An Environment-friendly shipping service
Role: UX Researcher & Designer
How might we encourage online shoppers to make more environmentally conscious shipping choices?
Amazon Green is an environmentally friendly delivery service for people who live in apartment buildings. It reframes online shopping delivery as a utility offered through landlords or building associations by delivering packages for the entire building on the same day each week.
It’s predictable - Easy knowing your packages will arrive on the same day every week!
It’s convenient - Everything arrives in one consolidated package!
It’s eco-friendly - Smile! You’re saving the planet!
Our secondary research highlighted that the most environmentally costly part of shipping is “the Last Mile” - the leg of the journey in which the package is brought from a distribution center to a customer’s door. While earlier steps can be made logistically efficient, the Last Mile remains problematic. It is difficult to make efficient as people order more items more frequently, in non-consolidated deliveries, while e-commerce companies promise increasingly rapid delivery.
Studies show that online shopping with non-expedited delivery actually has a smaller footprint than driving to a retail store to search, purchase, and return a product. We distilled the following questions from what we learned to guide our continued research:
User Research Methods
We conducted survey, interview, and content analysis of online shopping receipts as our primary User Research methods. We chose interviews and surveys as complementary methods. We were able to gather more qualitative, anecdotal, and detailed accounts of people’s experiences from interviews that explained, confirmed, or debunked the general trends we found in the survey results. Content analysis of people’s online shopping receipts allowed us to take a deeper and more authentic look into people’s past behaviors.
From our research, we created 3 personas: Sally Student, a busy undergrad who wants to be green on a low budget. Peter Parent, a father of two who has other things on his mind, and Patricia Professional, a businesswoman who has flexible resources and is dedicated to a green lifestyle. Distilling our research into personas led us to effective, and sometimes surprising solutions. For example, we designed Green Hubs in part to address Sally's lack of transportation, and Peter's busy schedule.
Ideation and Sketching
We started by brainstorming ideas that addressed our design question. We each came up with eight distinct ideas. We evaluated them as a group and after considering the feasibility, strengths, and weaknesses of each idea.
We condensed our brainstorm down to three promising concepts:
Out of the three concepts , we chose “Consolidated Delivery Service”, because….
Because we designed a new service, we focused on the breadth of it, and described all of its parts in as much detail as possible. In key areas, we elaborated on specific details and design decisions.
Our initial prototype consisted of 2 parts - a storyboard with a service flowchart to explain the service as a whole, and the Amazon Green digital interface. The storyboard gave an overview of the service from a user’s perspective, and the service flow chart guided the user in each step of the journey.
We conducted usability tests on the initial prototype by walking users through the storyboard and service flowchart, and asking them to interact with the digital interface of Amazon Green to complete specific tasks. The goal of the tests was to identify breakdowns in the prototype and to understand our users’ general perceptions of the designed service.
From our usability tests, we discovered the following usability problems and came up with solutions to address each one:
Much of our time during the prototyping phase was spent on Figma, changing the details on our digital prototype. While some of the visual elements were certainly important, our design is a service system. We could have directed our energy more on the holistic service design, including the framing, the communication, and the delivery of the service. We learned that it’s important to have a clear focus and goals during the prototype phase.
Our high fidelity prototype included a Service Blueprint, Customer Journey Map, and the Amazon Green Interface. Based on user feedback, we made three key adjustments in our high fidelity prototype to hone Green’s interface, clarify the service, and account for logistics in implementation.
Amazon Green Summary
Amazon Green is framed as a utility: a service people expect reliably, but don’t want to dedicate mental energy towards. Green is offered through apartment buildings that enter an agreement with Amazon, and is subsidized through a small increase in rent. Packages for the entire building arrive on the same day each week.
Amazon Green Onboarding
To get started with Green, landlords provide tenants with credentials on their lease. Tenants use these to set up an Amazon Green Account or add the service to an existing account. After the one-time onboarding process, Green works with minimal interference to Amazon’s existing workflow. The tenants credentials expire when their lease is terminated.
Using Amazon Green
To use Amazon Green, users shop as usual. Green delivery is pre-selected as the default shipping option on product pages: Two day delivery is framed as the exceptionCustomer’s orders are automatically consolidated into a single weekly delivery, efficiently packaged to minimize waste. Users can add items up to two days before its scheduled arrival, and set reminders for when the cutoff time approaches. Green’s calendar feature allows users quickly see upcoming deliveries and manage orders.
Green Delivery Day
On Delivery Day, all packages for the apartment building arrive together on an Amazon truck. They’re stored securely in lockers in the building’s common area, where users can pick them up by scanning their unique credentials. A deposit box near the lockers makes returns easy: users initiate the return online as usual, then drop off their package to be picked up by the weekly delivery truck.By streamlining the delivery process for an entire building, Amazon Green cuts carbon emissions, ensures the safety of packages, and enables hassle-free returns with minimal changes to a user’s workflow and habits. The service offers a systemic solution, leveraging nudge theory and technical systems already in place, to minimize carbon emissions in shipping.
Made by Mrunmayee Patil