Danny Hearn – Deeply Human Design Ltd

Increasing conversion at Beauty Pie

I supported a new disruptive startup in the beauty sector to gain an uplift of 44% for new membership conversion through rapid prototyping.

URL: www.beautypie.com
Client: Beauty Pie
Date: Nov 2017 – Apr 2018
Duration: 7 months
Location: Onsite (UK)

What I did : User Research & Product Design, Content Design 
User insights, Content Strategy and Styleguide, Video highlights, Interactive hi-fi prototype, Functional spec, Board & keynote presentations

The impact

Uplift for new membership conversion

In the immediate aftermath of working with the Beauty Pie team on the customer journey, there was an uplift of 44% in new membership conversions.

New customer journey and updated checkout

The Beauty Pie brand now has a clear the customer journey for new and existing members.

New brand terminology and styleguide

A tested brand terminology style guide to ensure consistency of messaging and content across channels.


Beauty Pie, at the time a one-year-old disruptive start-up in the beauty sector had experienced amazing growth.  They had a membership model that gave members access to non-branded lower cost, high-quality beauty products.  They’d had an early surge in new memberships on launch and were now looking to grow this to a much wider market.  While they had an initial uplift of new users, these were mostly early adopters.  The brand was now struggling to convert to a wider audience of newer customers.

As with many startups, they had run fast to kick off quickly but didn’t have the data available for meaningful site traffic analysis.  They had also been burnt with expensive consultants and sluggish web development partners who couldn’t get to the root cause of the issue.

The team had a few hypothesises for the lower membership sign-up.  They believed it was awareness problem and that they just needed to drive higher volumes of people to the site. I was going to need a way to ‘get out of the building’ and really understand what was happening for customers. 

The problem to solve;

New customer’s aren’t signing up, we don’t know why, and we’re not sure how to communicate the value of proposition in simple way


Developed series of fundamental questions to answer

  • Why wasn’t the website converting new visitors?
  • Did they understand the proposition?
  • Was the proposition appealing?
  • What were the expectations before they arrived on the site
  • Why did they come to the site initially?
  • What was their goal?
  • What is the process they went through in trying to achieve it?

Planning user tests & reviewing site data

  • Planned and conducted in person user interviews and website testing.
  • Hired a market research agency to source test participants unfamiliar with brand
  • Created test scenarios and prompt materials to emulate the beginning of the journey that most people might take.
  • Reviewed website traffic and customer feedback

Raising awareness of user testing within business

User testing script & notes

Concept prompt for testing

Analysing site data and traffic

Key insights

  • People liked proposition of the business and wanted to learn more.
  • Mobile was underperforming and was dominant way of learning more about brand
  • In observing 11 people (1 no show) in my test scenario, only 1 out of 11 participants actually understood how the proposition worked and wanted to sign up.
  • With each user test, I started to see repetition from the same emotional rollercoaster. 
  • The way that the site explained the proposition wasn’t working and users were confused at the pricing.

Sharing insights and story telling

  • Edited the live recordings of the users on the site into a hard-to-watch highlight video.
  • For the team, this was difficult for them to see. It was the first time they had been confronted with the reality of how their hard work was being received outside their loyal customer base.
  • Created a visual map of the emotional journey below.

Visual map of the emotional journey of how new customers experience the brand

The research indicated that while the proposition of the brand was strong, customers were not understanding it.  This emotional crash of misunderstanding after investing time exploring was the killer frustration point.

The new customer identified behaviours.

I continued to see patterns and groupings emerging through user tests.  New customers seemed to fall into two groups with a primary goal when determining if they would consider signing up to be a new member.   This was key to realising that we would need to create journeys that cater for both sets of user needs.

2 different types of new customer sentiment

As I observed more user tests, I could further identify more customer needs into a ranked order of importance.  While this was based on observations, it provided a base of assumptions to validate.  It seemed like understanding the proposition was the first hurdle to anyone wanting to sign up.  Then other needs followed, I created this artefact to communicate to the business.

Communicating the barriers for new customers to join

Customer testing and iterative design

Drawing on the insights I developed a series of prototypes for a x6 week test and learn sequence.

A landing page prototypes

  • Sketched concepts and created a landing page test that would immediately meet the customer need – “I want to understand how it works before I look at anything“.   
  • Used a browser plugin to create a test that users could navigate to the live website, however whenever they clicked ‘join’, it would redirect to my prototype.

Responding to test feedback 

  • The first test revealed that no one reads anything unless it is very, very succinct.
  • Users skimmed the first bit of content and closed the page.  It was hard to see my work get so quickly dismissed, but it only cost me a day or so to try. 

Different tests and prototypes

Over time I created varied prototypes and iterations to present the proposition in different ways.
Early prototype iteration of landing page

The instagram & tick-tock generation
Participants looked at the video for about 3-4 seconds and closed it. If a video doesn’t hold their attention in the first 2-3 seconds, they are gone. I could also see that the users weren’t yet invested in watching a long(ish) video at that early point in the journey.  They just wanted it all explained in 3-4 seconds.  I ditched the video explainer and went back to just text and images but borrowed some of the simplified messaging I’d created for the video. 

At last, the participants were starting to get it
Success! Most participants with the revised content started to convert. 

Content guide
During the tests, it was apparent that brand terminology across the site was varied and inconsistent.  It was creating confusion and wasn’t perhaps the right choice of words. I asked users to sort and feedback on keywords that described the service.  This then informed a new content style guide for terminology that I had tested.  The style guide allowed the content team to start harmonising new output immediately.  

Content guide and brand terminology guide for marketing teams

Redesigning site wide experience
We had a hypothesis that if we could communicate the proposition at the moment customers add items to their basket it would help better manage customer expectations.  

Site-wide interactive prototype

  • Drawing on the landing page and video learnings I developed the prototype to include the entire browsing experience, with homepage, list and product pages with basket and checkout.
  • Developed the idea of a static ‘spending bar’, that would be present throughout the discovery journey, capturing those customers that may have missed the explainers. 
  • Immediately tested very well, pushing any participants who may have been confused into a space of understanding and clarity about the proposition.

Interactive prototype with spending bar explainer

Supporting development team

  • Hired and worked with UI designer to create final hi fidelity assets for development team
  • Created functional specifications, user flows and wireframes
  • Daily stand-ups, playing scrum master role to external development agency

User flows showing spending functionality use cases for development team

The end results

Chart showing the progress of the iterative testing rounds

  • Tested 5 different prototypes with over 50 new customers over 6 weeks
  • Team could then move forward with expensive web development with higher degree of confidence that the design changes would have an impact.
  • de-risked making any major blunders, this gave the founder enough confidence to make the changes.
  • The impact was fairly immediate with an uplift of 44% in new membership conversion.
  • You can read more about this story from the founder. 

Client feedback

Danny is by far the best consultant in his category that I have ever worked with. Truly great digital experts, for me, have been hard to come by. Danny is different. He is principled, rolls up his sleeves, has a plan, sticks to it, is flexible, but knows his science, and OWNS the deliverable as if he’s a part of your business. I would have him back in a heartbeat.

– Marcia Kilgore, Founder