As discussed in Lean Startup Experiment – Part 2 – How to Make an Effective Lean Startup Hypotheses, I learned the hard way that my original hypotheses were too vague, too unfocused, and too many. I cut the original four hypotheses down to one specific hypothesis: that people would buy one unit of my product for $25.

In this post, I will walk through what I did to tweak my experimental website to account for my new hypothesis.

Minimize Options

The pricing page on my original website included the monthly subscription model and three pricing options: an Individual plan with one of the products delivered per month, a Couples’ plan with two of the products delivered, and a Family plan with 3 or more of the products delivered per month.

This was a sloppy product page for many reasons:

  • As discussed in Part 2, by hypothesizing about the subscription model, I was getting way ahead of myself.
  • Not only was the subscription model premature, but it added unnecessary noise into my data. At this stage, if people were not buying, it wouldn’t be clear whether they were turned off by the product itself or by the idea of feeling locked into a monthly plan.
  • I don’t know what I was thinking adding in the Individual, Couples’, and Family plan. I had too many hypotheses to begin with, and here I was trying to test out another hypothesis that wasn’t on that already-too-long list.

To adapt the pricing page to my new, singular, more concise hypothesis, I got rid of the Individual, Couples’, and Family plan nonsense and the necessary monthly subscription. What was left was one option: a single unit of my product for $25.

Simplify the Checkout Process

The checkout process on my original website was long in hindsight. After clicking Buy Now, the customer would be taken to a page where they had to enter their name and email address and click continue; which would take them to a new page where they would enter their shipping information and click continue; which would take them to the Paypal checkout page where they would have to go through Paypal’s payment process.

When originally mocking up this process, I had what I thought was good reason for making it so thorough. I wanted to make sure I had all of the customer’s information at the time of purchase (a valid thought). In reality though, I should not have cared so much (yet) about collecting all that information because I didn’t actually have a product to send the person anyway. Google Analytics revealed that visitors were abandoning the process before making payment.

I shortened the process. Clicking ‘Buy Now’ would now send the visitor directly to the Paypal page rather than through my own information-collection pages first.

A brief side note: I stood by – and still stand by – my decision to actually require myself to receive funds (i.e. have the customer actually pay) for me to consider the experiment a success. Relying on the analytics of how many people click the Buy Now button is not really sufficient, because non-customers like to look around, even past the Buy Now button.

Add a Phone Number

My original site had my email address as the only way to reach me.  That’s not enough. I threw my phone number up there as well, figuring that having customers call me would give me more opportunities to learn.

In part 4, I’ll hopefully have some data to discuss. I’ve learned a lot about the Lean Startup process itself – now I’m hoping to learn a lot about the viability of my product idea.