GreatVet, an online vet directory, is dedicated to helping pet parents find and build the best veterinary relationships possible. Being pet parents themselves, the founding team was well-aware of the challenges faced by pet parents during their pet’s lifetime and wanted to help the other pet parents through their journey.
For this, they trusted the operator expertise of FirstPrinciples to strategize and build their platform, boost their annual growth alongside ensuring an amazing user experience, a complete Operator Platform package.
For pet parents
The idea of building a platform that will seamlessly satisfy both the parties’ needed time and a proper execution plan which was difficult owing to the time constraints of the GV team.
Here’s a glimpse of the challenges:
Since our engagement contract was built on the foundation of Operator Platform – which includes technical due diligence, product engineering, and marketing pods, we kickstarted the process by brainstorming what functionalities we could incorporate in the existing product that will benefit their client base.
Here’s an overview of the exact strategies we implemented to build our operational partner’s platform and boost their web traffic:
With the previously mapped 18-24 month objectives in place (as a part of our Operator Platform model), we were able to compare the projected goals with the achieved ones.
At present, GreatVet has found a place amongst the top brands in this industry, and our solutions yielded exceptional results within months it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
Here’s an overview:
Let’s dive into the details!
The idea behind GreatVet was to create a one-stop platform for pet parents as well as vets, for the former is not only connected them with the vets and pet clinics but also acted as a knowledge base by giving them insights into pet care, and for the latter it helped promote their services, drive traffic to their clinic and grow their practice organically with onsite appointment booking options.
This was an industry niche that needed to be addressed, and although there were a couple of options targeting this audience segment, none of them was as extensive as GreatVet was going to be, to build this end-to-end solution the stakeholders believed in our operational expertise.
Owing to time constraints, the founding members of GreatVet needed a team who could build strategies, create action plans for GreatVet and ensure its smooth execution, from development to driving in traffic.
Our in-depth process and tech assessment helped visualize the risks and opportunities with the SaaS as well as build a roadmap to the future.
App runtime speed and performance are the keys to an application’s success, especially for apps with millions of users, these two parameters are crucial.
Achieving this with the current tech stack was proving to be difficult as runtime speed is not amongst its strengths.
In fact, a quick PageSpeed check using Lighthouse revealed that the Page load speed of GreatVet was very high ~ 20-25s.
In the WebApp set up the data was pulled from CSVs which was adding to the overall load speed and since each second delay decreases the number of page views, we had to come up with a better alternative.
RoR’s dependency on components and modules made customization increasingly challenging.
An in-depth analysis of their Google Analytics and Search Console dashboard revealed the following:
To catapult GreatVet into category leaders, we started the implementation of an OaaS solution which is divided into two categories – Product Engineering and Product Marketing.
We kickstarted the process with a complete audit of all the technical aspects of the web app aka technical due diligence – which included, reviewing the code architecture, code documentation, technical documentation, product development lifecycle and the deployment process.
Additionally, a thorough analysis of the potential users, the market, the competitors and the industry expectation was done by our business analysts.
We also conducted a UI-UX audit and performance issue analysis and mapped out gaps between objectives & current product, codebase, & processes. This helped our team visualize the risks and opportunities associated with the product and sketch out recommendations and solutions within realistic timelines.
Understanding the complexity and duration of the project, our team was tasked to take this responsibility and deliver quality at the drop of a dime.
While our development team was evaluating better alternatives, our team of business analysts were analyzing and assessing every possible way to enhance “GreatVet” to give a proper direction to the platform.
After long brainstorming and ideation sessions a product roadmap for 12-24 months was created with which we were able to shed more light in terms of design, functionalities, feature categorization, which cities to target, etc.
Following the agile methodology, our team engaged in daily meetings and regular updates were given to our operational partners on call. With the team introduced to them and the requirements set in place, the team got cracking at the project.
Once we had all the challenges that we needed to address, the first step towards implementing solutions was to design the look of the web app.
After a couple of brainstorming and ideation sessions, our team was able to unravel the different aspects of design, functionality and usability, to be incorporated later.
An in depth analysis of the potential users, the market, and the competitors was done by our business analysts. From a broader perspective, the two main categories of potential users were – Veterinarians or vet hospitals and pet parents, which meant it was important for us to consider the requirements of both to ensure utmost satisfaction.
Our design team took charge and started the process by considering the user persona to give them a more personalized experience. Once all the features and requirements were listed out, our UI-UX designers helped design a highly responsive web app.
For us a good, interactive design means that all the relevant information is presented to the user at the right time and the user is able to navigate easily through the web app; and although sharing a walkthrough of your web app is a great idea but having an easy to understand and use web app is even better.
We kick-started the process by migrating the frontend to React JS (watch our webinar on Why You Need to Switch to ReactJS) to enhance operational speed and since NodeJS is better for end-to-end easy Backend API management, we converted Ruby on Rails to NodeJS (part of the reason was that the libraries were old). Also, to address the load speed issue, data was migrated from CSVs to Database.
To help the users get what they are looking for, we gave users 3 different search techniques, this helped them find the best veterinarians around them or in their area of choice within no time.
Search Option 1:
A list of best vets in the area of their choice:
Search Option 2:
Using the map to get a glimpse of clinics available for booking, this feature was carefully curated to enhance the UX and deliver the best results.
Search Option 3:
By typing the addresses in the search bar:
Further, filter options such as the near zip code, open hours and timings, etc. helps the users narrow down their search. The overall look was kept clean with visible icons for quick search results.
To help pet owners narrow down their search results, additional fields were added in the vet profiles that would give the former a peek at the areas of expertise, treating conditions, procedures used at the clinics and animals the vets or clinics cater to. This is what a typical web page for a vet clinic looks like:
SEO is a boon for web apps especially for companies like our operating partners GreatVet as it offers a cost-effective way to drive qualified traffic. We divided the entire process into phases, as mentioned below:
An in depth analysis of their Google Analytics and Search Console dashboard (as mentioned in Challenge 3) to get a clear understanding of the SEO challenges they faced.
Post that, Phase 2 was evaluating possible solutions and Phase 3 was of course implementation.
As for the type of content, we worked on informative guest posts, interactive infographics, ultimate guides on pressing issues (such as Pet care during COVID-19, bringing a new pet home, etc.). For maximum visibility, we created a content promotion strategy that included:
As mentioned earlier, our goal was to get as much traffic as we could, and we were overjoyed to see that goal achieved immediately. Implementation of the aforementioned solutions and techniques we were able to improve their site’s overall performance.
To all the SaaS Founders out there who are scared to give the concept of Operator Platform a shot, we know the efforts you’ve put into your product which is why we put in our 100% to ensure that it grows, just like we did for GreatVet.
In fact, they were all praises about our precision in design, quality in development and overall professionalism, and on-time delivery of the promises we made on that first call.
Actionable insights and learnings about building and scaling SaaS companies
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