Shared Economy Gardening Solution

  • Improved gardening portal and apps functionality
  • 285% monthly revenue increase
Expertise
Web & Enterprise Portals
Verticals
ISV
Technologies
.NET

Iflexion helped a UK-based startup improve the functionality and usability of their online gardening service thus facilitating monthly revenue and user base growth. 

  • .NET
Calendar
16
Duration
Months
Gears
4
Efforts
Person-months

Context

Customer

The customer is a startup that builds an online gardening service connecting garden owners and managers with professional gardeners and landscapers in the UK. Registered garden owners can post jobs specifying gardening services they need and describing work conditions (frequency, time, volume, etc.), add comments, etc. They can manage their bookings online and track when maintenance is due. Registered gardeners using the mobile app can manage jobs on the go, view, amend and accept orders, complete jobs and receive payments.  The service is available via a web portal and mobile apps (iOS, Android), boasting the fastest booking service on the market (booking a gardener takes under 60 seconds, and much less for recurring jobs). The customer is planning to transform the solution into an extendable scalable service with a potential for global reach.

Challenge

The initial gardener portal development was performed by the customer themselves. Once the MVP went live, the customer started getting first bookings and revenue immediately. However, the feedback shared by early adopters clearly showed that the service lacked speed and stability, missed important features and the UX was confusing.  This feedback was validated by statistics. With the declining number of service users, it was nearly impossible to attract investors the customer needed for further gardening portal development.

Solution

Iflexion stepped up as a technology partner experienced in mobile and web portal development, capable to work in an Agile startup environment. From the very beginning it was a very close collaboration ¾ the founders of the customer even worked at Iflexion’s development center shoulder to shoulder with a development team for a week. They even took the responsibility for timing, tasks distribution, and allocation, as well as the engineers’ workload.

Fixing old code

Iflexion analyzed the code, performed a vulnerability scan, and made estimates about the scope and volume of the code that needed to be rewritten. The customer was not ready to rewrite the code completely re-starting their gardening portal development from scratch. Instead, they opted for correcting business-critical errors that affected security and performance. Iflexion took care of eliminating render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content, leveraging browser caching; prioritizing visible content; optimizing images; minifying CSS and HTML, etc. Together that helped cut down page loading time to less than 1s even under slow connection.

Developing “On-the-job” quotes

Initially, the service calculated the price upfront for regular jobs only. However, the quotes for tailor-made orders were absent, and that was a key point early adopters stressed in their feedback.  

Iflexion delivered “On-the-job” quotes functionality for both web and mobile versions of the service to enable additional options and organize the approval process of these options between the gardener and the garden owner, improving the user experience.

The steps of the “On-the-job” quote approval process are: after a job assessment, the gardener edits the job, offering options such as additional hours, waste removal, parking, plants, soil or turf, etc. The garden owner receives a notification for a quote (in the app and by email), assesses the quote and either approves or rejects it. The gardener receives a notification about the owner’s decision.

Adding third-party functionality

To enhance the service with the third-party functionality, we delivered the following integrations:

  • Tawk to enable an online chat between users and administrators
  • Google Maps API to allow for address lookup and parsing based on postcode 
  • MailChimp to automate emails (on status updates and new job reminders), alerts and notifications (on booked, accepted, and completed jobs); we also customized MailChimp to provide the customer with the extended functionality and offer full control without further development efforts
  • Twilio to anonymize calls between users for better security and customer loyalty
  • Xero for PCI-compliant automation of billing, accounting, and reporting (done manually before Iflexion’s involvement)
  • Stripe to guarantee online payment safety

 

Enhancing UX

Aimed at making the website and mobile app more intuitive and user-friendly, Iflexion helped the customer with the following UX enhancements:

  • Restructuring and enhancing page elements
  • Visualizing newsletter subscription and booking status features
  • Improving the look and feel of the home page
  • Freezing call-to-action page elements during scrolling.

Results

When the updated version of the service went live, both gardeners and garden owners warmly welcomed functionality and usability improvements. That resulted in user base extension and subsequent monthly revenue growth — both metrics roughly tripled within the first month after the release. Improved KPIs in their turn helped our customer close another investment round in a couple of months after the release.  

Screenshots

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