How We Built FreshClub

I’m telling the story from my perspective, though I did take interviews of some of the good men and women who worked on this project. That said, enjoy!

FreshClub is our premium membership tier at FreshMenu. We started FreshClub because a) we wanted our loyal customers to feel special and noticed, and b) as an exercise to increase AOV. Although we had full faith in the program and worked our butts off to get it going, the way it blew up in popularity and adoption was unprecedented.

There were some principles that dictated what the features of this program would be:

  • It had to actually, really be useful to customers. It wasn’t like rewards points that you needed to get a thousand of before you could redeem. There’s no point (hehe) to that kind of system.
  • It had to cater to the different kinds of FreshMenu customers out there. We’d done a brief user research survey earlier, which identified Foodies, Bargain Hunters etc. It needed to add value for all of these people.

Many moons and meetings later, we closed in on three core features

  • 10% Discount. Everyone could do with cheaper food
  • Free Shipping. Even though this is a cornerstone of online food delivery, it somehow makes people mad when they see those extra 15 bucks on a ₹300 order every time. So we took it out.
  • Exclusive Menu. Nothing says ‘special’ like a bunch of fancy dishes that you can only order if you’re part of the Club. And we made an effort to name them special, use a certain kind of shot for their catalogue listing, use premium ingredients etc.

In the retelling of this, I’m not counting the number of times we went back to the drawing board, edited our ever-growing PRD, and dealt with (rightfully) angry developers who were asked to change things for the fourth time. It was the first time FreshMenu had attempted to create something like this, so although we all had a pretty good idea where this was going, the path wasn’t a straight line by any means. Also, we made sure that everyone (angry devs included) were part of the conversation from the very beginning. It was as collaborative as things get.

Parfait Bowls! From one of our shoots earlier this year.

3 Months to Launch

Once we had the features on lock, it was time to design. And by design I mean creating and iterating a ton of flows and explaining it to everyone, before actually mocking up a screen. FreshClub touched every part of the app, from the catalogue to its own details page to the order confirmation screen, and had its own mammoth complexities when it came to operations and actually handing food over to customers. Once the user flows were in place, it was the matter of putting the UI elements where they belonged.

FreshWhat?

FreshMenu has never been an all black, sleek app — we stand for good, fresh, global cuisine delivered quickly and it didn’t make sense for our brand to suddenly appear all serious. So the Primes, Golds, Ones and Firsts of the loyalty program world weren’t for us (no hate all love, guys). We figured the best way to name the program was to hold a naming exercise.

So over the course of 3 days, we workshopped the name, narrowed down some choices and put it to a vote on the floor. FreshClub won by a landslide. We kept the ‘sketchy’ illustration style that is familiar to those who know FreshMenu for the illustration, and the FreshMenu font in the logo.

1 Month to Launch

We wanted to do a beta launch of the Free Trial version to a small list of customers who had ordered from us before. We whitelisted 10,000 customers in our three cities (Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi) with saved payment methods. A lot happened in order to get the system in top shape for the hungry masses, but what stands out in my mind is getting the product copy sorted out.

Product copy is something that in my mind, can make or break an experience. For the first time in FreshMenu’s history, different users would be seeing drastically different version of the app. That meant our communication had to be as clear as possible. That meant hundreds of configurations, hundreds more lines of copy, and several thousand ways something could go wrong. So the War Room was born.

War! What is it good for?

The QA, tech, and product teams appropriated a meeting room for a week to test and retest all parts of the app on both platforms (Android, iOS, not Desktop). To quote Debosree Roy, our AVP of Product:

This is our flagship program, so we had to give it a press-worthy release. Each platform went through multiple versions of testing, for a week, in the War Room. It got to the point where [Bankuru] Prasanna (Back-End Dev) knew the configs by heart and could locate them faster than CMD+F. Sneha [Monteiro](PM) said she felt like she was going blind checking for copy integrity.

But of course, getting the apps sorted out was half the battle. Our kitchens needed to source special produce, mark certain orders as Club orders so they could reach our CC team quickly in case there were any issues, and communicate with us as well for any additional information. The team had sent reinforcement emails a week prior, had calls with all kitchens 2–3 days before launch day and conducted several dry runs leading up to the day in our Koramangala and HSR kitchens.

Malayali Christian Christmas Shoot, showcasing FreshClub Exclusive dishes

Beta Launch Day

On 5th December, things didn’t go exactly to plan.

The orders started rolling in as soon as our kitchens opened in the morning but to our horror, the kitchens kept cancelling them. Every FreshClub Exclusive order was getting cancelled or stocked out and we didn’t know why.

We called kitchens to investigate, and it turned out that kitchen managers double-check the menu on our website to ensure they make the right dishes. We launched FreshClub only on our app. To combat this, the product and catalogue teams called each kitchen as soon as something stocked out, making sure the ingredients were sourced ASAP and the orders were getting out the door and into customers’ hands. By 12–1pm things seemed to have settled down and fewer calls were being made. Still, it took a week or so before everything was functioning autonomously.

The initial signup success (about 11%) was enormously encouraging, and at the end of the first day, Club members accounted for 4% of our total order volume. By the end of our Beta, 40% of the people we reached out to had joined the program. Our internal target was 30%.

FreshClub for iOS

Full Launch Day

With the holiday season coming up, it made sense to open FreshClub up to everyone and make the most use of the time when people chill out and indulge with their friends and family. This time, we were more prepared.

The product team were up in the call center ready to talk to anyone who called in with a query about FreshClub and follow up individually. There were far fewer calls on that first day than had come in for our beta launch, and even fewer cancellations. Every festive dish that was introduced onto the menu during this time was available to FreshClub members first.

Despite all our initial setbacks, by 6PM on Day 1, FreshClub users accounted for 30% of the total order volume, which was unprecedented. We had modest, realistic projections for adoption — 4% order volume by the end of Week 1, which would go up with time.

I was feeling the Christmas spirit for sure. It felt like our team had risen to the challenge and it had started to pay off.

Our delicious Jam Cookies, part of the Christmas Menu, available first to FreshClub Members

FreshClub Today, By The Numbers

At the end of the day, we wanted to make a product that we believed in and wanted to use ourselves. When we got emails during our beta from users asking why their friend had FreshClub and they didn’t, we knew we’d done something right. Even more so when brands reached out to partner with us.

Percentage of orders that come from FreshClub vs all orders: ~50%
Percentage of paid FreshClub users vs overall: ~71%
Order Frequency of FreshClub vs Non-Club users: ~2.5X

But this is only the beginning of the journey. Team FreshMenu is looking to introduce more, better features to the program, both online and offline. In addition, we’re looking to create partnerships and experiences to bring you, our user, the most premium FreshMenu experience. Watch this space.


Mango Eton Mess Shoot, June 1st

The biggest thank you and the most love to every single person at FreshMenu who made this possible, and with whom I have had the privilege of working with over the last year. I see you, and I will remember.

You can read about the FreshClub in the press here — http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/freshmenu-launches-new-membership-programme-117122600565_1.html

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/freshmenu-launches-new-membership-programme/1/1118141.html

If you want to try it out for yourself, login to FreshMenu. FreshClub is also available on desktop — www.freshmenu.com


You can find me, Gaana Srinivas, here on Medium, or on my twitter @gaanasrini. And as always, thanks for reading!