How would you sell live plants on Amazon? - Product Strategy
Amazon Product Management Interview: Product Strategy - How would you sell live plants on Amazon E-commerce platform?
How to answer Product Strategy questions?
Here is a step-by-step framework you can follow while answering product strategy interview questions during the interview:
Clarify the Question: Make sure you fully understand the question being asked by the interviewer. Ask for clarification if necessary to ensure you address the question correctly.
Describe the Company, Product & Goals: Provide an overview of the company and the product. This will help to set the context for your answer and demonstrate your understanding of the company and its offerings.
List the User Segments and User Journey’s: Identify and list the various user segments and user journeys. Identify the distinct user groups, their needs, and the typical paths they follow when interacting with the product.
List your Strategic Choices: Identify and list the various strategic choices available to the company. These could include expanding the product line, entering new markets, or repositioning the product.
List your Evaluation Criteria: Determine the key criteria that will be used to evaluate the different strategic choices. This could include market size, competition, financial viability, and customer needs.
Evaluate each Strategic Choice: Analyze each strategic choice based on the evaluation criteria you have established. Identify the pros and cons of each option and evaluate the potential impact of each choice on the company and its product.
Define Metrics to Measure Solution Performance: These metrics should be aligned with the company's objectives and should offer quantifiable insights into the outcomes.
Make a Recommendation: Based on your evaluation, recommend the best strategic choice for the company and its product. Explain your reasoning and provide evidence to support your recommendation.
Step 1: Ask Clarifying Questions
Q) What is the goal here?
Improve user engagement?
Increase user retention & switching cost?
Acquire more users with entry in a new market?
Improve the user experience on the App?
Diversify product portfolio?
Develop a competitive advantage?
Combat climate change?
A) It’s up to you. You are free to choose.
Q) Do live plants include plant parts such as flowers, seeds?
A) Yes, you may include that.
Q) Is planting pot and soil included
A) Yes, you can consider that.
Q) Does Amazon have a constraint on dimensions (small, mid, large) and type (seasonal, fancy indoor, outdoor plants) of the plant?
A) You can consider small and mid size plants for launch.
Q) Do we need to focus on a specific channel, market or users?
A) Assume no.
Step 2: Describe the Product
Amazon is a comprehensive e-commerce platform that serves as a virtual marketplace, offering an extensive selection of products and services to customers across the globe. Through its website and mobile applications, Amazon enables users to browse, purchase, and sell a wide array of items, including electronics, apparel, books, household essentials, and more. Additionally, Amazon provides digital services such as streaming content, cloud computing, and AI-powered virtual assistant devices.
Amazon's mission is to improve the customer experience continually, provide a wide range of products and services, and drive customer satisfaction.
Amazon can be accessed from a desktop web, mobile web, and mobile app (Android, IOS).
Some of Amazon's major competitors include Walmart, Alibaba, eBay, Target, Best Buy, Google (through Google Shopping), Apple (through Apple Store), Shopify.
Amazon caters to a diverse user base, ranging from individual consumers to businesses of all sizes. Every day consumers leverage Amazon's platform to conveniently shop for products, compare prices, read customer reviews, and enjoy swift and reliable delivery to their doorstep. Furthermore, businesses, including small-scale sellers and established brands, utilize Amazon as a powerful e-commerce platform to reach a massive customer base, expand their online presence, and benefit from Amazon's fulfilment and logistics services.
How To Use
Users use Amazon in various ways depending on their needs and preferences. As consumers, they can visit the Amazon website or mobile app, explore different categories, search for specific products, and read detailed product descriptions and customer reviews to make informed purchasing decisions. Customers can also take advantage of features like one-click ordering, personalized recommendations, and hassle-free returns to enhance their shopping experience. On the other hand, businesses utilize Amazon's Seller Central platform to set up their own virtual storefronts, manage inventory, track sales, and leverage marketing tools to reach and engage with customers effectively.
Pain Points it solves for its users:
Amazon solves several pain points for its users, which contributes to its widespread popularity and success. Here are some key pain points that Amazon addresses:
Convenience and Accessibility: With a few clicks or taps, users can access millions of items, compare prices, read product reviews, and make purchases without the need to visit physical stores or navigate through crowded shopping centres.
Extensive Product Selection: Users can find an incredible variety of products, including niche items that may not be readily available in local stores. This vast selection gives users the freedom to choose from multiple brands, sizes, colours, and price ranges, ensuring that they can find the exact product they need.
Competitive Pricing: Users can compare prices from different sellers and benefit from discounts, deals, and promotions.
Fast and Reliable Delivery: Amazon's efficient delivery system helps users receive their orders in a timely manner, reducing the frustration associated with long shipping times.
Customer Reviews and Ratings: Users can read reviews from other customers who have purchased and used the product, helping them make informed decisions and avoid potential disappointments.
Hassle-Free Returns and Refunds: Users can request returns or refunds for eligible items, and Amazon provides clear instructions and guidelines to streamline the process.
Step 3: Define the Goal you want to achieve
Amazon's primary goal is to provide a wide range of products and services, and drive customer satisfaction. The company is dedicated to delivering exceptional customer experiences through a wide selection of products, competitive pricing, convenient and reliable delivery, personalized recommendations, and outstanding customer service. Amazon also aims to maintain its market leadership position by continually innovating, expanding its global presence with a wide variety of products, leveraging cutting-edge technologies, and driving long-term growth and profitability.
However, with the growth of other e-commerce platforms in different geographies like Flipkart, Myntra, Ajio, Nykaa, Walmart, Alibaba, eBay, Target, Shopify etc which caters to the wide variety of needs of the customers Amazon is facing tough competition in keeping users engaged on the platform and increase profitability.
Amazon's existing customer base likely includes individuals who purchase various gardening supplies through the platform. The introduction of live plants into this product mix offers the potential for increased customer engagement, providing a more comprehensive solution to their gardening needs. Additionally, there are prospects for generating incremental revenue by venturing into this new product category and utilizing cross-selling strategies. This strategic move also positions Amazon to directly compete with major competitors like Walmart in the live plants category.
Step 4: List the User Segments
When it comes to buying live plants online, there are three primary groups of people we can consider:
Buyers: These are the individuals or companies that buy live plants on Amazon. They're the ones looking for beautiful, healthy plants to add to their homes or businesses at reasonable prices.
Sellers: Sellers are individuals or companies that offer live plants for sale on the platform. Some of them may grow these plants themselves (nurseries or hobbyists), while others might source them from various suppliers. They’re the ones
Delivery Services: These are the folks or businesses responsible for shipping the live plants from the seller to the buyer. This is especially crucial for live plants because we must ensure they arrive in excellent condition, unlike non-perishable items.
For our live plant delivery strategy, we'll primarily focus on the third group, the Delivery Services. This is because making sure the live plants are delivered safely and in good condition is a critical aspect of this strategy, and it directly affects the satisfaction of the people purchasing the plants.
Step 5: Delivery Journey
Let's break down the steps involved in delivering live plants to better understand the process:
Storage: Live plants will be initially stored at Amazon's warehouses or designated fulfillment centers. Different types of live plants, would require specific storage conditions to ensure their survival. Warehouses are to be equipped with varying environments, temperature controls, and light settings to accommodate the diverse plant types.
Inventory Management: Amazon's inventory management system would ensure that the live plants are properly cataloged, monitored, and tracked in the warehouse. This system would help maintain the health and availability of the plants, ensuring that they are ready for delivery.
Customer Orders: When a customer places an order for a live plant on the Amazon platform, the order is processed, and the delivery journey begins.
Delivery Request: A delivery request is generated based on the customer's order. This request includes the specific plant type, delivery address, and delivery preferences selected by the customer (e.g., delivery speed, date-time slot).
Order Processing: Amazon's order processing system selects the most suitable live plant from inventory, considering factors like plant health, size, and proximity to the customer's location.
Pickup Preparation: Amazon's logistics team prepares for the pickup by ensuring that the delivery vehicle is equipped with the necessary storage conditions to maintain the plant's health during transportation. This may include climate-controlled compartments and secure packaging.
Pickup: The designated delivery personnel arrive at the Amazon warehouse or fulfillment center to pick up the live plant. They verify the order details and inspect the plant's condition to ensure it meets quality standards.
Transport: The live plant is carefully loaded into the delivery vehicle, which is equipped to provide a suitable environment for plant transportation. This may include climate control and secure positioning to prevent damage.
Drop-Off: The delivery personnel arrive at the customer's location and carefully place the live plant at the designated drop-off point.
Customer Confirmation: The customer confirms the safe receipt of the live plant and may provide feedback on the delivery experience. This feedback is valuable for Amazon's continuous improvement efforts.
Step 6: Strategic Themes of Journey
The user journey involving live plants introduces unique challenges related to "Storage" and "Transport." These themes are crucial for ensuring the health and satisfaction of customers.
Type of Storage Environment: Different plants have varying requirements for factors such as temperature, humidity, sunlight, and space. It's essential to customize the storage conditions to suit the specific needs of each plant type.
Speed of Delivery: Live plants are highly perishable, and their vitality depends on timely delivery. Ensuring a swift and efficient delivery process is essential. This includes minimizing the time between order placement and shipment to maintain the freshness and health of the plants upon arrival.
Careful Transport: Transporting live plants requires an extra level of care and attention due to their vulnerability. The transportation process must safeguard the plants from damage, stress, and exposure to adverse conditions. Consider protective packaging, secure handling, and monitoring environmental conditions during transit.
Packaging Innovation: Consider biodegradable or eco-friendly packaging options. Adequate packaging should not only prevent physical damage but also maintain the right levels of moisture and ventilation.
Returns and Customer Satisfaction: Establish a clear and customer-friendly return policy for live plants. Addressing customer concerns and dissatisfaction promptly is crucial. A positive post-purchase experience can build trust and repeat business.
Step 7: Strategic Choices
Given the important strategic themes of this delivery journey for the plant, below are a few strategic choices for Amazon: