A strategic UX approach to improve the on-boarding experience of new Gousto customers


Hello, my name is Sara and I’m a User Experience researcher and designer here at Gousto. I’ve recently started working on an exciting project aimed at streamlining the current Gousto onboarding experience. The project is fundamental for acquiring and retaining new customers through a more enticing experience. At this early stage of interaction with the service, we want to clearly convey to new customers what Gousto stands for. We want them to be excited about it as much as we are!

How did we go about identifying improvements to the digital experience and creating a better onboarding journey?

The importance of Discovery in the project

I joined Gousto nine months ago and I have mainly worked with Digital Agencies previously. From my experience of working with different clients, I have created a UX strategy toolbox that I like to use in every project. Improving on-boarding has given me the opportunity to use some of these tools to understand what are the most critical moments in the customer’s journey.

How do you gain a deep understanding of the reasons why new customers come to Gousto and what their expectations are?

I have been working closely with the Product Owner, Nicolas, and our main stakeholder, Lavinia, Head of Acquisition and Nurture. Together, we agreed on a plan comprised of a compressed Discovery (user research) phase following by an iterative design phase. Discovery has been limited to two and half weeks in order to move on quickly to creating a prototype to test, measure and learn from — whilst still being confident we had the gathered the right amount of insight.

Research is essential to understand how new customers perceive the product, what they like about it, their main pain points with the digital and physical product: website, app, but also ingredients, recipes, delivery etc. These two experiences are intertwined and deeply affected by each other.

Step 1: Primary user research

We started off the project by interviewing 4 prospects and 4 existing customers, in-person. During the first half of the interview, I asked them a few questions to understand which customer segment they fell into — we segment customers based on their attitudes to shopping, cooking and eating — followed by questions about their first time experience with Gousto (when applicable). In the second part of the interview, I asked the participants to go through the current sign-up process to order their first Gousto box. I wanted to validate a set of hypotheses we had previously compiled.

Participants’ feedback was definitely eye-opening. We also complemented the results from the face-to-face interviews with data gathered through two online surveys aimed at:

  1. Customers who abandoned the journey during checkout and therefore didn’t purchase their first box
  2. Customers who paused their subscription after ordering 2 boxes

To make qualitative findings more meaningful, we looked at quantitative data for each step of the sign-up process. To be honest, we don’t have an automated, reusable framework in place (yet!) to collate quantitative data: the product owner had to do a lot of manual work to pull out the right insights!

We also interviewed members of the CC team to understand the reasons why new customers contact them during onboarding.

Step 2: The power of user journey mapping

User journey workshop

Maps are one of my favourite methods because they help create alignment and provide a holistic view of the product. This allows us to identify strategic and tactical opportunities for the roadmap.

Why did I run a user journey map exercise?

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, I wanted to present and validate all the insights from the research phase so I mapped them out and discussed them with the main stakeholders during a workshop.

A map on a wall also sparks general curiosity and excitement about our UX work in those passing by!

Our user journey map showed a set of layers for each phase (awareness, interested, purchase, first time use and nurture) of the journey of a prospective customer becoming a new customer.

For each phase we looked at the actions taken by the customer, digital and physical touchpoints, customer needs, comms and insights from research. We also added in an ‘opportunity’ lane.

From the workshop, we decided to focus on making our subscription model clearer to the customers and show less numbers to the prospects during sign up!

All the critical points identified have been grouped into “strategic” (for these items, we will need more input from the main stakeholders) and “tactical” (these are things that can be factored into the Sprints without much further input from the business e.g. add visual feedback to explain how many recipes can be added to a box).

Needless to say, lots of (recyclable) post-it notes!

Design studio workshop

I don’t believe in design by committee, but I think everyone’s input is essential when building a new feature. After identifying the main issue we wanted to improve, we brainstormed solutions in a design workshop.

I’m a fan of the Google Design Sprints methodology and I’ve been using their sketching exercises to visualise ideas.

Engineers and stakeholders working together

We’re now ready to move on to an iterative design phase to measure and learn!


This process has been the first attempt at setting up a reusable UX Strategy framework.

The main achievements of using this approach have been:

  • Aligning all the members of the team on the main frictions new customers face when first interacting with Gousto, by mapping out the findings from user research for each stage of the on-boarding experience
  • Providing a holistic picture of the current on-boarding experience to the main stakeholders in order for them to prioritise the problems to solve efficiently
  • Encouraging collaboration between engineers and stakeholders when creating a solution

Next time, we will definitely conduct more in-person interviews with the customers (the sample was kept to a minimum this time due to deadline constraints). We will also try and integrate some other qualitative research methods (e.g. diary studies), that will enable us to gather even more granular insights on the customer’s behaviour and therefore their expectations from a service like Gousto.

Sara Stangalini
UX Designer