A subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), InMotion is tasked with exploring the wider mobility landscape and developing companies that could prove key to JLR’s diversification into it. Carpe was developed from a desire to provide a flexible model of car ownership fitting for the subscription age, targeting younger audiences and those on the fringes of the market who demand more flexibility, ease and high levels of service.
As lead designer, I worked from concept to launch of Carpe. My primary responsibilities were designing the brand and web platform as well as various marketing and service materials. I also had a major hand in ideation of the business model, working closely with our service designer on research, proposition development and the design of the service itself.
Seeking market understanding, myself and our service designer led a series of focus groups and individual interviews across the length of the UK. We were specifically interested in how car owners (including those on lease or finance) currently thought about their ownership costs, how they go about making motoring decisions and what problems they face. While we discovered a range of insights across the spectrum of consumers, a few seemed particularly salient.
The mileage limit hangs over my head. I feel like I can’t just enjoy driving because it’s always in the back of my mind.
For both car owners who were on lease or finance and those who weren’t, mileage limitations were worrying and problematic. They also felt tied into long commitments and wanted to be able to swap cars more.
I hate haggling and I feel like dealers always know more than I do and are trying to up-sell. It’s a bit intimidating.
The purchase process itself was also seen as daunting, time confusing, outdated and full of social pressures. Particularly for consumers less interested in the intricacies of cars and contracts.
Alongside a newly hired business lead we set out to solve these problems. How could we manage without mileage limits when depreciation is such a significant cost? After much brainstorming we realised that with clever balancing of audiences and intelligent fleet management, the problems of car flexibility and mileage limitation could be intertwined to the benefit of both business and consumers.
By building an audience of high mileage drivers willing to pay extra for uncapped motoring alongside an audience of low mileage drivers, incentivised to keep their mileage down by a pay per mile scheme, we could swap cars between them in order to maintain an average mileage of an acceptable level.
Course correcting with digital appetite tests and constant research, we fleshed out our proposition to effectively serve these two audiences as well as improve the purchase funnel. We would allow on boarding and account management to be completely digital, not require a deposit and include delivery, insurance, maintenance and breakdown cover as standard. By partnering with our parent company JLR, we could also offer exclusive models, early access and other perks aimed at car enthusiasts.
While Carpe is in essence a luxury service - providing increased flexibility and quality at a price - the true value we wanted to communicate was it’s simplicity and convenience. For this reason, I developed an approachable, down to earth brand that anchors itself around trust, ease and freedom while conveying a much more modern personality than it’s competitors. While I designed it’s core tenets, I hired marketing designer Lucinda Scholey to create it’s word mark and scale the brand across various marketing and service documents.
The first step to launch Carpe was a brochure-ware website. This would allow us to communicate the offering to prospective consumers in order to generate leads and learn more about the market while developing a more complete digital system.
A new offering in an already confusing market, we realised Carpe’s success would in part rely on how quickly and clearly we could communicate it’s benefits and processes. Working with our marketing team, I wrote copy to do this as effectively as possible before designing a website flow and communication elements to enhance the message as much as possible.
Our earlier research had highlighted the complexity of the car market and the overwhelming amount of information. Consumers often felt the details they really wanted about a car where hidden amongst confusing statistics and un-necessarily in depth feature descriptions. Seeking to take the hassle out of buying cars and provide a service as much about lifestyle and convenience as the actual vehicle, we tested with consumers in order to pluck out and make clear only the most relevant information.
Early user testing on both the proposition and design indicated that some consumers were put off by the high monthly price, not realising that it didn’t require any up front payment in the way that traditional car lease and finance packages do. To navigate this issue, wee chose to allow a flexible down payment in order to reduce monthly cost, communicating this using a slider to allow consumers to customise their pricing.
Initially a brochure-ware website, it’s main success metric was the amount of leads converted towards a manual sales funnel. To that end, I designed clear, compelling call to actions into the website at the most opportune moments. Built smoothly into the user journey, my goal was to develop sufficient motivation on the part of the consumer before making it as easy as possible to take the next step.
Due to the high value item being purchased and the complexity of the offering, we felt that initial on-boarding was best left as a semi-manual process while we learnt about the questions consumers might have and how we could effectively design for them. However, I quickly set about looking for ways to ease the process for consumers. The result was a user area, designed to allow them to quickly upload documents during account creation and easily manage their information, invoices and vehicles.
THE END RESULT
The Carpe service has now been fully launched to the market after recieving JLRs full backing. We took the company from inception to launch in just 6 months and it's received incredibly positive feedback, from both consumers and internal stakeholders.
It’s bold proposition has received an incredible amount of press, both in and outside of the automotive industry, with features ranging from the Daily Mirror to The Verge, cNet, CarBuyer and many more.
It’s sole lead driver, the web platform I designed has been delivering well qualified, highly interested leads to a rapidly growing team of salesmen and the first contracts are currently being signed.
View the website and find more about the service at carpedrive.com
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