Featured Project of the Month: A new day-pass checkout process for the Paid Media to increase conversion

We interviewed Frosina Tomaljakova (Head of  E-Commerce) about the implementation of the new check-out process and how it improved the conversion rate.

When Frosina joined Tamedia, the implementation of the new checkout process for the day pass was already in the making.

The trigger: A complicated checkout and no quick access to paid content on the paid media platforms.

The Abo system of the Paid Media technically requires a lot of information in order to enter the abonnement (subscription) into the system: Among the fields is, for example, a literal address field. With the days of a printed newspaper delivered to one’s home address receding into pre-digital history, we obviously needed to remove this barrier to the initial goal of a significant increase in conversion rates for daily passes.

This is when it was decided to create a more simple checkout process for users interested in “Abo+” - articles and wanting easy access to content for just one day. The goal was to create a technical solution that would make it possible for the users to enter solely an email address and credit card details, without any prior login or other obstacles. The timeline for the whole project was defined with a maximum of 6 months, with resources spent kept to a minimum, and a hands-on approach and mindset by the team.  The focus for this project was entirely on the day-pass, because due to the repeated payments, the abonnements require a more complex technical bookkeeping system.

The stakeholders

Time and budget were the primary focus. The core team was to be kept to a minimum to make communication paths easier. The following stakeholders were involved: IT (Paid Media & Distribution) had involved a technical lead and a project manager, the E-Commerce team (since october 2018 led by Frosina) a dedicated contact person from the financial department, a legal advisor for concrete questions and a specialist from the reader market for consumer insights & support. The core realization involved E-Commerce  and IT. The goal was defined and the final outcome approved by the E-Commerce Team. The PUX Team supported the process with UX Research and UX Design.

The realization

The day pass-purchase process should be detached from the registration process: Other than consistent abonnements, a day-pass does not require an account but is now solved with cookies. And so, the checkout was reduced to two fields to be filled out: Entering the email and the payment method. If the user wishes to use another device, he or she can create an account after the purchase. This simplified process was to avoid obstacles such as having to set a password.

Due to the tight deadline, many steps in the development happened  very fast. After the requirements had been defined, an external agency was engaged to build first wireframes of the feature. Based on these wireframes, the technical specifications were defined and handed over to the PUX Team for the Design. The design from PUX was directly forwarded for development and in parallel, a click-dummy was built from the PUX Team for Research. Ideally, a prototype would have been tested in user interviews and development would have started only  after feedback was received from the users. However, as time was primordial in the process, the UX research and development happened with 3-4 developers in backend and frontend - simultaneously. Frosina at first regretted not having had the user insights at the beginning of the product development, although she soon understood that the development is very flexible and could implement the changes within just two months.

What went well:

The team was able to make compromises and bear the timing goal in mind all along. With a practical hands-on mindset the project was accomplished within the set resource- und timeframe. With an agile approach, the main goals were met. This is something that does not always work out  equally well.

What we learned from it:

A tight deadline and minimising the resources spent also means solely looking into the near-term future. The technical system built for the new checkout process might also have benefitted the new abonnement checkout process, which now needs to be treated as something completely new. With more time and resources, those two systems might have been built in parallel, and in the end saved some resources.  

We also learned that a project can benefit if  we consciously remove complexity and make compromises, such as cutting off the technical system of the day pass from all the subscription models. Although the framework for classical project management was given, the realization required scrum project management. In Frosina’s opinion, this could only be met because of the very small kept team. Shorter periods may be fine for focussing on small changes for users,  rather than on big changes for the longer term.

The outcomes: An increased conversion

The conversion rate nearly doubled from 2018,  and it can be monitored that day passes are on a constant increase. The conversion rate in German speaking Switzerland is higher than in Western Switzerland, though. On the small titles as Thuner Tagblatt, the conversion increased much more than the average.

What’s next:

It is currently planned to set up a completely  new abo-system with personalised offers that are automatically generated. A simplified checkout process is one important component of this project. However, this requires more time as the whole technical base has to be set up from scratch for the new database.

What would you like to read about in our next "Project of the Month" coverage?