Designing a Human-Centered Venture: CheerBox — On-demand Care Packages for Everyone


  • Designing a Human-Centered Venture class at University of Washington (HCDE 534).
  • After evaluating multiple project ideas (somewhat concrete, can be scoped to a quarter, etc), we decided to create an on-demand service for care packages called CheerBox:
  • Cheerbox delivers care packages to your doorstep within the same day.
  • The carefully curated care packages contain items/products that improve the physical and emotional well-being of our customers.
  • There are care packages tailored to specific situations, such as hang-overs, break ups, and flu.

Deliverables for the class project:

We put together a presentation for our professors, class, and guests that included the venture details, research findings and how they were used to refine our service, and some relevant scenarios


This project took place in Fall 2017 as part of the HCDE 534 class (Designing a Human-Centered Venture) at the University of Washington.

The class professor was the amazing Beth Kolko.

Project Objectives

  • Gain an understanding of how human-centered design principles can inform elements of building a venture other than product design
  • Be able to plan and complete a business model based on human-centered principles.
  • Understand how metrics impact how a venture grows.

Project Team


Figuring out what venture to design

Our team did an extremely short brainwriting exercise, where each member ideated 3–5 ideas and we shared them on a whiteboad. Each member then selected the most interesting two, and after some feedback from the professor and drafting some high-level scenarios, we decided to work on a delivery system for care packages.

Competitive Analysis

Given that our service targets online shoppers that can order products online, we centered on three main potential competitors:

We centered around these potential competitors because of their wide range of services, target audiences, and customer experiences. As PMS Package targets a specific scenario (with its inherent variations), Sealed With A Kiss covers the scenario of college students that are away from home. Amazon Prime Now covers an extremely generic scenario of needing a product delivered in a short time frame (with extremely solid logistics and brand name recognition), whereas Uber’s experimental services seem to only exist temporarily (UberSTUDY delivered food and other products for students in finals in a single city, and UberHEALTH provided flu shots on demand).

By understanding these wide gamut of potential competitors, we could identify areas our service could address and how to provide value for our selected target audience.

The complete details are in the full competitive analysis.

Key Performance Indicators (individual work)

For the KPIs, I separated the entire system into four components:

  • Front-end: The experience that the users have through the website or app where they search and place orders.
  • Back-end: The systems that power the front-end and generate the orders, and synchronizes with the delivery/logistics.
  • Product: The products delivered to the customers
  • Delivery: The delivery process comprising everything once the product leaves the warehouse until delivered to the customer.

Some of the KPIs that I’d highlight are:

  • Journey completion (Front-end)
  • Website order placement reliability (Front-end)
  • # of care packages re-ordered (Front-end)
  • Care Package CSAT (Product)/Delivery CSAT (Delivery)
  • Return rates (Product/Delivery)

The complete KPIs are in the full Key Performance Indicators document.

User and Market Research (Primary and Secondary)

Due to the time constraints and tight delivery timelines, for primary research we did a Google Forms survey targeting an audience of diverse ages/household sizes, and familiar all with online shopping.

The survey was split into three main sections:

  • Online spending: Amounts spent online, frequency of purchases, specific delivery preferences and usage.
  • Shopping for others online: Frequency of shopping online for others than self, amounts spent gifting others.
  • Opportunities for CheerBox: Attributes that drive interest/consumption to care packages.

We centered our secondary research around areas that directly impact the market for our product.

The broader areas studied were:

  • Single-person households and expenditure trends in them: One of our target audiences is the group of individuals who live alone and need something to improve their current emotional or health state.
  • Care package market: We researched the potential market for care packages, as well as popular market segments where care packages are relevant.
  • Online flower shops: Given that they have served historically as a traditional source of gifting, flower shops are a relevant case study to understand trends in the intersection between brick-and-mortar operations and online delivery services that work with them.
  • Online-shopping Pricing and Delivery: Both of these factors are key to the entire experience and business model. Customers have become used to certain patterns for online-shopping (free shipping, ability to find the lowest price, etc), and we need to design both experience and business-model aligning to said patterns.

Some of the high-level findings we obtained were:

Online spending

  • Need and Product price drive the shopping patterns for the majority of respondents.
  • The projected increase in single-person households and the associated trend of increase in healthcare and personal care in consumer expenditure indicate that we may see growth in these markets for single-person households where CheerBox could benefit from.
  • There was a large group of respondents who do not choose same day or 1-day delivery often or ever.
  • The anchoring and adjustment phenomenon shows that it is important for us to find the right anchor price for our product and communicate our value to justify that price point.
  • People values freebies over discounts, so it might be a good idea for us to offer free exclusive add-on items instead of discounts for slower shipping options.
  • To leverage social proofing, we can have sale number indicators (e.g. 20 boxes sold in the past 48 hours) on each boxes’ product page or on the homepage.
  • It is key to have clear and concise communication for our messaging, price, and delivery to ensure the value of our product is effectively conveyed.

Shopping for others online:

  • A large majority do shop online to show appreciation for someone they care about — it may be difficult to change the focus of potential care package buyers from others to themselves, which needs marketing and education efforts to demonstrate the value added for our product.
  • Focusing on college students does not necessary limit our customer base to just students but since there is already a market and desire for family members to send care packages to college students, we can leverage that existing customer base to kick start CheerBox.
  • While many of the respondents hadn’t purchased a care package in the past, the ones who had bought them did so for family and friends rather than themselves.
  • $30 seems to be the majority price willing to pay for a care package (median survey amount)
  • $5 seems to be the limit we could charge for shipping
  • While most shoppers want free delivery, almost half of the shoppers are not willing to wait for than 5 days for most of their purchases.
  • Free shipping is something that shoppers clearly cares about and often expect. It might be a good approach in our pricing model to offer default free shipping for our box deliveries, even if that means increasing the price of the care boxes.
  • Our product targets urgent needs and therefore it is crucial for us to have fast same-day delivery options. We can experiment with including slightly slower delivery options such as next-day or 2 day shipping at a cheaper price (e.g. as discounts to the default price) to offer a range in delivery options for shoppers who planned ahead (e.g. for an upcoming all-nighter).
  • Clear and timely communication of delivery and shipping info is important to shoppers; it is important that our shopping platform is designed with clear delivery estimates, notification, and tracking features.

Opportunities for CheerBox:

  • Customization and personalization options, along with price seem to be the top 3 attributes. Providing options will be a key differentiating factor for CheerBox. We can elaborate on the personalization factor with something such as handwriting a personal note provided by a sender when applicable.
  • Single house demographics are also another opportunity, as a potential target market represented by the increase in the number of adults living alone away from their immediate families. This, aligned to smaller households presents a relevant target market.
  • Due to the timeliness of the delivery, our box service might benefit greatly from working with local providers to compile our care boxes.

All the details around the research can be found in the Research Methodology and Outcomes document.

Customer Segmentation

Integrating both our concept and the research outcomes, we defined certain specifications for the service:

  1. Service requirements: Provide products based on the user’s needs and customization and personalization options.
  2. Marketing requirements: Emphasize the value of self-care when purchasing care packages; there is a gap in the care package market and an opportunity for strategic marketing and education of our product line to demonstrate the value proposition of self-care.
  3. User experience requirements: Offer simple and clear options.
  4. Pricing and delivery requirements: Find an anchor price for our product and communicate our value to justify that price point ($30), offer freebies, and offer free and/or expedited shipping
  5. Target customer requirements: Potential customers who live alone and may not have immediate access to close friends or family that can care for them, and young adults as well as recent grads who wish to be independent and self-sufficient.

CheerBox Customer Overview

Based on research, we identified single-person households as a key customer segment because of their projected growth, and the number of young adults/adults living alone and away from their immediate families. For these, the goal is to offer self-care, where people who live alone buy care packages for themselves. Buying a care package can be split in three main scenarios, faced by the adults living on their own:

  • Physically challenging situations
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotionally complex situations

These can be identified in the following situations/scenarios:

Sickness: specifically cold and flu because leaving the house is often not desired, and has physical challenges. The packages for sickness can contain different over-the-counter medicines, variations of comfort food, and groceries useful for the sickness.

Hangover: Similar to the sickness scenario there can be physical challenges and other inconveniences during a hangover, and people may have different hangover cures or remedies that we can aggregate and suggest. Another dimension to offer for this scenario, are variations of the care packages such as a basic, natural hangover remedy with natural ingredients, or a “Glamour” package with high-end ingredients. For this scenario too, we can think of a level of personalization where for loyal customers and repeated hangover customers, we can offer “achievements” to commemorate their past hangovers, or lack thereof.

Break-up: Often trigger sudden emotional outbursts and require us to offer item customization or different options (e.g. chocolate vs vanilla snacks) to cater to different preferences. We aim for the package to be a therapeutic experience to distract users from the emotional roller coaster of breakups.

For the delivery of our products, based on the context of their need, we hypothesize our target customers will generally be interested in a short window of delivery. Given that they are price-conscious and highly familiar to online shopping, the cost of delivery will have to be baked into the price of the care package. The quality of the packaging (e.g. sturdy, compact) should be high, and the delivery service should support bringing the packages to the customers’ doors.

The full details can be found in the Customer segmentation (& user scenarios) document.


Based on the concept of creating a press release and frequently asked questions as a blueprint of what is to be created and delivered to customers, we also created one for CheerBox:

More​ ​than​ ​just​ ​an​ ​aspirin:​ ​CheerBox​ ​delivers carefully​ ​curated​ ​care​ ​packages​ ​to​ ​suit​ ​every tough​ ​situation​ ​in​ ​life.
Partied​ ​too​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​a​ ​night​ ​out​ ​with​ ​friends​ ​turned​ ​into​ ​an​ ​early​ ​morning?​ ​Down​ ​with​ ​the flu​ ​and​ ​wished​ ​you​ ​had​ ​some​ ​chicken​ ​noodle​ ​soup​ ​and​ ​Nyquil?​ ​CheerBox​ ​has​ ​got​ ​you covered.​ ​CheerBox​ ​is​ ​an​ ​on-demand​ ​care​ ​package​ ​delivery​ ​service​ ​that​ ​aims​ ​to​ ​provide timely​ ​personalized​ ​comfort​ ​for​ ​those​ ​tough​ ​times​ ​in​ ​life.
Sometimes​ ​when​ ​life​ ​gets​ ​tough,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​hard​ ​to​ ​even​ ​get​ ​out​ ​of​ ​bed.​ ​Thankfully,​ ​there​ ​is online​ ​grocery​ ​delivery.​ ​While​ ​having​ ​groceries​ ​delivered​ ​to​ ​your​ ​door​ ​is​ ​easy,​ ​searching through​ ​thousands​ ​of​ ​products​ ​to​ ​get​ ​everything​ ​you​ ​need​ ​in​ ​addition​ ​to​ ​a​ ​headache​ ​is not.​ ​At​ ​CheerBox,​ ​we​ ​make​ ​it​ ​easy​ ​for​ ​everyone​ ​to​ ​find​ ​something​ ​that​ ​works​ ​for​ ​them when​ ​they​ ​need​ ​some​ ​urgent​ ​tender-loving​ ​care.
Choose​ ​one​ ​of​ ​our​ ​carefully​ ​curated​ ​care​ ​packages​ ​and​ ​have​ ​it​ ​delivered​ ​the​ ​same​ ​day. Our​ ​care-packages​ ​fit​ ​different​ ​situation,​ ​whether​ ​you​ ​are​ ​trying​ ​to​ ​recover​ ​from​ ​a​ ​cold​ ​or a​ ​breakup,​ ​we​ ​got​ ​a​ ​package​ ​for​ ​you!​ ​To​ ​make​ ​our​ ​service​ ​more​ ​inclusive,​ ​we​ ​also​ ​support item​ ​substitutions​ ​for​ ​nut​ ​and​ ​gluten​ ​allergies.
The​ ​custom​ ​care​ ​packages​ ​can​ ​also​ ​be​ ​effortlessly​ ​re-ordered​ ​whenever​ ​you​ ​need​ ​some cheer​ ​or​ ​care​ ​again. Check-us​ ​out​ ​on​ ​[CheerBox​ ​Website],​ ​where​ ​you’ll​ ​find​ ​something​ ​that​ ​fits​ ​every​ ​occasion and​ ​treat​ ​yourself​ ​to​ ​some​ ​tender,​ ​loving​ ​care.
Customer​ ​Testimonials
Living​ ​by​ ​myself​ ​can​ ​be​ ​tough​ ​sometimes,​ ​and​ ​receiving​ ​a​ ​CheerBox​ ​puts​ ​a​ ​smile​ ​on​ ​my face.​ ​I​ ​love​ ​the​ ​funny​ ​product​ ​descriptions​ ​and​ ​the​ ​personalized​ ​greeting​ ​card!
-​ ​Mika​ ​T.
Ordering​ ​a​ ​CheerBox​ ​is​ ​so​ ​easy​ ​and​ ​fast!​ ​I​ ​woke​ ​up​ ​with​ ​a​ ​terrible​ ​hangover​ ​and CheerBox​ ​provided​ ​everything​ ​I​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​power​ ​through​ ​it!
-​ ​Kyle​ ​M.
There​ ​are​ ​certain​ ​days​ ​where​ ​I’m​ ​sick,​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​leave​ ​the​ ​house,​ ​and​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to order​ ​$40​ ​of​ ​groceries​ ​to​ ​get​ ​4​ ​Advils,​ ​Gatorade,​ ​and​ ​cookies​ ​delivered.​ ​Those​ ​days CheerBox​ ​has​ ​exactly​ ​what​ ​I​ ​need​ ​to​ ​be​ ​functional​ ​again,​ ​without​ ​the​ ​things​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​need
-​ ​Ana​ ​C.
I​ ​send​ ​my​ ​wife​ ​a​ ​care​ ​package​ ​when​ ​she’s​ ​traveling​ ​for​ ​business​ ​ — ​ ​I​ ​sometimes​ drop​ ​in​ ​a new​ ​type​ ​of​ ​candy,​ ​or​ ​a​ ​movie​ ​she​ ​likes.​ ​It’s​ ​become​ ​a​ ​great​ ​way​ ​for​ ​us​ ​to​ ​feel​ ​connected while​ ​she​ ​is​ ​away.
-​ ​Alex​ ​B.
Frequently​ ​Asked​ ​Questions
What​ ​is​ ​CheerBox?
CheerBox​ ​is​ ​an​ ​on-demand​ ​care​ ​package​ ​delivery​ ​service​ ​that​ ​aims​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​timely personalized​ ​comfort​ ​for​ ​those​ ​tough​ ​times​ ​in​ ​life.​ ​Each​ ​box​ ​contains,​ ​a​ ​personalized greeting​ ​card,​ ​a​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​items​ ​and​ ​a​ ​product​ ​description​ ​list.
I​ ​live​ ​in​ ​a​ ​remote​ ​location​ ​-​ ​can​ ​I​ ​get​ ​care​ ​packages?
CheerBox​ ​is​ ​currently​ ​available​ ​throughout​ ​most​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Seattle​ ​area​ ​for​ ​same-day​ ​delivery. Enter​ ​your​ ​address​ ​in​ ​our​ ​website​ ​or​ ​mobile​ ​app​ ​to​ ​see​ ​if​ ​we​ ​can​ ​deliver​ ​to​ ​your​ ​location. For​ ​areas​ ​beyond​ ​our​ ​coverage,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​not​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​the​ ​care​ ​you​ ​need​ ​immediately.
How​ ​fast​ ​can​ ​I​ ​get​ ​my​ ​CheerBox​ ​packages?
The​ ​standard​ ​same-day​ ​delivery​ ​is​ ​free​ ​for​ ​all​ ​care​ ​packages.​ ​Of​ ​course,​ ​CheerBox​ ​comes with​ ​many​ ​different​ ​delivery​ ​options​ ​based​ ​on​ ​your​ ​care​ ​need.​ ​For​ ​delivery ​pricing information,​ ​please​ ​check​ ​out​ ​[…].
Can​ ​CheerBox​ ​cure​ ​my​ ​illness?
​Products delivered by CheerBox​ ​can​ ​offer​ ​over-the-counter​ ​remedies.​ ​However,​ ​CheerBox​ ​cannot​ ​offer professional​ ​medical​ ​help.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​feel​ ​seriously​ ​ill,​ ​please​ ​call​ ​your​ ​doctor​ ​or​ ​seek professional​ ​medical​ ​assistance.
I​ ​don’t​ ​have​ ​a​ ​credit​ ​card​ ​-​ ​can​ ​I​ ​order​ ​CheerBox​ ​packages?
We​ ​accept​ ​debit​ ​or​ ​prepaid​ ​cards​ ​as​ ​long​ ​as​ ​they​ ​are​ ​Visa,​ ​Mastercard,​ ​or​ ​American Express.​ ​We​ ​also​ ​accept​ ​Paypal,​ ​Apple​ ​Pay,​ ​Android​ ​Pay,​ ​and​ ​Samsung​ ​Pay.​ ​However,​ ​we require​ ​a​ ​valid​ ​payment​ ​instrument​ ​on​ ​file​ ​for​ ​single-click​ ​orders.
Do​ ​you​ ​offer​ ​packages​ ​to​ ​meet​ ​dietary​ ​restrictions​ ​or​ ​allergies?
At​ ​CheerBox,​ ​we​ ​strive​ ​to​ ​satisfy​ ​your​ ​specific​ ​care​ ​need.​ ​Currently,​ ​we​ ​support​ ​item substitution​ ​for​ ​customers​ ​who​ ​have​ ​nut​ ​or​ ​gluten​ ​allergies.​ ​Please​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​package description​ ​page​ ​for​ ​ingredient​ ​details.​ ​If​ ​you’d​ ​like​ ​us​ ​to​ ​add​ ​options​ ​for​ ​a​ ​specific​ ​allergy, you​ ​can​ ​send​ ​us​ ​a​ ​feedback​ ​note​ ​using​ ​our​ ​contact​ ​form​ ​and​ ​we​ ​will​ ​look​ ​into​ ​providing more​ ​options​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future.
Are​ ​there​ ​limitations​ ​to​ ​when​ ​a​ ​package​ ​can​ ​be​ ​delivered?
Our​ ​delivery​ ​timeframes​ ​vary​ ​during​ ​bank​ ​holidays,​ ​and​ ​between​ ​10PM​ ​-​ ​7AM​ ​(see​ ​Service Status​ ​Notifications​ ​in​ ​our​ ​home​ ​page​ ​updates).
Can​ ​I​ ​make​ ​a​ ​return?
If,​ ​for​ ​any​ ​reason,​ ​you​ ​are​ ​unsatisfied​ ​with​ ​your​ ​care​ ​that​ ​you​ ​received,​ ​please​ ​contact​ ​our customer​ ​service​ ​at​ ​​[email]​ ​or​ ​call​ ​us​ ​at​ ​[phone] between​ ​9AM​ ​-​ ​5PM​ ​Monday​ ​through​ ​Friday,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​would​ ​be​ ​happy​ ​to​ ​assist​ ​you​ ​with returning​ ​your​ ​care​ package ​for​ ​a​ ​refund.
Will​ ​you​ ​deliver​ ​to​ ​my​ ​door?
Yes​ ​-​ ​we​ ​do​ ​need​ ​the​ ​special​ ​instructions​ ​on​ ​how​ ​to​ ​get​ ​there​ ​-​ ​whether​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​code,​ ​or​ ​a special​ ​knock​ ​that​ ​you​ ​and​ ​your​ ​roommates​ ​in​ ​your​ ​dorms​ ​use,​ ​please​ ​add​ ​the​ ​instructions on​ ​the​ ​delivery​ ​page.