+4 votes

    Post and review answers and feedback to answers in the comments section of this post.

    asked in Product Launch by (1.2k points) | 562 views

    5 Answers

    +4 votes

    I would clarify what the product is in the interviewers eyes to make sure my assumptions of Amazon Go from what is publicly available is aligned. Assumption to clarify – expedited grocery store with smart tech identifying who is shopping and what they’ve selected while shopping to charge their Amazon account rather than making them spend time in line at checkout.

    Interviewer confirms.

    Now what is the goal and purpose of Amazon Go? In my clarification with the interviewer it was hinted that it’s the viability of a grocery store without checkout. I’d explicitly clarify that goal with the interviewer.

    Say we align on this goal…”Prove Amazon Go concept is viable”

    Now we need to determine what success for that goal looks like. I’d discuss options with the interviewer to align how we measure success.

    A few options include:
    1) number of successful shopping transactions?
    2) number of repeat customers above x%
    3) number of items in checkout
    4) average $ value of shopping cart at checkout

    We would also need to have a standard grocery store with normal checkout to compare as an A/B test to insure the metrics above are at parity with or better than standard grocery stores. Reason I say this, if Amazon Go launches and gets 1M users right away it may not be a success if they spend less in shopping cart value, buy less profitable items, etc. In grocery business margins are key, quite often grocery stores will have a loss leader item that attracts users but shoppers have to spend more than the loss leader loses to make it worth it. Will discuss this further during pre-launch and launch.

    Final decisions
    -Goal: Prove viability of Amazon Go concept by proving that Amazon Go saves shoppers time shopping while causing no harm to required margins to stay profitable”

    I would have two stores with the exact same suite of products including loss leaders to attract users, price points, etc. This will allow me to compare impact of the time savings without checkout on core metrics for grocery stores of margins, total $ volume, and # of users = profit.

    Now we need to clarify who the target user is and location of launch along with the strategy to get target user in target location.

    I would look at several possible target segments of grocery shoppers:
    a) young (18-30) single adults
    b) married but no children/dependents (likely 30-50 years old)
    c) married with children/dependents
    d) married and/or single but older retired with no children/dependents

    I would focus on segment C) as that is the group that likely spends the most money on groceries. You could get more narrow by sub segmenting this group into high income, low income, etc. but for simplicity lets focus on the broader whole of segment C).

    What’s the focus area for launching the product?

    a) rural
    b) suburban
    c) metropolitan

    I’d target location C) here as that gives the highest opportunity to capture the most grocery store visitors and making some assumptions I’d propose that metropolitan life is busier and users in this area value time saved shopping versus the more laidback lifestyle in rural and suburban areas.

    Also going to go with a metropolitan area where we have a presence to easily monitor and test the concept in with quick and frequent changes.

    We need to focus on announcing and drawing target users into store once it’s launched. We’re in a metropolitan focusing on married couples with children/dependents. Making assumptions here but going with the fact that they read newspaper, watch the news, and are active amazon app users. Would run campaigns in all three mediums announcing the launch of the store.

    I wouldn’t mix things up too much during launch as I don’t want to muddy the variables of the A/B test. If there are more than the above stated goals we could always run a multi-variate test with 3+ stores with each having a different mix to find out which one most greatly impacts revenue. I’m sticking with one control store and one test store for simplicity of first test and MVP.

    This is where critical measurement of core metrics matter.

    I would look at:
    1) total number of customers from test store with Amazon Go compared to total number of customers at control
    2) then compare number of successful transactions (users bought items) for both stores
    3) I’d look at time from entry of store to exit for successful transactions of users at both stores
    4) I’d look at total $ of purchases at both locations
    5) I’d look at avg $ of each shopping cart at each location
    6) I’d look at profits from each location

    If the number of shoppers at one location was different than the other I’d take a random number of users from the store with more shoppers equaling the store with less shoppers to help compare exact numbers apples to apples on top of totals. For example, if Amazon Go had less shoppers but was more successful in terms of profits, $ volume spent, less time spent in store per successful transaction but had less total shoppers you would consider it successful and see if you can run another test to find ways to attract more shoppers.

    answered by (37 points)
    Hi ReidC,
    Thank you for submitting your answer. I really like this answer. You selected a very meaningful goal right from the beginning. Your approach to compare Amazon Go against a traditional grocery store is interesting. I think you have the right thinking. Amazon Go is really competing against traditional grocery stores. Overall, I’d say it’s a 5 out of 5:)
    Thanks Bijan! Quick question, one area I felt like I was struggling as I composed my answer was the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch areas to ensure I address them all. Do you have any suggestions on what to make sure is touched in each of the three areas?
    I do a couple things to help me organize my thoughts on this. First, I remind myself of the overall goal and the objective of each phase of launch.

    You’re preparing for a successful launch. Activities that take sometime to complete prior to launch (e.g. partnerships) belong to here. Some of the activities I have memorized are: inbound marketing (SEO, social, content), outbound marketing (online ads, PR, offline ads, trade shows, conferences, etc), Partnerships (cobranding, cosales, distribution), Defining KPI’s

    Activities you have to do on the launch date or close to the launch date belong to this section. Some activities that I have in my head are: inbound marketing, outbound marketing, setting up web pages, working with distributors and resellers, press release, pricing strategy,

    Note: some activities are listed in both pre-launch and launch activities. You have to take the context into consideration. For example, a Press Release about “Apple launching HomePod in 6 months” is a pre-launch activity. A press release about “Apple launching HomePod tomorrow” is a launch activity.

    Post-launch: reflect on what’s been done. Determine if there was success / failure. Measure performance. Determine how the collected info can be used for the future.

    Hope it helps.
    0 votes

    First, I will make sure that I have a good understanding of Amazon Go. From what I know it is a brick and mortar grocery store where in customers can essentially pick up the groceries and leave without being in a checkout line.
    The user’s amazon account gets billed. The interviewer agrees that my understanding is correct.

    Once this is clear, I will understand the requirements of Amazon Go. 1. smartphone/tablet with Amazon Go app. 2. Amazon account with a registered/ valid credit card.

    I will understand what the target customer segment is. whether any location/city has been already decided.

    Assume the answers given to me are – Working couples with family. Location is Seattle Downtown.

    I will then understand the products that are going to be provided in the store – say regular groceries as you would find in a Safeway.

    Goal for Amazon – Market share, vs. revenue,

    Goal for customer – Efficiency – time spent in the store.

    Goal for app – Ease of finding things that the user wants.

    Assume it is revenue.

    Pre -launch:

    Location – Decided: Seattle downtown
    Pricing – I would price products competitively taking into account the groceries stores available in the neighborhood.
    Partners: I will partner with local farmers to get fresh produce to the store in addition with partnering with regular partners that will be useful to stock the store.

    Launch –
    Promotion – Advertise in location TV, Seattle times, in Seahawks, Washington Huskies and Mariners games. In addition I will target users who work in the area via location information obtained from the amazon app and present ads via Amazon prime and when the use their Amazon application. I will also get influencers in Seattle to serve as brand ambassadors. The advertisements will illustrate the advantages of Amazon Go – Efficiency without sacrificing on cost.

    Post Launch – Goal is revenue. Salient point of store is efficiency
    I will track the following metrics – Two products here – One is the store, second is the application.
    1. Number of footfalls
    2. Number of conversions once people enter the store.
    3. ID of people who frequent the store
    4. Who have the opportunity to visit the store and yet are not visiting the store.
    5. Revenue/day.
    6. Average time spent in the store.
    7. Time to find items.
    8. Customer feedback (positive/negative)
    9. Number of items searched that is not present in the store.
    10. Efficiency of the application.
    11. Number of downloads of app.
    12. Cost of acquisition of customer.
    13. Ease of search in the application

    Use feedback and metrics to improve products that are available as well as improve the application.

    answered by (504 points)
    Hi there,
    Thanks for the answer. I think the answer is well structured and shows your ability to think like a product manager. I especially like your Post-launch activities. Very well organized and clear.
    I would have, however, selected a different goal for the project launch. I think the goal at this time is ‘determine if Amazon Go is a promising business venture or not”. Amazon runs lots of experiments and this is one of the experiments they are running.
    I would have also listed a few strategies before jumping into the implementation phase. My thinking process for a product launch question is as followed:
    1- ask clarifying questions
    2- determine the goal
    3- list strategies to achieve that goal
    4- List out activities for pre-launch, during launch, post launch
    5- summarize answer

    I think you cover strategies to an extent by highlighting the location and demographic but I would have made it more clear that you’re discussing the strategies to achieve your goal. Hope it helps.
    0 votes

    What do you think of this answer?

    I will first confirm my understanding of how Amazon Go works. Basically, Amazon Go enables Amazon customers to visit an Amazon Go grocery store, pick the grocery items they like, and walk away with the units without having to go to check out. Amazon Go’s computer vision and sensors automatically detect the person and the items purchased and automatically charge the customer.

    Given that the new service is a very different than existing solutions, I think the goal of the launch should be to test the service, processes, customer experience from beginning. Use this opportunity to learn about the good and bad things about Amazon Go as much as possible and tweak out the details before launching the product at a large scale. Here, I’m assuming the product has not been launched yet and is being launched for the first time.

    Given the goal described above, here are my strategies for the launch:
    – pick a small geographical location – I suggest a place close to the head office to enable project employees to visit store and see first hand how things are going. Downtown Seattle can be a good choice.
    – target users can be people who are busy and appreciate time saving via no-check out. One particular demographic that comes to mind is Amazon customers who are professionals in their 30’s. I suggest we focus on this demographic during the pilot
    – In the grocery business, freshness of the grocery is very important. Ensure the groceries are always fresh

    Now let’s think of ideas to launch this service:
    At pre-launch phase, here are some of the activities I recommend:
    – start promoting the launch of the service via Amazon website and with press release – to drive attention of the Amazon customers to the program and to help the public see Amazon as the leading innovator in retail
    – Select products based on frequency of purchases by looking at some of the existing convenient stores such as 7-11
    – As I mentioned earlier, in the grocery business, freshness of the grocery is very important. Ensure the groceries are always fresh by developing an algorithm that keeps track of the time a grocery has been in store. Once it passes certain number of days, it should inform the staff so that they can remove it from the store
    – Partner with grocery distribution companies that can deliver high quality fresh groceries to the stores at a highly frequent basis

    During launch phase, here are my suggested activities:
    – provide a few staff at the stores to ensure they can gather list of questions and concerns from customers
    – enable product managers / customer experience team to closely monitor how customers make purchases / points of friction / etc
    – promote launch via Amazon website / app to target demographic
    – publish press release to share the story with the media outlet – leverage opportunity to position Amazon as a leading innovative retailer
    – create landing page, videos, content on the Amazon website to introduce the program and its benefits

    Post launch, here are the list of suggested activities:
    – measure retention rate (what % come back to Amazon Go to purchase), impact on average spending per month (does it increase participating Amazon customer’s spending per month?), time to visit shop (compare to traditional numbers to determine if you’re solving a real problem), impact on Amazon.com and Amazon app purchasing behaviour, etc.
    – complete surveys to obtain customer feedback and opinion on the program, ways to improve it, etc
    – measure number of customers per square footage at various times of the day to ensure that the store size, design and number of units on the shelves match with the customer demand
    – Use new information to improve Amazon Go

    answered by (13 points)
    Thanks for the info. I think the answer is well structured, realizes the importance of a new product launch, and shows that you have business sense to evaluate the program success.

    Your project goal hints to the fact that this is a new service and we are still experimenting. I would have highlighted this goal in the pre-launch activities and added a task that determines the KPI’s for the product launch. The PM on this project would want to know what is success in the eyes of Jeff Bezos for this project. Maybe you can at an activity that suggests “determine KPI’s for the program and communicate internally with senior executives to ensure that we are all on the same page as to what we are trying to achieve with this launch”. You must also suggest what the KPI’s should be given that you’re the CEO of the product. This step can give you some guidance on your priorities during next phases of the product launch.

    I also suggest wrapping up your answer by providing a quick summary of the answer. Briefly review the goal, strategies, and implementation activities.

    I loved these points:

    – provide a few staff at the stores to ensure they can gather list of questions and concerns from customers
    – enable product managers / customer experience team to closely monitor how customers make purchases / points of friction / etc

    – measure number of customers per square footage at various times of the day to ensure that the store size, design and number of units on the shelves match with the customer demand

    0 votes

    What is Amazon Go – Amazon Go is completely automated supermarket concept by amazon – No check out lanes, no clerks, juck pick up stuff and go.

    Some of the features:
    • Stuff on the aisles monitored using sensors.
    • Using advanced camera, imaging and sensor technologies know whether something is picked up by the consumer or kept back on the shelf.
    • Pre-packaged stuff mostly (no loose weightable stuff )
    • Sign up on amazon go
    • Walk out of the lanes
    • Automatically billed and receipt sent

    Launch goals:
    • Out of increase sales/increase profit/build brand/test new concept and get feedback
    • Assume goal is – test and gather feedback on the new concept. Assuming results is favorable amazon can revoultuize retail by making it human less largely increasing profitability

    • No direct competition
    • Indirect completion – vending machines, self-check out lanes in supermarkets

    Key challenges:
    • Making it appealing to a wider non-millenium kind of users
    • Ensuring each item picked off the shelf is billed
    • Ensuring the customer is not billed for something not taken (that would be the worst)

    • Pre-launch –
    -Think of this service as a giant vending machine in which a person can enter and pick his own stuff
    – Likely customer for AzGo is tech savvy high income guy segment who does shopping online.
    – Choose customer locations – Airports /Hotels /Downtown//Strip malls //Wider public launch suberbs
    — For my launch I will pick – hotels and airports keeping in mind the limited selection and corporate hitech customer base. Will pick top 5 biggest airports in the USA,

    o Once location is chosen start working on creating the buzz. Create buzz using online and offline media:
     Online – google adwords for anyone flying through the airport
     Offline – banners/standees in the airport
     Airline newsletters
     At the location – coming soon….download and register now for $10 free shopping.. share with a fellow traveler
     Hotel – flyers in the room – stickers – we are Amazon Go enabled property

    • Launch
    o For first few weeks/month have a support person just in case a customer need some help.
    o Take feedback – ask users to provide feedback to improve service.
    o Measure accuracy of technology
    o Increase buzz – by asking users to share with friends for a small $5 reward
    o Ensure inventory –
    o Manage inventory keeping in mind things that are moving

    Post launch

    o Customer support – amazon is highly customer focused so a support mechanism to resolve any issues a customer may have.

    o KPIs –
     Goal was to measure whether the experiment is successful or not.
     Two key things to measure –
    • Value of items incorrectly – overbilled or underbilled – as a % of total sales.
    • Footfall /day/month vis-à-vis a similar 7/11/
    • Sales/month/day
    • Sign ups for AzGo
    • Ratio of customer not purchasing/customer coming in – first few months there would be curious customer just to see it… so ignore some of it in the beginning.

    answered by (60 points)
    Great response. Thanks for submitting your answer. I really liked how you highlighted measuring number of incorrect scans. Given the fact that it’s a new technology, it should definitely be considered. Another metric along these lines could be a metric that helps measure theft.

    Couple feedback I would have:

    – the competition can be other grocery stores or Amazon Online Grocery store

    – I would have suggested starting with one location rather than multiple locations since this is a pilot

    – I noticed you suggested places close to airports and hotel. Would have been great to explain why.
    Thanks Bijan for your feedback. Airports and hotels were my choice because those are one place where you would find a bunch of corporate travelers who lack time and are likely customer for Azgo.

    This is a great platform. What makes it really valuable is multiple solutions from different candidates and then comparing different answers to see some great points one missed.
    Glad to hear you’re finding it valuable. Thanks for the kind words:)
    Regarding hotel & airport, I would explain why the (initial) users of the Amazon Go would be travellers but my guess is Amazon is going after a much larger demographic (anyone purchasing groceries on a daily basis) and they would want to launch their pilot by targeting those people.
    0 votes

    Clarifying Questions
    1. What’s this product all about? no checkout line experience?
    2. Is this a pilot or pilot is already done
    3. Is technology already tested/verified or it’s early days
    4. Are we doing it for feasibility study or for customer acquisition

    First of all I will establish Launch Goals – Assuming it’s more like a pilot. Goal would be to test the user experience in real life environment and verify that tech works. Also create a buzz.

    Next will be launch strategy. For this I will consider
    1. Target customer: People who are tech savvy, short on time, early adopter of tech.
    2. Target market: Large metro something like Bay Area. Something like SF downtown where you get good footfall/traffic.
    3. Buzz- Coverage in news channels, hoardings, coverage in press. Social media.
    4. Pilot/full launch – It will be a pilot launch. One or two stores.
    5. Risks: What if tech does not work? Have some human backup. What if too many people show up? Limit the no. of people entering the store.
    6. MVP/Full product: This is like MVP. Stock most commonly bought items which goes well with the tech. Smaller items rather than large items for example.

    answered by (120 points)

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