Judy's Book was started with a couple of simple insights about people. We knew people used word of mouth to make decisions about purchases of products and services. We thought that it would be useful to create a company that fostered a community of people online to share recommendations. Judy's Book was born as "your friends' yellow pages." We put a product in market and have worked hard toward that vision. We've been successful -- we get over a million page views a month, we've got half a million reviews, etc. About six months ago, we started a process of understanding our business and more specifically understanding our customer.
We interviewed our customer, we analyzed what was being clicked on, and went through a management process and came to the following conclusions:
Our users wanted more from our site than simply "reviews". Our users were interested in answers to their local purchasing decisions. Up until recently, we had really only been focused on the quality side of local purchases (that was our initial hypothesis). What our users were expressing to us was a few important insights:
- Purchases were a result of finding the best quality at the right price and that what they were interested in was value
- Price mattered most to them
In addition, we got clear on who our target customer is and what it is that we should be doing to serve them. Bottom line, our customer likes the online community, shops regularly, doesn't like to pay retail, tends to be more female than male, tends to be age 25-45, enjoys promotions, coupons and deals.
ii) Our focus on local "only" wasn't working. Local is critical to our business but our product had created too many empty local silos. The example here is that a new user in Memphis, Tennessee would come to the site and wouldn't experience the living breathing site that Judy's Book is -- because of the way our product shows the data to this person.
One of my next posts will be about what how we took these conclusions and modified Judy's Book insights.