January 29, 2014 | Shares:

Going Premium, Part 2: A Feature Is Born

This is the second part of an ongoing series about building Yotpo Premium. In part one, we intro’d our journey.


I have a confession. This is my first job in hi-tech and before I started here, I had no idea what a developer does. I mean, I had a general idea of the fact that it involves programming and building software. But I’ve always regarded developers as mysterious sort of wizards who type cryptic codes into a computer, hit enter and POOF, software is born. Have you seen this website? Yeah, that’s pretty much how I imagined it.

Now that I have been here for a while, I understand that there is a lot more to software development than hot chicks and fast living. But I still think development is a kind of magic. When I say magic, I mean it, because these geniuses built Yotpo from scratch. And they are currently in the process of developing Yotpo Premium to be an awesome and powerful marketing tool.

We’re developing our Premium product with the idea that if we’re going to charge people for it, we had better make it worth their money. This got me thinking – how do we decide what features to add and how do we add them?

So I sat down with Yotpo’s Product Ninja and all-around superstar, Omer, to find out how a feature, specifically our new Social Q&A,  goes from a twinkle in someone’s eye to a part of your online store.

Yotpo branded Pickup Truck

Our head of product is a 3 year old. (Just kidding, but that is Omer’s adorable kid in a Yotpo branded pickup)

How do you decide which features to add?

Most of the ideas for new features come from our users. We have multiple channels to engage them and find out what they want from Yotpo: our amazing support team, our Facebook page and Twitter, a few forums that we are active on, customer surveys, feedback from our Sales Ninjas and our Feature Request page.

Of course, we also come up with ideas for new features ourselves by looking at usage data and determining the value we want to achieve. We are always just trying to develop the most valuable features for our users.

We have like 12190909 features in the queue, so the next part is tricky–we have to take all the ideas and prioritize them. Our R&D team is the best, but there are only 24 hours in a day.  The prioritization is the key. We take a few factors into account – demand (how many of our users or potential users request this feature), expected usage, expected value, complexity of development and more.

Why did you decide to add Q&A?

Most of the ideas for features come from users, but Social Q&A is an idea we had internally.  We tried to think of ways to leverage both the data we already have (past buyers of a product) and the “real estate” that we occupy on the product pages of stores.

We figured we could combine these two assets to give great value to our users: increase engagement with new customers, increase conversion rate, use the power of community and loyal customers and the bottom line to increase sales. This can all be achieved with no extra effort by the store owner; no need to add code or anything, simply turn the feature on.

Let’s say you have on online sneaker store and Laura sees a pair she likes. She’s hesitant about buying sneakers online because she can’t be sure of the sizing, so she clicks “Ask a Question” on your product page. She writes “What is the sizing like on this style? Do they run big or small?”

You receive the question and decide to pass it on to past buyers of the product who will get it in their e-mail. Stephanie sees the question in her inbox and responds “Love these sneakers! They run a little large, so I would order them in a half size down.”

When she submits her answer, she’s taken back to your site where she sees that you now stock the running socks she likes, so she buys three pairs. Laura sees her question was answered and can now confidently make a purchase as well.

What’s the process of creating a feature, from the initial idea to it going live?

Our R&D team works in three-week intervals called Sprints. Before each Sprint we first need to prioritize the tasks we want to accomplish–this, by the way, is not easy.

I sit with the CEO, CTO, CRO for about 2 hours determining what needs to be done next and why–everyone has their own ideas and no one is shy about making themselves heard.  If you know anything about working with Israelis, you know these debates can get loud and heated but in the end, we’re all just trying to do what is best for our users.

Once we decide on the tasks for the next Sprint, I work with our super duper design team at  Hamutzim to create mockups of the new features. When the design is ready, I create a PRD for the task.



 PRD for Q&A

The developers and I go over it and try to estimate how long it will take. We talk through the PRD to make sure we’re on the same page and to close and gaps or answer any questions they may have.

Then our awesome developers work to build their feature to the specifications of the PRD. Every morning, the team has a “Daily” led by Omri, our CTO. Because everyone is working on their own tasks, the Daily is an opportunity to keep everyone posted on the overall progress of the Sprint and also an opportunity to bounce around ideas, problems and solutions.


When a developer finishes a task, he pushes it to a staging environment so the QA team can play with it and make sure everything is working properly.

If all goes well, we launch the new feature in conjunction with the sales and marketing team. Then, debrief and plan the next sprint.

Any challenges with creating Q&A?

Q&A is an interesting one because the challenges really came post-launch.  This feature is not what our users are used to seeing from us.

Some people say “I want a reviews solution, what is this Q&A thing?” which is funny because when we came up with the idea we thought “People are going to go crazy for this!” which is not exactly the case (yet!).

It’s all in line with increasing the value of Yotpo for our Premium users. We are going to have to branch out of the comfortable reviews space and give people things they didn’t even know they needed.

It’s like Henry Ford said,  “If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”

We don’t want to just give people a bigger and better reviews system,  we want to offer them a solution for reviews, marketing and developing community–we want to build them a Model T.

Talia Shani
Talia Shani, Head of UK Marketing @ Yotpo
In Talia's past life she was a cook, but now she prefers to focus on eating. Right now, she's probably thinking about what she'll eat next or taking a long walk around Tel Aviv.
  • It sounds interesting if past customers are willing to answer questions. What is the incentive for them to do so? Also, how long is someone willing to wait for an answer to their question?

    • The incentive right now is simply to contribute to the community and help someone out. In the future we hope to add coupons to the emails asking for answers (“Answer this question and you’ll receive 10% off your next purchase.”)

      We will send the question to past buyers for 3 days, after which the store owner will get a notification that the question was not answered. (But hopefully it won’t come to that!)

  • Johnny

    Is this similar to Amazon’s “Ask other customer’s a question” feature, that sends your question via email to all previous customers? If so, this is awesome!

    • Yes it is similar, however, we won’t ask all past buyers a question. At the moment, we will send the email to 5 different previous buyers per day, for 3 days.

      • Mark

        The problem I have with this is most of the questions i get are from people who have only had the product for 3 days and dont know how to use it. I think it would be better if the question was to people who had used the product a bit longer.

        • Hey Mark

          First of all, thanks for reaching out!

          Q&A is designed as a way for potential shoppers to ask questions about your products before they make a purchase. Potential shoppers submit a question on the product page and the store-owner can answer themselves or they can choose to submit the question to past purchasers of the product.

          There is a logic in place to ensure that past purchasers who receive questions have had the product for a while (so they should be able to answer a question knowledgeably.)

          If you have any more questions, respond here or just email me directly at talia@yotpo.com.

  • Petteri Pucilowski

    Sounds great! When is this going to be available, though? Having read this article I got the impression that it is available now but can’t find it on our premium account. 🙂

    • Hey Petteri,

      Q&A is already available! Simply go to the Social tab in your account to enable it. Enjoy!

      • Petteri Pucilowski

        Cheers, using it right now! 🙂

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