One of the biggest challenges we have as an online retail store is selling “high consideration items,” such as large furniture pieces, appliances, and smart home products – people want to touch it, feel it, sit on it, play with it, and experience it in person before spending thousands dollars on them.
So how do we solve this problem – without building physical stores?
By turning 4.5 million of Airbnb homes around the world into micro showrooms where millions of people can discover and have hands-on tactile experience with all things Amazon.
This project consists of 2 parts:
Part 1 – Host experience
How do we fill millions of Airbnb homes with Amazon products?
Part 2 – Guest experience
How do we create a delightful product discovery experience for guests?
How the hell do we convince millions of Airbnb hosts around the world to spend thousands of dollars and fill their rental homes with Amazon products?
By offering them simple turnkey solution packages (e.g. furnishings, replenishments, smart home products) that can help them maximize their earning potentials and make their hosting experience easier.
To prove our hypothesis, we identified a struggling Airbnb host with a low-performing listing and gave it a complete makeover with curated packages of furniture, supplies, and smart home solutions.
2 main goals of this experiment was to:
Observe and document the makeover process to better understand the host’s pain points and discover improvement opportunities.
Measure the ROI of Amazon products.
Through 2 weeks of prepping, designing, interviewing, delivery handling, assembling, decorating, and cleaning, we discovered a number of areas where Amazon fell short of the host’s expectations – we will continue to make improvements in these areas based on our learnings.
See the updated listing page on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/17962405
How did the updated home perform (Data as of Feb 7, 2019)?
Within 1 month after the makeover, the booking revenue increased by 16% more in January and 40% in February, compared to last year. Advance bookings have also jumped up by 150%.
The host has switched from using Costco, QFC, and other retail stores to Amazon and subscribed to 12 Subscribe & Save items (toilet paper, hand soap, paper towels, coffee, etc) – he will be saving $332.76 this year.
2 items were purchased by guests at 8.33% conversion rate in January, which is 5% higher than average conversion rate on Amazon.com
We have analyzed over 300 items on Amazon to find the best balance between quality and quantity and curated an essentials checklist for hosts, which will launch in early March by leveraging HCX Checklist.
We are working on a new version that can better accommodate the needs of hosts. See the latest prototype of essentials checklist: https://amazon.invisionapp.com/share/59QGKXJ8RSJ#/343771490_essentials-Unselected
We will continue to add more checklists (smart home solutions and furnishings) for hosts and create a store front on Amazon for Airbnb and other short-term rental hosts.
Once we fill millions of Airbnb homes with Amazon products, how do we create a delightful product discovery experience for guests without being intrusive?
By providing enhanced check-in & in-home guest experiences – with the shopping experience seamlessly woven into it in AR.
From effortless self check-in process to on-demand movies and room services, voice-controlled lights, and up-to-date local guides curated by Alexa, Amazon can leverage its existing services and technologies to create an unforgettable guest experience.
Here is an example guest experience:
1. When you are near the Airbnb home you have booked, you will receive a notification.
2. When you open the notification, directions to the building entrance will appear in AR view using visual positioning.
3. AR directions will continue to guide you through the building and take you to the exact unit you have booked.
4. When you arrive at the door, smart doorbell detects the motion.
5. Motion detection triggers an authentication process to unlock the door.
6. Door unlocks.
7. When you walk in, you will be greeted by Alexa, “Welcome to Amazon Home. Please make yourself comfortable. Use your device to look around the place to find helpful tips and interesting features.”
8. When you point your device at Alexa, you can see various helpful commands you can use around the house.
9. Say “Alexa, let’s chill” to draw the blinds, turn on the lights, and play some relaxing music.
10. You can relax and go about your day or continue looking around the house.
11. If you see anything that interests you, just point your device at it to learn more or purchase it.
12. Through this new shopping experience, millions of people will have hands-on tactile experience with Amazon products they couldn’t have otherwise.
13. You can access various contextual menus that offer different features based on your location in the house.
14. If you are hungry, use the app to order some food. It will be delivered to you in an hour, just like a hotel room service.
15. While waiting for your food to arrive, use the app to turn the TV on…
16. …and watch a movie.
17. Before going to bed…
18. …you can browse the listing catalog to learn more about items you are interested in or purchase them.
19. When you are ready to go to bed, say “Alexa, good night.”
20. It will trigger the blinds to shut, lights to turn off, and doors to lock.
21. Next morning, when you check-out…
22. ...you will receive a thank you email with a summary of items you have purchased and interacted with as well as helpful tips on the items of your interest.
To prove to our VP that this idea is not a far-fetched dream, I took a week of coding class to put together a functional prototype shown below: