x 7" in hardcover and softcover with a variety of cover options. Some users feel like this is too small and has limited collage options.

SOLUTION

Add additional book options

We also decided in order to fit more customers needs we should add additional book sizes for 6x6", 8x8" and 6x8", and bindings (layflat). 

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Variable pages

PROBLEM

30 page maximum

Monthbooks was limited to 30 pages and a trend we heard from our users was "I have too many photos"

SOLUTION

Add up to 60 pages

We solved this by allowing users to add up to 60 pages by paying a per-page price for any pages over 30. 

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Titling

PROBLEM

No titling flexibility

Monthbooks were limited to only showing the month on the title (ex. January would only show January 2023 on the title)

SOLUTION

Ability to title

We decided to allow users to add a title or to remove it completely allowing the customer more flexibility with how they could use their books.

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Release schedule

PROBLEM

Strict 1 book per month

Whether a user purchased a monthly or annual plan we only would release 1 book per month tied to that specific month. Users complained that they felt it was too restrictive and didn't fit if they didn't have enough photos that month. 

SOLUTION

Flexible release options

I wanted to allow customers to use their photobooks for other things like travel, gifting, holidays and everything in-between. So, we added the ability for users to unlock and have the ability to create their books when they wanted. By purchasing an annual plan users could unlock all of their books at once and use them as they wish. 

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Photo curation

PROBLEM

Endless photos

With uniting the books from specific months we needed to also figure out a way to help users curate their photos and not just leave them with an entire camera roll to scroll through.

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SOLUTION

Suggested photo groups

In order to fix this we added a screen that brings forward curated groups of photos to not only help users create but also encourage different ways they could fill their books with photos. 

# of taps to conversion

PROBLEM

7 taps to convert

From intent to the conversion point was 7 taps. The two main peices of that flow were choosing book options (4 taps) and the paywall (3 taps).

SOLUTION

4 taps to convert

By creating a book options screen that defaulted options users could move quicker through the process reducing the nessecary taps from 4 to 1. Additionally, I turned our paywall from 3 taps to 1.

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This flow above shows what the Monthbooks flow looks like. The user chooses their cover type, cover color, and sees a quick screen for how the subscription works. From there they choose their billing cadence (monthly or annually) and the month they would like their books to start. With monthbooks each book is tied to a month and there is no flexibility on moving that or changing it. They proceed to checkout and then are dropped into the monthbooks hub.

In this updated flow we have implemented default selections that allow users to proceed without the need to individually choose each option if they prefer not to. However, if they wish to explore customization options, they can simply tap on the book size, cover type, and cover color to access the corresponding bottom sheet. As they make different selections, the price dynamically adjusts, enabling them to configure their ideal subscription with ease.

With this updated flow we were able to reduce the amount of taps needed to hit the paywall conversion point. 

After the user moves forward, they are presented with options to choose the number of books and the billing frequency. The flexibility of our product is enhanced by allowing users to select 4, 6, or 12 books, providing them with more choices. Additionally, they have the convenience of selecting their billing frequency, whether it's on an annual basis or one of our more flexible quarterly, bi-monthly or monthly cadences.

Once users have finalized their selections, they are directed to a screen that provides a comprehensive overview of their subscription and how it functions. This step ensures that users have a clear understanding of the subscription details before proceeding to the final paywall screen.

The final screen, known as the hub screen, underwent significant adjustments to accommodate the key difference of not associating a specific book with each month. We needed to create a more flexible layout that catered to both our existing customers and the revamped structure. The previous calendar-style design was not suitable for this purpose. Therefore, I redesigned the hub screen to prioritize the user's current purchase, while allowing them to purchase additional books throughout the year. To achieve this, I centered the user's attention on their current selection and moved past years to create a more user-friendly experience.

[wireframes + high fidelity]

Strategic release

My Product Manager and I engaged in strategic planning to determine the optimal approach for releasing the enhanced experience. Our objective was to introduce certain features into our existing subscription, Monthbooks, as a means to gauge their performance while simultaneously developing the new experience.

After careful consideration, we established the following release schedule:

  • Variable pages (add more than 30 pages to a book)

  • Titling (allowing user to change the title of the book)

  • V1 release (completely new flow)

What I learned

From the start when the executive team approached me with the idea of creating a subscription with more book options I had a vision of creating a subscription that could fit more customers and I didn't want to stop at book options.

 

Throughout the process, it was essential for myself and my PM to communicate our vision and goals to multiple departments.

  • We worked alongside operations to ensure we could add additional book sizes, colors and bindings, decide which ones we were going to release with and which didn't make as much sense. 

  • We worked with marketing to communicate our vision and test pricing ideas. Working hand-in-hand to create a plan for new photos and how we could merchandise the new options. 

  • The insights team to test prototypes, run surveys, discuss past tests and pull necessary data. 

  • The engineers to discuss feasibility, timeline, release schedule and possible solutions. 

All of this to say it takes a village. This project stretched me into ideating, collaborating and solution-ing with almost every department at Chatbooks. I grew as a designer exponentially during this process, I learned that I had the ability to not only effectively strategize but to come up with new ideas again and again until I came to one that fit.

Results

Variable Pages: Released May 8, 2023 increased print rate by

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