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A Heuristic Review of Lily’s Kitchen

This week on The Heuristic Show, Emma Travis was joined by colleagues, Shiva Manjunath and Lorenzo Carreri as they reviewed UK-based pet food brand Lily’s Kitchen.

Lily’s Kitchen is a brand of wholesome pet food formulated with natural, honest ingredients. The site includes recipes for dogs and cats, with the option to purchase food on a subscription basis or as a one-time purchase. 

Below is a summary of the team’s top findings from the heuristic review. If you’d like to watch the full episode you can view it below. Remember to subscribe to the channel to be kept up to date on the next episode. 

Top heuristic findings

The Lily’s Kitchen website is cheerful and attractive, with warm colors and inviting branding details. But there are several areas that the team identified that are ripe for improvement. 

1. Filters

The first hurdle the team encountered was around the filter options to find the right pet food.

If you are shopping for dog food, the first step requires you to click on an age range for your dog. There are three options: Puppy, Adult, and Senior with associated dog ages for each category.

If you select “Adult,” which is ages 1-7, it automatically includes options for both Adult and Senior in the resulting product view.

The logical next thought is for the user to wonder if they are on the correct product result page, and question if they clicked the wrong button.

The next predicament is that you cannot filter the products by dry dog food and wet dog food, despite the fact that those options appear in the main navigation. 

This led the team to determine that the filter options were a bit of a miss. 

2. Feeding Guideline Calculator 

Featured prominently on the website home page is a “Feeding Guidelines” function that promises to help you determine how much you should feed your pet. 

This is a great feature for pet owners, who recognize that feeding your pet enough but not too much is important.

There are some UX issues when using this tool, however. First off, the only unit of weight that is used is Kilograms, which not every user may be familiar with.

Next, it asks what your pet typically likes to eat. There is a disconnect here, as a user might be shopping on Lily’s Kitchen in order to explore new food options, not summarize their current food choices.  

There is minimal supporting information, such as breaking out feeding diets into a recommended percentage of wet versus dry food, which is a major consideration for pet owners.

The major issue comes when Lily’s Kitchen products are brought into the quiz, asking the user to select one type of food with zero context offered on what the products include, and no option to select multiple items to compare.

Finally, the food calculator ends with no clear CTA. It does not do the math for you to calculate a quantity of pet food that you should buy for a given time duration, nor does it bring you to a product page featuring recommended Lily’s Kitchen pet foods based on your inputs. Instead, it gives you a recommended calorie amount for your pet. 

The team’s takeaway here was that the food calculator should provide more information to educate and guide the user and lead to product recommendations based on the information the user provided. 

As it is, it currently straddles the line of both and does not provide clear value on either front.

3. Subscription Value

Knowing how much pet food to order is also important in the context of a subscription.

One reason subscription users churn might be because they can’t dial in the correct quantities of food in between subscription orders, and thus get stuck with too much product or too little.

Helping visitors determine the right quantity is thus exceedingly helpful if Lily’s Kitchen wants to gain and retain users on a subscription basis. Doing the math for visitors is the best way to go about this, versus making them pull out a calculator themself. 

Overall, Lily’s Kitchen can do a better job of showing the value that comes from being a subscriber versus placing one-time orders. 

This means offering clear motivation to sign up for automatic subscriptions, whether that motivation is in the form of savings or other member rewards. 

Interestingly, the current discount for subscription purchases is likely a turnoff for some of the site’s first-time visitors. That’s because customers only get a discount starting with the second subscription order, not the first order. This fact is hidden behind the question mark tool-tip, which shoppers would need to click on and read the fine print in order to fully recognize that they will not receive any discount on their initial purchase. 

When first-time customers add products to their cart and do not see a discount reflected, they may be confused, frustrated, and even abandon their cart.

There is also a clear opportunity to increase average order value when it comes to one-off purchases. The products listed are in small, single-unit quantities. This might make sense for new customers who are just testing the waters, but for the majority of customers who like the product, there’s no preset option to order in bulk. 

4. Checkout Experience

For customers who do take the next step and attempt to checkout, there is another roadblock waiting.

If you select the “subscription” option instead of the one-time purchase option and click to check out, the guest checkout process disappears.

Visitors are taken to the option to either sign in as an existing user or create a new account.

This seems like a painful ask at this stage in the purchase process, and very well may be leading to a high exit rate.

There are two potential solutions here;

  • They could add one field in the next step of the checkout where they ask the user to fill out a password and go on to generate an account for the user automatically.
  • Add the ability to create an account on the thank you page, once the user has already purchased the product.

When a visitor elects to sign up as a new user within the current user flow, they are asked to verify their email address by clicking from an email. Instead of taking the visitor back to their shopping cart, the verification email takes them to the “my account” page instead.

The fewer points of friction that occur between the product page and completing checkout, the better. Currently, Lily’s Kitchen has several such points of friction.

Visually, the checkout page is a missed opportunity as well. When customers do elect to sign up, it occurs in a small box within a large, empty white page.

This page could easily be used to list compelling information about Lily’s, such as subscription benefits. 

With some tweaks to streamline filters, educate visitors, and sell customers on a subscription model, Lily’s Kitchen will be well-positioned to go from being an attractive site to being a supremely user-friendly and enjoyable shopping experience. 

Want to find out more? 

To watch the full review of Lily’s Kitchen, head to the Speero YouTube channel where you can watch the The Heuristic Show, Testing Insights Show, and Notable Minds. If you are interested in our team conducting a heuristic review of your experience check out our heuristic review service.

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