Helping to make Christmas a better user experience

We're excited to announce our latest case study – overhauling Santa's digital experience to provide a better Christmas for everyone! We reviewed his (sadly non-existent) digital presence, and helped create a new tool that makes life easier for children, parents, and elves.

The Challenge

Santa delivers presents to billions of children in every country around the world, which would be impressive enough, were it not for the added challenge that he does this personally, in one night every year. While his mastery of the space-time continuum is admirable and he has a fantastic brand built up, Santa's business required a digital review to improve his worldwide customer experience and to ensure his business could continue to improve on its solid foundations. With that in mind, we set out to do the following:

  • Implementing a digital solution – we wanted to help Santa achieve an effective digital, omnichannel presence, so that people could interact with him easily across mobile, tablet, desktop, or any other channel available.
  • Understand how children would like to request gifts - and how parents and elves would like to process the requests.
  • Design a service that is easily usable - and satisfies all the different users for what can be a stressful time of year for parents and elves.

What we did

Santa came to us with a clear need to innovate digitally, with goals like "HO HO HOPE you can make me an app so I can be bigger than Amazon..." (this was followed by a moment of awkward, cringing silence), but he hadn't formulated a clear strategy around how best to achieve this objective. Rather than starting with potential solutions, we decided we needed to speak with key stakeholder and customer groups to gain a better understanding of what was needed to make Christmas a special time of year for everyone.

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Above: Santa - perplexed by the digital world

Customer interviews

We sat down with a number of parents and children to talk about how they saw Christmas time and what they saw as key concerns that needed to be addressed:

  • Parents found Christmas time particularly stressful. They were working from limited budgets, and found the letter writing process exhausting. At times, they found they would have to manage their children's expectations if they requested gifts they couldn't afford or that were inappropriate (e.g. much as it may disappoint many young girls, ponies are very expensive). Of course, this was just one headache among many, as they also had to organise food and festivities for family gatherings. Through strained smiles however, they assured us that Christmas continued to be a magical time of the year.
  • Children looked forward to Christmas, but found the entire process wasn't very transparent. Who decides whether you're nice or naughty overall, on an annual basis? While they sometimes desired certain gifts, they wouldn't always be available according to their parents (e.g. why can't every girl have a pony? Is it because there aren't enough ponies to go around?). Finally, they were confused as to where to send their letters: does Santa live at the North Pole? Or in Lapland? They wanted an easier process to allow them to request the gifts they wanted, without all the confusion that Christmas inevitably brings.

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Above: Some of the initial comments from children during our interviews

Internal stakeholder interviews

We also traveled to Lapland and got a chance to run a number of workshops with Santa's internal elf team, to learn what they wanted to get out of the system.

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Above: We took a Lapland Uber (left) to Santa's workshop (right) to conduct stakeholder interviews.

A key insight we found was that elves dreaded Christmas every year, as they had to decipher children's handwriting and get the right gifts made. They felt the process was inefficient and prone to errors, and wanted a more precise system, so they could reduce workplace stress.

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Above: Stakeholder management has its challenges

Our solution

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An initial sketch of the digital solution we put together for Santa.

Based around the above ideas, we set about putting together a solution to address everyone's needs. We sketched out, prototyped, and tested a responsive website, allowing kids to select items they wanted by putting them in a 'sack'. Parents could then easily approve or modify the sack, before confirming the gift order. Finally, elves could easily and accurately see what they would need to build, making them more efficient and cutting down on workplace mistakes.

Impact and results

Since launch this year, we've seen a measurable impact across Santa's business and with his customers:

  • Parental stress levels have dropped by 30%, the first drop in over a decade.
  • Elf happiness and employee satisfaction levels have improved dramatically
  • Child satisfaction has improved by 45%, while child confusion levels around how Santa actually works have dropped by 50%

We're incredibly proud of what we did on this project, and hope to work with Santa once again next year.

From all of us here at Webcredible, we'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

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