The year I decided to give it some Gousto.

Jon David Carman
Jan 6, 2020 · 5 min read

In 2019 I decided I needed a new challenge. So I left a career of 6+ years built across the Pharmaceutical and Consumer supply chains at GSK and moved to Gousto, one of Europes fastest-growing, independent companies.

But why move, what was the attraction? I’d experienced steady career progression at GSK, opportunities to work and live abroad, interesting supply chain challenges & a good group of high performing colleagues.

It all came down to the attraction & opportunity to build a physical product with advanced digital capabilities, alongside world-class engineers, data scientists, product managers & designers.

I look at Gousto as four key customer experience touchpoints

At the time of writing, I’m three months into my role as Senior Product Manager and recently I had the opportunity to present at Gousto’s yearly supplier conference. The purpose of the conference; showcase to our suppliers who we are, why it’s exciting to work with us & how we plan to give 2020 some Gousto!

My remit; provide an update on Digital Product. Given our suppliers’ primary focus is fulfilling our stock requirements to enable the production & delivery of our industry-leading recipe boxes, what could I talk about that would be relevant and exciting to them?

My decision; how Gousto delivers incredible customer experiences, through incredible digital & physical products.

So what did I say?

I look at Gousto as four key customer experience touchpoints.

The Menu Experience

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10-Min Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodle Salad

Via our App, Website, or Webapp, the menu is the starting point of a new customer’s journey or the return point for existing customers. Through the menu, customers pick the box they want. Simple enough? Behind the scenes, however, this is where things get interesting.

The human brain processes images 60000 times faster than text.

Recommendation engines, live A/B tests, and continuous optimisation of the codebase to improve refresh & load times.

Our recommendation engine uses a massive range of data points to present our “Chosen For You” selection; recipes we know our customers would like. It’s smart, it’s been right for me. But we’re not leveraging one of our prime assets; our gorgeous and enticing photography.

Did you know, the human brain processes images 60000 times faster than text? I didn’t. I looked it up. Snappy fact, entice the audience in. But it’s precisely this relationship that we have with imagery that inspired Martik Aghajanian, one of our data science interns, to develop a visual recognition algorithm to be embedded as part of our menu experience.

Not only does our menu leverage data points for recommendation, but it’s also now analysing images of visual similarity & swapping in diverse alternatives, all with the goal of presenting a smorgasbord of beautiful imagery to drive choice and diversity across the menu. Brilliant. Mind suitably blown? Lets’ move on. All aboard the experience express!

The Delivery Experience

Getting boxes from A to B? Bland, of course not, this is Gousto.

Not only do we offer industry-leading 3 day lead time, we’re on the road to next day delivery. Significant effort across a diverse cross-functional team is being placed in experimenting with new customer proposition, learning as we go on customer uptake and impact on operational processes. Our very own Andrea Marchello wrote a fascinating article recently on lean in a physical product world, which expands on our next day journey. I loved it — go check it out.

But the takeaway; we’re always experimenting, learning and building digital capability to enable & launch entirely new delivery capabilities.

The Unboxing Experience

However, it’s the Unboxing Experience that I get most excited about; the experience our customers have when they open the box. We have a number of teams working on inspiring sustainability initiatives reducing single-use plastic by 50% & we’ll soon be introducing an entirely curb-side recyclable eco chill box.

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Gousto Boxes. Credit to Sally Harmer, Gousto Food Stylist

My immediate remit at Gousto however, is to ensure our ingredients arrive safe, undamaged and fresh. Before a customer can ‘unbox’ we have to ‘Box’ (pick, pack and process).

We’ve mobilised data science to the max here, creating genetic algorithms that optimise both the replenishment of stock to the pick-face, but also the number of station visits our boxes have as they wiz around our pick lines. In doing so we’ve achieved incredible factory efficiencies & world-class low wastage.

It’s cool, it’s smart and it really showcases the interchange between digital capabilities and physical product.

The Eating Experience

The million-dollar fork to mouth moment. Gousto has leading levels of choice on the menu, customers can select from 40 mouth-watering recipes every week, but what’s happening behind the scenes to make this a reality?

Aside from the fantastic food development team and recipe testing (totally the best perk of the job), we are leveraging digital capabilities to ensure the success of menu & recipe development.

How? By building a custom menu product of course. The capabilities in development have and will enable our food development teams to leverage workflow capability, interacting across our Gousto platform, to drive levels of automation in our go-to-market recipe development. One such automation drives our allergen capabilities.

Previously it was a manual decision to decide if every recipe could be Dairy-free, gluten-free plant-based or vegetarian. We now take more information about our ingredients, including the risk of cross-contamination into effect, which means we can drive our dietary claims directly from ingredient information accurately, fulfilling content on our recipe cards and menu.

Continuous Learning

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Digital experience at Gousto

The Gousto experience journey isn’t linear, and like any good lean principle, it's an iterative learning cycle. Each experience, experiment, development & customer interaction drives data points to continually iterate and improve our experience offering.

Digital technology & product is genuinely at the heart of enabling this & it’s a fascinating place to work.

2020 Really will be the year to Give it some Gousto!

Gousto Engineering & Data

Gousto Engineering & Data Blog

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