STICKER SOCIETY|ELEVATE STICKERS VALUE

Objective

To provide more values to stickers using technology.

MY ROLE: UX Researcher & Software Engineer & Marketing Assistant

TIMEFRAME: June 2019 – August 2019

PROGRAM:Georgia Tech Create-X accelerator program 

TEAM STYLE:(interchangeable)1 UX Designer,1 Software Engineer,1 Marketing Manager 

TEAMMATES: Yayun Huang, Shawn Wong

TOOLS USED: Stakeholder Analysis, Benchmarking, Observational Studies, Interviews, Online Surveys, Optimal Workshop, Persona Generation, Storyboards, Journey Maps, User Testing, Adobe XD, Xcode, and Illustrator

BIGGEST TAKEAWAY: Seeking help when needed is important.

Recap

In last episode, we made the APP design and started building the APP when we found it difficult to locate our potential customers. This lead us wonder about the existence of our hypothesized market and the strength of our business value proposition. We made the mistake of jumping into a final product too quick without listening to what the market wants. However, the good news is that, in our customer discovery process, we found out about some complains people were having about the functionality of stickers. Maybe we can do something about it this time. 

The Challenge 

Stickers have been used to mainly promote or decorate. However, the physical value of them has been unchanged since its creation in 1935. People can often see stickers, but they can neither easily access the meaning of the stickers nor interact with stickers in any way. People who use them for promotion lose track of them completely. 

Initial Research

We have done much customer discovery about family in the last episode. Now we mainly focus on the other two potential segments of customers: business owners and artists. We did most of the customer discovery in a place called Little Five Points which was filled with business owners and artists. We also conducted some interviews in general areas such as malls and schools. 

Little Five Points 

Piemont Park

Lenox Mall

We found out that small business owners sometimes would spend money to make stickers in order to promote their brands or to build fan base. Out of 30+ small businesses we interviewed, 6 companies gave out stickers. And 2 companies mentioned that they used to give out stickers but not anymore because they didn’t see much effect that the stickers brought, it was mainly for fun. 

For the artists and tattoo shops we interviewed, many mentioned the dilemma of having to compromise the design when words are needed to put into the design for people to look their names up.

Ideation

Based on our customer discovery data above, we found the problem of limited functionality of stickers to be a real one. After confirming this, each member of our team came up with ideas to solve this problem. We also consulted experienced members and teachers in the startup program to brainstorm with us. And we reached four main possible directions.

Interactive business stickers

The main target for this idea is the customers of the small businesses. The reason we are starting from small businesses is that they are still developing and are easier to approach than big companies. It is a good starting point for us. Since small business owners would complain that they cannot track the stickers they send out, we can create an APP that utilizes image recognition combined with Augmented Reality to allow users to excess more information about the company and to interact with the company. The way it works is that a user can scan the company sticker and Augmented Reality information about the company would pop up: the content can be in the format of animations, music, videos, image, and etc. By adding another dimension of content that can be constantly updated, companies would be able to reach their customers in another method that is fun and new. What’s more, each time the user scans the sticker, the APP would send the data to the cloud base and therefore the company would be able to better track the usage of interactive stickers among users. The ideal companies for this idea would be companies that have constant information updates, such as fashion industries and food industries. 

Strength:

1. Companies would be able to track usage of stickers and therefore broaden their marketing channel and maximize the effectiveness of investment on stickers

2. many small businesses to contact for us

Weakness:

this ideology is based on the assumption that people’s behavior can be trained in this particular process: the act of scanning stickers constantly for new information is very new for human behavior. We need to first identify if there is any strong incentive that would lead people in doing this and in continuing doing so. 

Extra dimensional artistic creation 

The main focus on this idea is that artist would be able to exploit the values of stickers in another level. Still using the APP that utilizes technologies of image recognition and Augmented Reality, artists would be able to show interactive content such as 3D model, animation, and etc. We might also need to develop a website that supports the artists to upload their design and the corresponding AR content. The website can showcase all the artists’ creations so that people can also just enjoy the AR interaction with their phone pointing at the computer. The APP would allow general public to view these artists’ arts in another dimension, thus encouraging the selling of these artistic stickers. 

Strength:

1. Artists have limitless imaginations and this APP and website combined platform would be enjoyable to look at

2. Can build a artist community 

Challenges:

1. the development of website and APP takes demanding effort and knowledge

2. Artists who are good at 2D art may not be as good as creating interactive experience

Ads platform

The main focus for this idea is the promotional use of stickers. Whenever a user get a sticker of their favorite brand, they can scan it using the image recognition APP that contains the information for all the companies. After doing so, the APP would send pushup notifications about newest deals and latest trends, so that the user would not miss any big sale. 

Strength:

1. Centralize all the promotions in one APP

2. Get to know promotions first hand

Challenges:

1. This idea does not really elevate the values of stickers, since users can just scan a logo and get the same result

2. The general public hates constant ads (confirmed by our customer validation later)

3. Too many companies out there to keep a record

Sticker pet

This idea is kind of a joke but is my personal favorite. Using an APP powered by image recognition and Augmented Reality(sorry, these features are my obsessions), now users would be able to interact with the stickers on your laptop or water bottle. The stickers might be in the shape of a plant or an animal that users need to constantly scan and interact with. The users would need to do activities such as “watering the plant”, “feeding the dog”, and etc to keep the sticker pets growing. What is even better, if the users put two stickers that are recognizable by the system, these stickers would be able to interact with each other. For example, if the user put one dog sticker near a cat sticker, these creatures would fight another in Augmented Reality. 

Strength:

1.Sounds fun

Challenges:

1. Demands fantastic content creation

2. Might be difficult in technology 

Customer Validation

After combining the data of all our past customer discovery, we decided that the interactive business stickers idea and the extra dimensional artistic creation idea are the two most executable ones. We ruled out the Ads platform idea because that during customer discovery, we found that people are used to the habit of checking emails for promotions and they do not feel any need for change. Many people also mentioned how frequent ads becomes annoying. The sticker pet or plant idea, no matter how much I enjoy it, is not possible within a short time due to the amount of content creation it demands. Because the second extra dimensional artistic creation idea also demands some form of artistic creation that takes some time, we decided to first go with the first idea: interactive business stickers. 

To get started, I found an API that supports both image recognition and Augmented Reality and integrated into an iOS APP. The reason I chose iOS development was that iOS APP appears to be easier and more stable. The interface for our minimal viable product we intended to stay very simple: after opening the APP, it would immediately open up a camera that can be used to scan any stickers. This way the users would not need to waste any time to navigate from homepage to camera since our main feature right now is just image recognition and AR. The below video showcased how it worked in reality. 

We then showed our minimal viable productto about 10 random people including students in the school and customers in bars. We then asked some questions and their responses were as follows. 

1.  On a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being least likely, 5 being most likely, how likely would you use this application?

The average is 3.9. (Several people mentioned that it depends on what kinds of information they can get. One says that they may be lazy to have the APP downloaded.)

2.  What feature stands out to you the most from this application? Why?

The Augmented Reality content that users would be able to interact stands out the most for most people. They really enjoyed that they could click on website links. 

3.  What content would you like to see in this application?

Most people say that they would like more information about the sticker scanned in general and one person mentioned about more information about artistic stickers, such as the name of artists etc. There was one person mentioned that he would like to see customized personal content, such as a personalized calendar.

 

4.  What would you change about the application?

Two people talked about adding a favorite business option, and one talked about adding a home page since they do not like to see a camera function without preparing. 

5.  What are your final thoughts on the application? (Anything else you would like to add?)

People are amazed by the AR contents and are generally very intrigued. One person suggested that the APP can have a rewarding system that awards users points towards the store as they scan the stickers often. Take Starbucks, for example, if one user scan the Starbucks sticker and even let other people scan their sticker (each person has a different code), this person gets more points on Starbucks sticker membership and would be able get discount or other benefits. 

Going Further

We are truly happy that our product this time seems to have validated value. We had really short amount of time in developing this product since our most concern was validating the value of our idea. In proceeding further into this project, we would first need to be more clear about our business canvas model, especially our value proposition.

Technically speaking, we need to explore the capabilities of the API that we are currently using now and get help in advanced software engineering since in order to support the large database of image uploads, we would need cloud storage solution

For design aspect, next time we should also build an APP interface model along with the MVP to showcase both the functionality and considerations for all our features. Also after getting the feedback from the interviewees, more design options shall be explored and tested. 

wuqiong97c@gmail.com​  |  Tel: 470-721-9279