Determining the Scope of an MVP: GoDaddy Payments

With a growing signal that customers were interested in selling, GoDaddy knew that it wanted to offer a world-class payments experience. This research was designed to help scope an MVP of the mobile experience.

Low fees and a foolproof mobile experience proved to be the two key features that came up again and again in customer interviews. So we listened.

The Problem

GoDaddy has a long history of helping small businesses launch and sell their products online through its website builder and managed WordPress offering. In 2021, a new focus emerged with the acquisition of Poynt: Allowing seamless online and in-person payments that blends the best of both worlds.

It was a tall order, and the mobile team took on the challenge to develop an MVP of the mobile app. This research was the first step towards scoping a payments experience that could help millions of solopreneurs and small businesses sell in person.

Identifying the Risk

Thanks to a deep bench of existing research, the mobile team already had access to a lot of qualitative and quantitative data about what people want when it comes to payments and eCommerce.

But we felt that our greatest risk was making assumptions about the mobile experience based on data that centered primarily on websites. Someone selling handmade soap at a Farmer's Market was going to have different needs and challenges than someone setting up an online store.

There was also internal risk that we had to consider. Building a mobile payments experience was a huge undertaking, and every requirement that we added could potentially tack on months of work for the team. So we needed to know what features were needed and what could be left out.

Choosing the Methodology

After joining to lead the research on this project, I held a series of discussions with the team to understand what questions we had in our minds.

Many of these questions started with "How" or "Why", which is often a good signal that a qualitative approach is going to be the most useful. It became clear that what the team needed was to put themselves into the shoes of someone selling books at an author's event or a wedding photographer selling image packages during a consultation.

The design team was ready to get started with a prototype and they needed customer input sooner rather than later. So I turned to User Testing to find and recruit both GoDaddy customers and non-customers who matched our target audience.

Rather than conduct the interviews by myself, I invited the product manager and the lead designer to join each interview. This helped them hear firsthand about the challenges that sellers experience and gave them the opportunity to ask questions that I wouldn't have thought of.

Rather than ask about general preferences, we focused on specific, recent experiences. People told us about the time their card reader failed when they had a line of twenty people waiting to check out, or about the time someone offered to pay generously for a custom product.

After each interview, we would hold a brief discussion where we talked about what we noticed, what surprised us, and if we wanted to change any of our questions before the next session.

This took place over a period of a week and allowed us to deeply immerse ourselves in the experience of sellers.

Analyzing the Data

Because the team joined the research from the very beginning, it was easy to keep everyone on the same page about what we were learning.

After completing our user interviews, we felt confident that we had validated a scope that would thrill customers and could be completed in a reasonable amount of time.

I went back through each interview and pulled out key insights and moments that I felt were especially valuable or interesting. I then compiled these together into a single report that included lots of clips of sellers discussing their actual experiences and what had frustrated them about mobile payment solutions in the past.

This proved invaluable because as the project grew, new team members were constantly joining to help with various parts of the prototyping or development work. I was able to share these clips with each team member that joined so that they could have a "customer onboarding" experience and get to know the people that they were going to be helping.

One Step of Many

The goal of this research was to give the team the confidence to invest their time and resources into building an MVP that we thought customers would love.

But we didn't stop there — far from it! We continued to test and iterate as we went, showing customers prototypes at all stages of completeness to make sure we were still on the right track.

In my opinion, this is where the real magic began to emerge.

The more we talked with customers, the stronger the team's intuition became. My proudest moment was sitting in on a design review and hearing the team discuss the screen that asked customers to confirm their purchase and sign.

"This was our first design," one of the designers on the call said. "It's beautiful and looks really impressive. But customers tell us that these screens need to be foolproof, and this had a lot of unnecessary elements, so here's what we're trying instead."

The ultimate goal of research is to make sure that the customer is always in the room.

Lessons Learned

Including the team in all stages of the research makes it much more impactful and can help to improve the customer intuition of the entire company.

Focusing on specific customer experiences can help to validate an MVP by providing you with actual scenarios to imagine while designing and developing the functionality.

Get in touch

Email: hello [at] patrickward [dot] io