Mixed methods research shaping the product roadmap at Afterpay
The high levels at which consumers and employees are willing to try new brands, switch products and even change jobs are both one of the greatest challenges and opportunities facing businesses and governments today. Organizations that successfully navigate this environment by delivering the experiences their customers and employees want will increase market share, create industry-changing products, and attract and retain the best talent.
The Australian company Afterpay is a great example of an organization that is thriving by delivering great experiences. By finding a way to deliver a better payment experience to customers - through its buy now pay later services - Afterpay created an entirely new category, as well as a company valued at almost $40billion.
Research and insights have been integral to Afterpay’s meteoric rise. At XM Live: Succeeding in the Age of Experience Transformation, Afterpay’s Head of Product Research Daniel Camilleri shared the three product research principles that have built the foundations for the company’s continued success.
1. Product research should be done as early as possible
One of the most valuable parts of any business, according to Daniel, are the areas that drive growth. This is why the research team is focused on ensuring the company builds strategically differentiated products that help the business grow as fast as possible.
A key part of this is ensuring research is carried out as early in the development process as possible.
“Research impact declines as products get developed. For example, research in the product planning phase can help you decide what to build and where to invest, whereas post-launch you’re limited to smaller - mostly aesthetic - changes. It’s much harder to change products after they are live,” said Daniel.
2. Run research programs internally
At a time when every organization is looking for faster access to insights, having research capabilities in-house is giving Afterpay a competitive advantage.
“Using the range of research technologies available today - including Qualtrics which touches about half of the work we undertake - means you can conduct studies faster, scale them, and automate them,” said Daniel.
As organizations build these capabilities internally, there are a number of key skills to prioritize in the recruitment process.
“The key skills to look for in researchers are scientific rigour - such as understanding statistics, survey design, and sampling - and the ability to run qualitative and quantitative programs. Having a growth mindset is also important. Researchers are trying new tools regularly, so being willing to adopt new technologies is essential,” said Daniel.
3. Use qualitative and quantitative research to make informed business decisions you can trust
Undertaking a mix of qualitative and quantitative research programs have helped Afterpay build products tailored for consumers’ wants and needs.
“Qualitative studies help us learn new things, while quantitative programs help us validate what we’ve found. Quantitative research is great for prioritizing product attributes to develop, you can statistically validate personas by a range of factors, and you can build predictive models that tell you what features your customers are most likely to value,” said Daniel.
This framework has delivered significant value to Afterpay, with the range of insights captured helping the company design products with confidence and precision.
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Afterpay’s intelligent and industry-leading approach to product research is proof of the significant value research programs can bring to any organization - especially today when speed to insights is a significant competitive advantage. By doing research at the right time, with the right people, and in the right ways Afterpay has delivered long-lasting and sustainable value to its customers.
Learn more about the research methods shaping Afterpay’s product roadmap by watching the full session from XM Live: Succeeding in the Age of Experience Transformation now.
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