Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
Our app store rating went from under three stars to now close to five with the new version of the app. From the initial app launch to December, when they rolled off the primary development for the iOS app, we went from 3% of our revenue from the app, to closer to 5%. In terms of year-over-year, it’s about an 80% increase in revenue. The app runs very smoothly. If we do receive bug reports, it often isn’t related to the app, but the website services.
The feedback has all been very positive. People overwhelmingly think the new app is incredibly user-friendly. The look and feel is much more elevated and more in line with the Saks brand or a luxury designer brand.
How did Prolific Interactive perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re pretty strong. We’ve worked with a couple folks on Prolific’s team. The project manager we had for the iOS app roll-out was very strong. The person we have working on iMessage isn’t as strong. I think it depends on the team that’s working and the dynamics. Overall, I’d give them strong project management performance.
We’ve varied the tools we’ve used. In the beginning, we used Pivotal, and now as an organization, we’re using JIRA across all projects. Those are the primary tools we use to communicate stories and all that stuff.
They’re great at delivering on time and on budget. The way our contract was structured, delivering on budget wasn’t an issue for us. In terms of on time, when we initially wanted to build this app, we wanted a million features within six months. Obviously, that’s not realistic. Together with them, we hit our launch goal, which was awesome. They built an app from scratch within five months, which is incredibly aggressive. We didn’t have all the features we hoped for, but that was an unrealistic goal.
What did you find most impressive about Prolific Interactive?
It’s their focus on the customer and using customer research to fuel all aspects of product development. We incorporated weekly user testing into the app build, so we could vet high-level themes of our customers first, understand the customer intimately, why they’re using the app, why they don’t use the app, and why they shop at Saks in the first place. When we got to the prototype phase, they really validated all concepts with our actual customers. Even though Prolific is not on our primary team, that’s something that we’ve brought into our own process here. So, their focus on the customer and how that influences all aspects of product development is extremely unique.
Are there any areas Prolific Interactive could improve?
They’re a great agency with a ton of really talented folks. They love thinking deeply and strategically about things. We work with a lot of different consultancies. The one thing about Prolific is that they have high expectations and high standards for their team and how their team wants to work, so it took a bit of time to meet in the middle on a couple things. They want the best setup possible for their dedicated team, and it’s important for them to keep that team intact. They’re not necessarily as flexible as other consultancies, where you can just hire one analyst or one UX person. They have a point of view, and here’s this whole team. You can’t really build a team piecemeal.