NextWorth expanded their online electronics trade-in program to include brick-and-mortar retail partner locations. As a result, they needed to teach their retail partners’ employees how to conduct accurate product trade-ins. Rolling out a series of engaging, bite-sized training videos—plus updating the retail partner trade-in site to be more user-friendly—helped cut variance in half and ultimately netted a double-digit increase in trade-in accuracy.
Boston-based NextWorth makes recycling old electronics easy with three simple steps: Get A Quote, Send It In, and Get Paid. Customers can ship their trade-ins or take them to a local retail partner, one of which is Target. At Target, an associate inspects the device and gives the customer a quote. If the customer accepts the quote, the associate hands over a Target gift card in exchange for the device. Instant cash value–what’s not to like? In addition to being green, our friends at NextWorth are agile. When they have a strong, profitable idea, they focus and pursue it to completion quickly. That makes them an energizing client to work with.
Expanding the trade-in program from their NextWorth.com site into Target locations presented a new challenge. Rather than have an experienced NextWorth technician inspect the device after it was shipped in, a Target employee performs the evaluation and offers instant cash. That means every trade-in requires a judgment call at the point of transaction. Some products are easy for associates to identify and inspect, such as movies and games with specific titles. However, some items are difficult to identify and evaluate—take the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S for example. They’re almost identical on the outside, but have a few key differences affecting their trade-in value. More challenging trade-ins, plus too much room for associate interpretation, resulted in an inconsistent customer experience and lost revenue dollars. NextWorth came to us with a need: provide training to teach hundreds of associates how to conduct more accurate product trade-ins.
As we started to learn more about NextWorth’s business, we uncovered another issue affecting the variance at retail partner locations—not just lack of training. The partner trade-in site’s user interface (UI) did not intuitively guide and support associates through the trade-in process. We realized if the UI were more precise and had stronger visuals, much of the associate confusion would be eliminated. The NextWorth team was very open to feedback, and over the course of several meetings together, we developed a strategy that proposed a new UI. The site refresh would make it easier to identify the correct product at the point of transaction.
We studied the current trade-in process in detail and sought out the biggest challenges. Then we designed the UI updates. Once the UI was completed and tested, we scripted, shot, and embedded supplemental microlearning into the UI design. Between transactions, associates could log into the system and learn additional skills through short, video-based training courses and help windows while they were still on the sales floor—which made for a better user experience, and better training, for all.
Here are some highlights from our UI/UX design and microlearning work:
It’s easy for employees to find the right category for the trade-in item because we used a highly visual layout that doesn’t require a lot of reading.
“Does the item power on?” is the gatekeeper question. Answering “No” generates one set of questions, and answering “Yes” generates another. This makes the trade-in process quicker and more accurate, because employees only spend time on evaluation questions that apply to the device. We also added help windows to show employees how to answer the more difficult product evaluation questions.
Short training videos introduce employees to how the trade-in program works, the program’s benefits, and how to provide a great customer experience.
Quick, simple quizzes confirm understanding of how to proceed in more challenging trade-in scenarios.
Within two weeks of the site refresh, NextWorth’s variance in retail partner locations was cut in half, and their UI and training investment was paid for immediately. In the end, they achieved double-digit improvement in trade-in accuracy. On top of that, we again proved the best associate training aims for simplicity at every point. One user-friendly tool, plus supplemental training, goes a long way. And now, it’s easy for all of us to trade-in our old smartphones for the latest and greatest.