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(Work in progress)

Role: Lead Product Designer. Company: Deliveroo.

At Deliveroo, our delivery riders are primarily motivated by money. We know that riders think about their time on the road in terms of an ‘earnings target’, and most commonly have a daily earnings goal in mind. We’ve heard riders talk about staying online for extra hours above their normal working hours just to hit their daily goal when they would have otherwise gone offline much earlier. We’ve also heard riders say that they'd consider a good 'session' as one where they hit their earnings target and a bad 'session' as one where they wouldn't.

This feature is a way for us to align with riders core need of hitting their earnings goal as quickly as possible, whilst also encouraging them to work during our busiest times, as we still observe a mismatch of supply and demand during our super-peak hours. In this sense, there’s an opportunity to align the needs of the business with riders’, as working during the busiest times should help both parties achieve their respective goals.


Problems to solve for our riders

The biggest complaint we hear from riders is ‘lack of orders’, which ultimately means they’re not earning enough. Because riders can go online whenever (under our free login model), there are times where supply outweighs demand, to a point where there are simply not enough orders to go around. This results in riders finding it harder to hit their daily earnings target and having to work extra hours to make up the difference.


Problems to solve for Deliveroo

Since moving to a free login model (allowing riders to work whenever they wish), we often see a mismatch of supply and demand during our super-peak times, resulting in increased delivery times and late orders for our customers. We need to find ways to motivate riders to work during our busiest times in order to maintain good service levels. By increasing riders' awareness of the best times to work, we could change their work pattern and behaviours.

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Working closely with our riders

We've run many research sessions with our riders to better understand how we can support them in making the most of their time on the road, and through these interviews, we've discovered a consistent theme... it's all about the money. Riders themselves described how they have a daily and weekly earnings goal (either to pay rent or a night out), and they're currently doing these calculations in their head.

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And with our stakeholders

The concept of helping riders hit their earnings target by letting them create an earnings goal was not only generated from riders themselves, but also from stakeholders during one of our ideation workshops. This workshop was initially run as part of a wider discovery piece where we moved our rider fleet from a booking system to 'free-login', which effectively lets riders work whenever they want. This concept was created to help riders maximise their earnings (and avoid times where demand is low), by suggesting the optimum times to work to hit their goal.

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Validating the value prop

We conducted some light-touch proposition testing with riders to see how they felt about the general concept of setting an earnings target. Overall, riders were for the idea, but had some reservations about whether they'd actually be able to hit their target. Understandably they'd feel demotivated if they continually missed their target, and felt that we needed to do something to help them boost their earnings. This also helped reinforce some of the other work we're doing on surfacing order demand information to riders.

"If you want us to set a daily target, you must have the orders for us to satisfy that" - Rider X

"A daily target might help. I'm not entirely persuaded though, there are different things that affect earnings, you can get some busy and quiet days, sometimes they're not the ones you expect" - Rider Y

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Looking for inspiration

I was aware of other products on the market that are focused on helping people save, so, where better to look for inspiration? From Monzo savings goals to the Uber Eats earnings section and other apps that track progress such as Fitbit and Apple Health, there was a plethora of ideas and ways to surface targets to riders. I especially liked the way certain apps celebrated success or when certain milestones were met, such as 'You've saved 50% of your goal!'.

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Mapping out the users' journey

Working with a researcher, content designer, and the PM, we started to map out the key screens in our concept journey. These included the initial proposition sell where we'd be introducing the feature to riders, the set-up screens asking riders to set their earnings target, and the ways in which we'd communicate progress to riders.  As we were working remotely, we all jumped on a Zoom call and collaborated in a tool called Whimsicle, allowing anyone to create wireframes in no time.

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Aligning with riders' schedules

From speaking to our riders, we know that they often have quite fixed schedules based around other life commitments, such as working a second job or studying. Therefore, whilst we wanted to give them advice on how to achieve their earnings target as quickly as possible, we didn't want to suggest hours they could not work. Therefore, we came up with the concept of asking riders which hours the could not work and then adjusting our algorithm to suggest alternative hours.

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Tracking progress

The other key area for us to explore was how riders could track their earnings progress over the week. We explored various activity apps for inspiration, eventually landing on the concept below, allowing riders to easily see how they're doing this week, and how they've performed in previous weeks. All of this information can then be used to help them make informed decisions about how to increase their earnings.

In future releases, we want to include subtle nudges towards adopting slightly different behaviours that might increase their earnings, such as 'If you start work 2 hours earlier you'd hit your goal 4 hours faster (as the earlier hours are busier)'.


How we talk about earnings with riders

We were very aware that we'd need to be considerate when talking about earnings with riders. Earnings are a very serious and personal matter, possibly resulting in people being unable to pay bills or rent, so we'd need to craft the language we use carefully. We used the matrix below to start thinking about our messaging based on the time of week and riders' proximity to reaching their earnings goal. We wanted the tone to be reassuring but also motivating, without being unrealistic.

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Providing feedback and celebrating success

Finally, we wanted to ensure the ongoing relationship with earnings was a positive one. Much like a step-tracking app, we wanted to celebrate when riders achieve certain milestones towards their earnings goal. We also wanted to provide timely feedback about their progress, i.e after they've completed a delivery, so that they could decide for how much longer they want to work, or whether they can finish their shift knowing they've made enough money today. One thing we'd need to be careful of here is not to celebrate reaching '50% of your earnings target' with only one day remaining.

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Motivating riders to hit their goal

We're also playing around with the concept of introducing badges and rewards for riders who achieve certain milestones. Observed in fitness and sports tracking apps, riders seemed motivated by the idea of having some level of recognition of their success in the app, and a way to view their earnings history.

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Assumptions to validate - WIP

We're about to conduct another round of moderated research and usability testing to refine the proposition and flow, followed by an experiment with a subset of riders to validate the following assumptions...

- Riders want to set an earnings goal

- Riders will be demotivated if they keep missing their earnings target (and will work for a competitor)

- Riders will change their work pattern if they miss their target

- Riders will set their target higher than what they can achieve (on average)

- Riders will stop working once they hit their earnings goal

- Riders will set their earnings goal at the average they earn each week, resulting in no behaviour change