STREETSIDE DEVELOPMENTS' DESIGNING WITH THE CUSTOMER IN MIND PART 1: DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Edmonton, AB – Stellar customer service is a major tenet of the Qualico brand and one of our principals of success. At StreetSide Developments Edmonton, the Sales and Marketing team has turned the design process around to put the customer at the forefront of home design.
“Being a multi-family builder, we avoid custom. But people want choice. So we have built options and pallets that are carefully presented and curated on their feedback,” said Dave Armstrong, Director of Sales and Marketing, StreetSide Developments Edmonton.
The principal is simple. Rather than think about the customer as the end result of a sale, the customer’s specific interests and lifestyle were taken into account – right from the beginning.
In order to execute on this approach, the team at StreetSide Developments began pulling together statistics and data in order to create three key customer profiles, called personas. These profiles were then used to create floor plans that reflected the needs of those customers.
The profiles themselves were cultivated from real-life customer data, including demographic information on past purchasers, such as age, gender, marital status, current address and occupation.
Social media insights and website analytics data proved valuable in rounding out customer habits. Information was gathered on how customers were navigating to the StreetSide Developments’ website, how long they spent there, and what their general online interests are.
The ultimate goal of the personas was to be able to offer a home that customers would really connect with. Customers would then have options for upgrades, such as fireplaces, bars and feature walls, which were tailored for key buyer demographics’ specific lifestyles and desires.
The next step was to set the tone and complete the look. Colour selections and design elements that reflected the desires of these personas were then created, to ensure customers could visualize themselves in the home - now and into the future.
“In the past, I think some of our showhome pallets were well done but didn’t speak to the personality of the personas. Palettes can’t just look good, they need to connect,” said Dave. “We needed to dig a bit deeper. Rather than let our own opinions and preferences seep into the design, we knew that we needed to put the customer first, and consider how they actually live, in order to create the kind of space that would really appeal to them.”
Customer design preferences were analyzed with the help of surveys and several focus groups. Piggybacking on another project’s need for some deep customer insights, StreetSide Developments hired a local moderator and rented survey theatres in order to get feedback on five different home design styles. Respondents provided opinions and comments on what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how much they would pay for each design element.
The Sales team was also pulled into the process in order to further develop upgrades and value sells. StreetSide Developments ran a contest to have the sales team to design structural options that customers would pay for based on their closely developed insight. Their feedback was instrumental in creating design elements buyers would pay for.
“We did our homework,” said Vanessa Freeman, Marketing Manager, StreetSide Developments Edmonton. “And once we were able to identify patterns, and group our customers by the data we had, we were able to give them names, jobs/roles, as well as pinpoint their goals, challenges, values and fears.”
All of this rolls up into the quality production home that StreetSide Developments’ is bringing to market in the Edmonton region.
“Our research says pride of ownership is a big motivator for many of our customers so they want something they can be proud of, not just afford,” said Dave. “The designer skins and value sell options are a way of personalizing a multi-family project at different stages of construction and align a floor plan with the specific consumer profile. We strive to give that customer an “Instagram moment” on each floor of their home that they can be proud of.”
These personas continue to grow as data comes in, alerting the team to changes and shifts in preferences. This in turn triggers updates to the models and homes StreetSide Developments puts into the market. It is a cyclical process that allows StreetSide Developments to stay at the forefront of the market.
The next article in the StreetSide Developments’ Persona Series will discuss the different personas and how they were applied to StreetSide Developments’ design process.
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