At Shipt, we know that real innovation can come from anywhere and from anyone. That’s why, each year, we celebrate Innovation Days, which brings team members from across Shipt’s entire business, from all levels and backgrounds, together to solve problems and uncover new opportunities designed to drive our business -- and the Shipt experience -- forward. Excitingly, Shipt’s latest product feature -- Preferred Shoppers -- was an idea born out of an Innovation Days event!
“Innovation Days is all about sparking out-of-the-box thinking that can transform our company and I’m so proud that this Innovation Days idea made it to market and is one that furthers a personalized experience and enhances the connections between shoppers and customers,” said Shipt’s Chief Product and Experience Officer Karl Varsanyi as he reflected on the growth of Innovation Days.
And Preferred Shoppers is really delivering. In its first month in market, more than 300,000 shopper and customer matches have taken place through the feature. And we’ve made small enhancements since launch, such as in-app notifications to shoppers when preferred members place orders, so customers can get their orders delivered by their preferred shoppers even more regularly.
As a look back on how far we’ve come, we recently talked with Shipt’s Senior Product Manager Derrick Yee, who was part of the team that first came up with the idea for Preferred Shoppers. Here’s more about his experience and what the development process was like.
Shipt Senior Product Manager Derrick Yee.
SHIPT: How did the idea for Preferred Shoppers come to be?
DERRICK: The idea for what we now know as Preferred Shoppers was actually sparked during the very first Innovation Days event in 2019. While initially brainstorming, we started by evaluating feedback from Shipt Shoppers and customers. As we were culling through those details, we noticed that one commonality kept popping up - the desire to be paired more often with “regulars” through Shipt, as the service was one they knew and could trust.
SHIPT: And what was the reception like when you presented the concept to all of Shipt at Innovation Days?
DERRICK: Innovation Days concludes with a large presentation to the entire Shipt employee base and in front of a judging panel of Shipt’s executive leadership team. So we worked over two whole business days to perfect our Preferred Shoppers pitch and conduct a session that relayed why this feature would be such an important addition to the Shipt experience.
Presenting our idea was definitely nerve-wracking, but our belief that this feature would be a turning point for Shipt came through. Because after what seemed like a quick deliberation by the judges, we saw nodding heads and growing smiles and knew we must have created something special. When the judges announced to the entire company that our idea won, we were ecstatic! We then learned that leaders wanted to put full resources behind Preferred Shoppers and move into the development phase, which was surreal.
SHIPT: So after your Innovation Days win, how did Shipt develop the feature? Who supported the effort throughout the process?
DERRICK: Innovation Days is special to me because it's a chance to work with people I typically wouldn’t interact with on a day-to-day basis. While the product team came up with the initial idea, we wouldn’t have been able to bring it to market without a rally of support from the Shipt leaders and our cross-functional partners across the member and shopper teams. A separate project team took the lead and I helped weigh in from time to time. This project team took a test-and learn approach bringing Preferred Shoppers to market and we were able to provide feedback along the way.
SHIPT: Being part of this process, how did Shipt’s culture help propel the idea?
DERRICK: As an employee at Shipt, there’s a desire to maintain a startup-mentality, foster a culture that allows our team to work alongside each other and bring creative ideas to life. Creating connections between our members and shoppers ties directly to our company purpose and values.