Solving the Right Problem — A Product Story

When you are competing in an industry that caters to many people differently, you have to identify what problem are you truly trying to solve and then target that pain point. — Jamie Shea, CEO and Founder of Chefs Plate

From solutions that cater to our household needs to ones that bring us convenience, there is no shortage of companies or products popping up in the same industry over and over again. But what sets them apart from their competitors? What is the story behind the product?

Jamie Shea (@jshea101) and his team at Chefs Plate Canada are a great example of a company that has done an excellent job of establishing themselves in the competitive Canadian Food delivery industry with a very unique value proposition in comparison to their competitors like Uber Eats, Foodora and Ritual.

Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

When it comes to product discovery, what is the end goal? 
A solution to a problem faced by your target customer.

Often these problems are brought to light because we face them ourselves or because we’ve heard someone voice them to us. With that being said, there are endless problems worth solving so how does one identify the right one, especially in a saturated market?

Chefs Plate’s story stands out not solely due to the marketing efforts that they put in advertising but rather the understanding they were able to master of their customers’ needs.

So how did a company like Chefs Plate manage to penetrate a saturated market and do a damn well job while they are at it?

Let’s start with the following fact:

80% of Canadians don’t know what they are going to have for dinner by 4 pm each day — Galen Weston Jr., CEO of Loblaws Company Limited

The forever tale of I don’t know what I want to eat.

Most of us can probably relate to that statistic. We work tirelessly all day and come 4 pm, all we can think about is our commute home and what will we be having for dinner. [Keyword HAVING]

More often than ever, by the time we get home we are too tired to cook and would prefer to just order food that can easily be delivered to our couches or we can pick up on the way home.

Problem: Working individuals do not have time to cook and would prefer a pre-cooked meal delivered to them from the restaurant of their choice.
Solution: Uber Eats and Fodoora — Food delivered to your doorstep with the click of a button from your favourite restaurants.
Problem: I’m on my way to work and I don’t want to wait in line for my coffee.
Solution: Ritual — Order ahead of time and your order will be ready for pick up by the time you get there.
Image by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

When solving customer problems, we must understand where the pain points of the customer are in their journey. It’s very likely that people don’t always want to order out, perhaps they just don’t know what they want to cook for dinner because they don’t have a recipe in mind or they have no groceries at home or they aren’t sure what dish could they make with the little ingredients they have at home.

Both Jamie Shea and Galen Weston surface a problem that existing companies in the market hadn’t identified — planning for meals.

Almost every household goes grocery shopping if not once a week at least once every two weeks. Most of the time we get quick groceries or packaged food because we aren’t sure what our meals are going to be for the next few weeks ahead.

When buying fresh produce, we hope to be able to eat all that we buy. But sometimes we forget, so the food goes bad and we are forced to throw the food out. Portioning also gets hard, do you buy for just dinner? lunch and dinner? for me? for my family? Naturally there are too many variables and not enough energy to plan and cook ahead.

If you are like me, chances are you want to be able to plan in advance and sometimes even cook in advance so you could go to work with and come home to dinner that is healthy, that you cooked and put together ahead of time.

Problem: You want to plan meals ahead of time but need help with shopping, recipe hunting and planning.
Solution — Chefs Plate — “Cooking made easy with farm fresh ingredients and delicious recipes delivered right to you door”.

Chefs Plate was able to tap into the market of Canadians that want to plan ahead, want access to fresh food, eat healthy and do it all themselves while living their busy lives.

They managed to solve a complex problem with a different angle for the same busy working individual customer demographic that their competitors are in.

Product conceptualization happens in many steps, one of which include: 
Finding the right problem to solve by understanding the customer need. So when it comes to creating a solution, your product can be self serving, fast, elegant, and cohesive so you create a great experience for your customers.

As product managers, we must, “Figure out how to build a product that forms a relationship for transaction and makes it convenient for both the business & consumer and solves the problem. When you remove the friction from a task with a tool, people will automatically use it more.” — Raymond Reddy, CEO of Ritual.

Anjali Arya is a Product Marketer at RL Solutions and a budding Medium blogger from Toronto, Canada. Have something interesting to share? or just curious about her work, follow her on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter and start a conversation!

This story is published in The Startup, Medium’s largest entrepreneurship publication followed by + 381,508 people.

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