Experticity: Expert Profile

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Ben Peck
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Building an application that revolves around people

Project Role:

Sr. Product Designer

Responsibilities:

  • Definition of product design principles
  • Systematic architecture design
  • Interaction prototype explorations
  • Full product UX flows & design direction
  • Guide quant/qual research

Team Composition:

Leadership: 1 PM, 1 TL, 1 UX (me)
Design: 1 UX designer (me)
Eng: 1 front-end engineer, 3 software engineers

Research / Success Metrics:

Quantitative: Increased Training Activity
Qualitative: Improved understanding of “Expert Rank”

01 / Product Background

Experticity works with hundreds of the world’s most respected consumer brands – companies like The North Face, Black Diamond, 5.11 Tactical, Brooks Running, Arc'teryx, Pelican and 600 plus more as well as retailers like REI and Cabela’s – to engage influential everyday experts, and to build, track and reward their helpful expertise. As the world’s largest advocacy marketing company, Experticity connects its community of more than 1 million vetted experts with the world’s top brands to build trusted brand advocacy by giving the experts a voice and elevating their recommendations.

One of the major goals for Experticity was quantifying and qualifying Product Expertise and to do that we focused heavily on what we called the Expert Profile.

Problem: How can we take the concept of ranking professionals in a category based manner to determine what level of discount and brand access they received? How do we create it in such a way that the professionals easily understand the ranking requirements and are motivated to increase their ranking in a meaningful way.

02 / Understanding the Behavior Change

What is the problem that we're trying to solve? How are we going to measure it?

We started out very bare bones when we first started servicing some of this information to users. We called it Expert Score. It was very much a simple list of categories with a score they had in each categories. Primarily our customers looked at us as a training platform where they could come learn more about product and earn a discount as an employee or professional discount for influencing sales of their product. The better they understood the product the more they could impact sales of those products.

Our customers were retail sales employees and semi-professionals (runners, bikers, skiers, etc). The main reason they used our product was to earn a discount on the products they loved. We needed to change that mentality. We wanted our users to think of themselves as "everyday experts" at varying levels.

03 / Product Improvements to Affect Behavior Change

How can change the user mindset of being a training company to a product influencer qualifier? How are we measuring success?

Expert Rank & Score

Qualifying everyday experts across multiple categories of interest

We did many explorations around how to summarize the “Expert Rank” to help experts on the platform better understand how they measured up to everyone else.

This is also where we helped experts understand how their rank effected the discounts they received from brands within different industries. The higher their rank in a category such as “Hunt” or “Automotive” the higher their benefits from the brands in that category.

The 3 Pillars of Expertise: Pillar 1 — Knowledge

Brands that everyday product experts had taken trainings on and had been certified experts.

Experts wanted a clear understanding of how that was calculated and what they needed to do to effect change in the rank to their benefit. We provided them with badges and a ranking based off performance in their knowledge through educational curriculum, products owned, and professional expertise.

The more they learned about the products they sold the more points they earned toward discount benefits from brands. If they scored 100% on the quizes after learning they received “certified expert” badges for specific brands. Experts found a lot of intrinsic value from earning these badges. To the effect that they started to care more about earning badges over ranking higher in the overall expert ranking. So we started to explore options of what the rewards could be if you earned a badge. We also developed non-brand category based training that experts could train on to earn category specific badges.

The 3 Pillars of Expertise: Pillar 2 — Products Owned

Products that everyday experts physically owned.

By showing what products the experts owned, it increased the influence they had on other shoppers and helped qualify them as more experienced when it came to the reviews or recommendations of products they gave to customers.

For example, shoppers would trust experts more if they were looking for a road bike and they could see the bikes that the expert owned. Making their opinion matter more than those that were just knowledgable about products but that had never used or had experience with it.

Initially we pulled products that experts had purchased through Experticity and we could verify that they owned the products. We also wanted to allow experts to upload products they’d purchased somewhere else to extend the expertise outside the Experticity platform.

Uploading products the expert owned
Full screen gallery of the products they owned

The 3 Pillars of Expertise: Pillar 3 — Experience

Places everyday experts have earned their experience.

Helping experts show their expertise through the platform also allowed them to prove their expertise. Showing that they’d worked with a brand or was a professional athlete showcased their expertise and not only gave them added benefit to deeper discounts from brands but also stronger credibility among shoppers.

03 / Product Learnings

What we learned.

  1. Everyday experts really valued their discounts from the brand and were always confused when they lost access to their discounts because they needed to continue learning about the brands.
  2. Everyday experts wanted to find ways to get deeper discounts and earlier access to products they loved.
  3. Everyday experts are competitive. They would boast to friends about how many certified expert badges they’d earned and for how long they’d maintained it.
  4. Everyday experts bought product from a variety of locations (online, retail, friends) and wanted ways to show their expertise that was outside out platform.

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