Online Education

Designing a B2C Model

Reading Time: 7 minutes

The context

The challenge is to design a strategy or business model to effectively reach the end customer (B2C), achieving rapid growth in the adoption of this new digital product. In this case we are talking about a company already established in the traditional education business (face-to-face), which wants to launch a new online product to adapt business to the current reality and compete in this niche. This product seeks to position itself among the best existing online education options.

The main objective in terms of CRO is its adoption by districts and educational centers (US and Canada) of elementary and secondary education (K-4 to K-12) as well as the acquisition by individual teachers (grassroots).

The method we want to test in a first iteration is “try & buy”, i.e., providing a free functional demo (MVP) to later build customer engage through payment and/or direct/indirect subscription (buying licenses by themselves or through an administrator of their district or school).

To address this challenge, the first thing I did was conducting a study of the competition, as well as some businesses whose B2C model could serve as a guide.

Approaching the problem

Benchmarking

In this study we will be highlighting one of the techniques that were carried out to approach the deep understanding of the problem, as well as obtaining the first and valuable insights about the market niche we are targeting and the competitors we are facing:

– NEARPOD

Market research on this company revealed that its main online education product is among the top three strongest in the North American and Canadian market. The product’s website clearly highlights the benefits for different types of target users. In addition, its usability is quite good. Its B2C model is simple and intuitive, with few pain points in the subscription process. Undoubtedly, it is a serious competitor.

– PEARDECK

This is another of our product’s major competitors. They also opt, as seen in the graph below, for a very direct access to their free demo via subscription.

– SEESAW

Totally focused on its three main types of users (students, teachers and families). In this case, to attract new users, they use an explanatory video. A new tab opens with YouTube, which after several research studies, revealed a potential loss of engagement.

– FRECKLE

Its end user lies in schools. Its approach, both commercial and visual, is clearly aimed at younger students than in the previous cases (K-2). However, its potential customers are also teachers, schools and districts. The business model follows our same strategy of offering a free demo (try & buy).

– DOMESTIKA

The educational niche is different from the cases studied above. However, this company was studied mainly to gain insights from its B2C model, since it is a highly successful business that also goes beyond the borders of the United States and Canada. It is clear once again that their Customer Journey is totally focused on B2C and the process is extremely simple, visual and usable.

– STRIPE

Although it is not an educational product, its B2C model was studied because it is a very powerful company that currently leads its market niche. This is the example that focuses more directly on obtaining new leads.

B2C strategy (solution)

Flows and Use Cases

Below are some of the flows and use cases that were designed to carry out the B2C business strategy:

– FLOW: NEW TEACHER INTERESTED IN TRYING OR BUYING THE PRODUCT

This flow shows the different ways of accessing the product, both to its marketing page and to the trial or subscription version. Access is direct and loyalty processes have been simplified as much as possible to avoid loss of leads.

These use cases are focused on the adoption of free subscribers who will potentially become premium users.

Use Case: Free tier for teachers
  • Selects that she is buying for yourself
  • Selects “I am a teacher”
  • Navigates through the subscriptions (pricing and feature options)
  • Select “free tier”
  • Provides email address (Google / Microsoft)
  • Receives email confirming free tier subscription and benefits around upgrading to paid tier
  • Within a few days of inactivity reminder email is sent
  • Website: Receives “onboarding” messages around new product features
  • Checks content repository
Use Case: Teacher buys license for the first time
  • Teacher enters the marketing page of the product
  • Selects that she is buying for herself
  • Selects “I am a teacher”
  • Teacher goes to the product’s pre-registration page
  • Navigates through the subscriptions (pricing and feature options)
  • Selects subscription
  • Creates an account and logs in
  • Receives an email to verify user data
  • Confirms purchase
  • Accepts billing frequency
  • Enters payment method
  • Confirms, pays and receives confirmation on screen
  • Receive email with payment confirmation
  • Enters the product website
– FLOW: NEW TEACHER EDITING HER SUBSCRIPTION

Below is the flow with the steps to upgrade the subscription type, change payment methods or cancel the subscription if necessary. Again, the steps have been shortened as much as possible and the interaction, from a human-centered design point of view, always involves corresponding feedback in response to each interaction.

Again, some use cases to define the actions related to editing a teacher’s subscription:

Use Case: Teacher downgrading her personal account
  • She goes to the B2C portal site and logs in
  • Selects “Change” subscription
  • The teacher navigates through the subscription levels
  • Selects a lower tier
  • Selects the subscription duration
  • Confirms subscription details
  • Receives an email confirmation of the subscription downgrade
Use Case: Teacher updating (upgrading) her personal account
  • Teacher goes to the B2C portal site and logs in
  • Selects “Change” subscription
  • Navigates through the subscription tiers
  • Selects a higher tier
  • Selects the billing frequency of the subscription
  • Confirms the subscription details and pays the difference
  • Receives an email confirmation around her subscription
  • Receive payment confirmation
Use Case: Teacher canceling subscription
  • The teacher goes to the B2C portal site and logs in
  • Edits the subscription to cancel it
  • Sees a message around required refund or penalty
  • Confirms the changes
  • Receives notification around changes
– FLOW: EXISTING ADMINISTRATOR MANAGING PAID SUBSCRIPTIONS

As seen in the next flow, administrators have full control to manage the subscriptions and users that depend on them. The biggest challenge, as seen below in the wireframes, is to accomplish all these tasks through a simple, unified interface that works properly on any type of device.

These are some of the use cases designed to accomplish tasks related to the management of paid subscriptions by an administrator:

Use Case: Administrator increases the number of licenses for his users
  • The administrator logs in
  • Goes to the administrator account portal view
  • Selects the organization on which he wants to increase the number of licenses
  • Increases the number of licenses
  • Receives a message around price and amount change
  • Confirms the changes
  • Receives an email confirming the subscription change
  • Receives payment receipt
Use Case: Administrator decreases the number of licenses for his users
  • The administrator logs in
  • Goes to the administrator’s account portal view
  • Selects the organization on which he wants to decrease the number of licenses
  • Decreases the number of licenses
  • Gets a message around the plan price change
  • Confirms the changes
  • Receives email confirmation of the subscription change
Use Case: Administrator can view invoices
  • The administrator logs in
  • Goes to his home page
  • Selects the organization for which he wants to view the invoices
  • Selects “Invoices”
  • Reviews the invoices
  • Downloads invoices
– FLOW: EXISTING ADMINISTRATOR MANAGING USERS THROUGH SUBSCRIPTIONS

In this flow, the number of options at the first level is kept small to facilitate usability and prevent the cognitive effort from increasing.

The administrator is of great importance in the implementation of our B2C (and also B2B) model. We want to make the management tasks you will have to perform as easy as possible. Let’s highlight the following Use Case:

Use Case: Moving users from one subscription tier to another
  • Administrator logs in
  • Goes to the portal view of the administrator’s account
  • Selects Org
  • Selects the desired subscription
  • Views the list of enabled users within a subscription
  • Selects the users to be “Moved” to a different subscription
  • Confirms “Move” selection
  • Sees the subscription tier with the newly added users
Wireframes

This section shows some of the wireframes designed. The previous flows and use cases were taken into account, as well as other UX artifacts such as user stories, user scenarios, personas, etc. All this was developed under our customized Design Thinking model.

– NEW TEACHER SUBSCRIBING TO THE PRODUCT TRIAL

From the analysis and validation of the data collected and always from a human-centered point of view (HCD), I carried out the wireframes for the different user journeys. In the examples below, for the sake of brevity, only the teacher’s point of view is shown. The following graphic shows the path a teacher will take to access the new product.

– TEACHER BUYING THE PRODUCT FOR HERSELF

For this first iteration I am showing the process that a teacher would go through to purchase the product for herself (without the need for an administrator or vendor to participate). The process is simple and straightforward. A payment experience similar to that provided in tools such as Stripe is proposed.

– TEACHER EDITING HER SUBSCRIPTION

The following graphic contains the wireframes of a teacher editing her subscription without the need for intermediaries. As can be seen, the essential needs for an MVP product of these characteristics are covered: renewal, payment methods, upgrades or invoices. A good implementation on the Front and Backend side will be crucial for the data and statuses displayed to make the system status perfectly clear.

Outcomes

As we said, the design of this B2C model is intended to transcend in a very specific and competitive sector. It is still too early to define the achievement of the KPIs set. Information will be updated as it becomes available.

Thanks for watching!

 

© 2021 Oscar Manzano