This is part three of our contextual commerce startup series. To read part one, please click here.

Last time we left you we were looking into what our business model could be – what was the hypothesis that we wanted to test out? Using a mini double diamond design thinking session, Nimi, our Experience Designer, went wide with all the ideas we could dream up based upon Matt’s criteria for success.

Matt was now officially our very own Client (on top of his day job as CTO here at Cohaesus) and provided us with a brief and criteria. We need to:

  • Showcase our processes, from Strategy to UX through to Tech
  • Be data-driven where possible
  • Push the boundaries: It would be better to have an insightful and engaging hypothesis fail and have insight as to why, than a dull hypothesis succeed in selling a modest amount of product
  • Use contextual commerce i.e. the mixing of content and commerce [see part 2 for more detail]
  • Showcase multi-channel commerce. i.e. sell our site as well as social or a marketplace like Amazon
  • Have low or no stock. We don’t want to be left with mountains of product at the end. Nothing perishable rotting in the office. We know jam and cheese is a marriage made in heaven but we don’t want brie getting stinky in the office
  • Be lean and practical to manage our build in just a few weeks (use off the shelf themes, etc)

“What does that mean for our jams?”

Last time we covered some theory on modern ecom, but what does that mean to us? We’re not going to be jumping into tech selection quite yet as we don’t know what the business model or product proposition is. That’s mainly because right now all we have is one handcrafted jam and no understanding of the customer audience. The first step in design thinking… research.

The team were tasked with completing the research kick off – desktop research to better understand the landscape and an interview with the Jam Master general himself – Marc Horsted of Jamface Jams. The business started as a wedding favour at Marc and Natalie’s wedding. Guests enjoyed it so much they would ask Marc to make more for them. This got him thinking about having a side business doing one of the things he loves most…making Chilli Jam!

Having friends in delicious places helps. Marc started using a professional kitchen that belongs to a friend who is a chef before expanding the business where he now engages with regional business owners, organises tastings and negotiates sales. The product sells itself as the majority of the businesses he approaches will buy, starting with a trial order of a small number of jars and then ramping up from there.

Visiting Mar-Great

It was time for us to immerse ourselves in the environment, our competitors and to understand our audience. Inspired by Tracy Emin and other local artists sure, the small town in Kent has seen an influx of Londoners from in and around Hackney looking for life beyond the big smoke. With sea air, a burgeoning arts scene and most importantly housing that doesn’t require a mortgage the size of a small countries GDP, Margate is rejuvenating from its formerly tired rundown past, which is all too typical across British coastal towns.

Naturally, we needed to have a tasting of our own to get more familiar with the produce that inspired us all, as well heading to a local deli to discover more products to create the proposition for the e-commerce store we were going to set up. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. 

After the trip, we felt we had a better understanding of who to target, but also unearthed a bump in the road. When speaking to people, they were confused about what exactly we were planning on selling – a gift box for locals or a selection of products for tourists. This might be trickier than just setting up a store online.

“Who are we going to target?”

The target audience of Jamface Jams are socially conscious people who visit food places like a farmers market to discover new artisan products. They’re people who like to try new things and experiment. People who would be ok spending £5 on a jam knowing that it’s locally produced and a high-quality product. Many other chilli jams focus on the sweetness or the heat of the chilli, however, Marc’s focus is on the standout flavours delivered by the chilli such as the smokiness.

But we hadn’t decided what exactly our business was going to be.

– Are we just a retailer for Jamface? Or are there other products we need to source? Is it a local box for Margate produce or a selection of the best chilli jams in the UK?

– Are we B2B or B2C? Going direct to consumer we could overcome high shipping costs but Marc told us it is the tasting that convinced delis to stock his product.

– Are we focussing on London, Margate or nationwide? Are we delivering on bikes or do we need to look at a carbon-neutral tax to offset DPS or similar? 

– What is our activation approach? A summer BBQ pack would be great but we wouldn’t be live until the end of August -it feels like that ship has sailed.

– Oh, and the turner prize is coming to Margate in September! Can we tie in somehow with that?

Stay tuned to find out more next time when we decide on an angle and our brand.