#3

Because our product will be delivered primarily via the web, the website is an extremely important thing to get right.

With that in mind, we sent private links to what we have so far in our Bel-Cantik website and asked those with the link for their feedback. Using the customer Empathy Map, Emily made hypothesis on what customers would like and dislike from our website prototype.

We thought people would like the interaction of information popping up when the user hovers their mouse over it, but people mostly found that confusing. We asked how well they understood the product after using our website. We thought people would wish the process was a little bit easier, but would understand the product itself. Every user got the gist of it, but we didn’t emphasize the all-natural ingredients as well as we should have. With that feedback in mind, we are going to continue simplifying and clarifying the product website, as well as emphasizing the benefits to Bel-Cantik shampoo.

Another “experiment” we conducted was the scent tests. People tended to like the more floral scents over the fruit scent we concocted. With that in mind, we are going to change the fruit scent, and make a few different iterations of the floral scent.

The final experiment we conducted involved reading through reviews of our closest competitor’s products. We wanted to see if they failed in any ways that Bel-Cantik improves upon. Sure enough, many customers shopping at Function of Beauty complained of chemical smells and their hair being left with a crunchy, greasy, film after washing. They also commented that Function of Beauty claims to have a ‘chemist’ available for consultation 24/7, but it’s actually just a computer. Some complained that the scent was too strong. From our tests, our shampoos and conditioners don’t leave any film because of their all natural ingredients. Because we use essential oils instead of artificial scents, they aren’t overwhelming. However, we think it would be beneficial to use extremely responsive consultation (not 24/7) about customer’s questions and concerns when creating their shampoo through a “contact us” section in our website.

Emily began considering pivoting toward a predominately African-American market, and visited websites to look at their advice for DIY all natural shampoos and conditioners target toward African-American hair. The websites she visited were: Three Easy Homemade Shampoos for Dry Natural Hair and Coconut Milk Shampoo DIY. By reading the comments, she discovered that many potential customers wanted to try this out, but commented questions on where to get the ingredients. This is valuable information for Bel-Cantik because it shows that natural shampoo is important to our customers, but the obstacle between what she needs is a lack of enthusiasm about the time commitment and materials-gathering for making DIY products. The ingredients are often sold in bulk, so that might be a risk she fears taking.

Emily also researched what ingredients to avoid when catering to African-American hair, from sources like Reading the Label: 10 Ingredients to Avoid When Shopping for “Natural” Hair Products and 5 Warning Signs of Bad Natural Hair Products. From that, she learned about ingredients not to add, and to keep the ingredient list simple. Emily tried to imagine the emotions of a woman buying a product claiming to be for her natural hair, and have it not work. With that in mind, she wants to really emphasize the fact that they’ll know what they’re getting, and how it will effect their hair with Bel-Cantik’s simple, customize-able guide.

This week has been extremely productive in terms of solidifying our product, and we feel that we are moving forward in the right direction.

Here is our Business Canvas Model.

Blog #1

Benson Inc. has pivoted a lot since the first blog post. Originally, our project wasn’t too unique: all natural soaps and shampoos that wouldn’t harm the Earth. Products like these are easily found on websites like Etsy. Instead, we chose to make our value proposition stronger and more unique by adding customization. Benson Inc. is now going to be a website in which customers can fill a virtual shampoo/conditioner bottle with various ingredients (after first choosing a base) that work best for them. We’re also going to send a prepaid postage sticker so customers can send back their shampoo bottle for refilling. We also toyed with the idea of sending sample bottles of various mixtures for a low price so customers can determine what works for them.

All these things will take time, though, so in the beginning, Benson Inc. will only offer a few different mixtures/ingredients, so the customization potential will be low. However, our goal is to offer the very custom version of the website around various holidays. We would do advertising to increase the hype leading up to these holidays. It would be a nice, relatively low cost test, and because it’s for a limited time, it wouldn’t be too large of a commitment.

Essentially, this updated project is the one we took to the streets lately. Annsarah talked to three African-American women, all of whom thought it was a great idea. They liked the customization, but were all looking for something cheaper. However because African-American hair generally takes more specialized care because of it’s texture, they really liked the idea of complete customization for the natural products that work for them personally. Biiancaa, in her conversations, doesn’t believe that college students are the Benson Inc. target audience, as they aren’t generally the ones to spend more money on all natural products. Her goal now is to talk to older working class individuals. Her friends expressed contentment with their current shampoos and conditioners. Of the products offered at most stores, some college students are willing to spend a little bit more for natural products, but not too much more than normal. Emily talked to her mom, Aunts, and a few friends. Her mom expressed worries that people wouldn’t buy Benson Inc. products as presents. She would buy bars of soap, because she wouldn’t want to spend a lot of money on a whole bottle of shampoo that the recipient might not even like. She suggested offering gift cards, as that product would be something fun to receive. Emily’s mom was also concerned that this wouldn’t be something people would buy for themselves, as it’s feels like a luxury. Her Aunts think cheaper bar soap creations would be more fun.

Benson Inc might have to pivot some more, maybe offering customized shampoo gift cards only during holiday seasons, and base products the rest of the year. We learned that our market will be fairly unfamiliar to us — middle to upper middle class women who do their shopping online.

Here is the link to our Business Model Canvas.