a new in-store process which allows for efficient processing and execution of services.
Discount Tire Company is an independent tire and wheel retailer. Discount Tire operates in most of the Lower 48 states in the United States, and is the largest independent tire and wheel retailer in the world. The company is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.
- Research - 6 Sprints
- Design - 6 Sprints
- Dev - 6 Sprints
- User Research
- User Experience
Picture from the Brainstorming session. We analyzed all aspects of the shopping experience to identify which would require the most UX support for the customers.
Discount Tire (America’s Tire in California) were exclusively brick and mortar stores with a separate e-commerce online presence until 2016. In 2017, they converged both aspects of the business by allowing customers to make online reservations and/or purchases rather than relying solely on calling the store or visiting a location in hopes of receiving successful service (depending on if the items sought were in stock at those locations).
Upon implementation of the new online shopping experience, shops were not prepared for the increased requests, especially when it came to managing the flow of traffic in stores, increased inventory from online reservations (later, purchases) and having the ability to plan ahead for efficiency.
- The online shopping experience as it was created (externally) did not account for the unique parameters that are to be considered while shopping for tires and wheels (ex: standard sizes vs. aftermarket sizes vs. staggered vehicles).
- Shops only allow for services to be performed on a first come, first serve basis.
- Shops are often met with scenarios where customers bring multiple vehicles to be serviced simultaneously.
- Customers were unaware of the wait time involved with their requested services. They are presented with the option to leave their vehicle at the desired location and are notified via phone once the service has been successfully concluded.
The UX team did extensive research on best practices and participated in service in-person shop visits when it came to how to best approach these concerns. Since many Discount Tire’s competitors did not have capacity to utilize a system to address these types of processes due to lack of storefronts, we drew a great deal of inspiration from Google map results and non-automotive related e-commerce stores to reference in the new feature. We also worked with the data analytics team to uncover the following information which were useful to the users to include:
- Average time needed to successfully complete services on the top 100 vehicles owned by customers.
- Store foot traffic trends for each location.
- How to set expectations or avoid customer and shop employee pain points as expressed via various means.
With these things in mind, the general consensus was that a feature would be created for the online experience (during check out) which would allow customers to operate with the intention of setting appointments for their tire and/or wheel purchase installations.
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry)
- The customers presented with the appointment availability for either the current or following day (if the in-stock purchase/reservation is being requested within 2-hours of a store closing or after a store has closed).
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Purchased/reserved items ordered
- In the event that the purchased/reserved items are not in stock, the customer would be presented with appointment dates and times which reflect the worse case scenario to avoid a negative in-store experience.
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Appointment date and time selected
- Once the customer engages with the appointment parameters that are available for the location, they will be met with immediate confirmation that those entry points are valid and can proceed to confirm the appointment.
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Appointment date and time no longer available
- In the event that the preferred appointment parameters are no longer available (either the another customer was quicker at confirming the reservation or intervention from the location), the user would then be met with messaging stating that it is no longer a valid entry and cant proceed within the flow until alternative selections are made.
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Peak Times
- For each location, “peak times” are designated to represent timeframes where historically the most foot traffic occurs. Customers arent discouraged from selecting appointment times within the range, however, they are provided additional insight with the intent of setting proper expectation.
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Peak Times > Time Select > “Yes”
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Peak Times > Time Select > “Yes” > Expected Return Options
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Peak Times > Time Select > “Yes” > Expected Return Selected
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) >Appointment confirmation
Checkout (install with Appointment flow ENtry) > Appointment confirmation > Tool Tip
- In the event that the customer decides to drop off their vehicle to be serviced, they will then be presented with a range of times to indicate when they anticipate to return (the first time available is 2 hours after the appointment time to allow the service to be completed). After that range has been selected, they can proceed with confirming their appointment.
We were able to successfully complete usability testing with 10 participants. Of those 10, 9 of those had no issue following or tracking the prompts presented or had a lapse in understanding what tasks they were required to complete for a successful session. 1 of the participants provided such dense and intentionally feedback that it required the team to rethink the execution of the “peak times” feature. We ended up being much more intentional about the approach rather than presenting the user was a pre-determinded time of completion.
- Initial feedback from both customers and shop employees was overwhelmingly positive with the delight index score increasing by 25% after the first 3 months of implementation.
- Substantial increase in overall online reservations.
- The feature improved communication between shop and customer, allowing for a more seamless transaction to occur.
- The success of this effort prompted discovery exercises into understanding how to improve the overall in-store experience.