Grocery delivery: the UX best practices behind goPuff's success

November 2020

GoPuff is an online convenience retailer, which obviously puts the mobile app at the core of its strategy. Available in 150 US locations - mainly major cities and college towns - goPuff has met incredible success because it satisfies specific needs: in-the-moment desires like food cravings, sudden essentials when something unexpectedly runs out (over-the-counter medicine, phone charger...), and embarrassing purchases like condoms. At first, the app targeted students but has now a larger and more diverse customer base. goPuff has made speed and efficiency a priority, which is reflected in the mobile app. It has certainly not the most stunning app design but has managed to build a frictionless user experience. Let's dig into best practices from goPuff!

  • Being a fully integrated player offers significant advantages in terms of UX: Unlike DoorDash, Postmates or Instacart, goPuff does not aggregate supply from restaurants or shops. The user has direct access to goPuff products from the homepage; whereas a user has to first pick a shop and then browse through the product list of the selected shop in other delivery apps. This direct immersion into the products is a key advantage for goPuff.

  • Straightforward and frictionless onboarding: goPuff has designed a very simple onboarding, requiring as little information as possible: first name, email and phone number. No password or email verification is required, no need to leave the app during the process. goPuff has a mobile-first approach and uses much more text messages than emails, contrary to many delivery apps that have a more conventional sign up process.

  • Data-driven experience: there is no big surprise here, but goPuff customizes the home page according to your historical purchases. The "Buy it again" section is a good example.

  • Playful and customized text messages in line with goPuff marketing strategy: goPuff has an original and quirky communication on social media. Text messages take the same approach and strengthen the goPuff brand.

  • Navigation in goPuff relies on widespread UX practices - like carousels: Carousels are a very common way to browse in lists in mobile apps, because it improves product discovery and allows its users to find and add items to cart quicker. It is also a way to narrow the choice of users that have only access to a selection of items at first click (they need one more click to see all). goPuff is in line with Hick’s Law which states that the time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. goPuff’s promises of quick process is not only about the delivery, but also about the shopping experience.

  • A header navigation allows users to visit a new category at any moment in the app: In the latest version of the app, goPuff has introduced a list in the header that allows the user to go from category to category, no matter where he is in the app. This navigation system is not so common in the delivery mobile app space, but puts efficiency first. Thus, the home page is no longer a navigation page but a landing page. goPuff added this navigation menu after trying multiple A/B-tested designs as it turned out to be the best solution to improve product discovery and reduce check out time (source here).

  • Dynamic categories improve product discovery and make convenience shopping less boring: goPuff features dynamic categories depending on time, location, special events, etc. For instance, you can see the selection of products for a Game Day, the most popular products in your city or the items that can be exclusively bought in your area.

  • Rewards: Rewards are a major part of goPuff's strategy and so are they in the mobile app. goPuff dedicates an entire item of the menu to rewards. Also on rewards, the number of points earned pops up when you add a product to the cart. This micro interaction is delighting and engaging.

  • Upselling before Checkout: goPuff has some tricks to increase the basket size of its customers, like suggesting to change an item for the larger-sized one or offering other products based on the cart. goPuff bets on impulsive purchases as most people come to goPuff for in-the-moment desires.

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