Buster

Perfection in utility

Shaping the role of digital communication for a Finnish market leader

What we did

User research, Design, Engineering

Buster Boats is the largest and industry leading Northern European designer and manufacturer of aluminium powerboats. Their long expertise spanning from 1955 to this day and the uncompromising quality level of boats has established Buster as a Finnish household name and top-of-mind brand in the aluminium motorboat sector. 

Buster boats are known for their durability. The majority of over 125.000 boats that Buster has launched over the past six decades is still in use. Buster works with an extensive dealer network in the Northern Europe and is expanding to new global markets.

The need

Aligning digital with sales

Our partnership with Buster originally began in 2015 when we designed the user interface of Buster Q - Buster’s navigation software that is built in to their new boat models. Buster approached us in autumn 2016 to holistically take charge of their website renewal project.

The premise of the project was a simple question: What do you think the role of digital communication should be for Buster, the Finnish market leader in boats? 

The key driver of Buster’s website renewal was to better direct users to the sales funnel and more effectively manage sales leads. Buster’s  online presence was also in need of a visual refresh. Together with our client we determined it was best to create a completely new site with a marketing automation system integrated underneath.

Digging deeper

Understanding both sides of the sales counter

In our view, the most important questions to be answered were

  • How could we further expand the market with the aid of digital services? Are there any adjustments in communication to be made? 
  • How do we create a smooth CX funnel from product launches and marketing through sales to product delivery in digital? 
  • How can we boost brand loyalty and profitability by providing added value services for existing customers? 

Design of the website and digital sales funnel would have to start from understanding both sides of the sales counter.

We began by determining the user personas that we would target with digital communications. To further understand our personas, we conducted interviews with real users who shared similar characteristics with the user personas we had created. We wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the thoughts and feelings different kinds of users associate with the motor boating world, what kind of information needs would different users have in each phase of their buying process, and how they would approach buying a motorboat. On the grass root level, we wanted to find out for instance how different kinds of users feel about walking into a motorboat dealership.

We also talked with Buster boat dealers in order to understand the underlying business goals and the entire sales and logistics process.

Designing the experience

Perfection is in the details

The research phase enabled us to determine the design drivers of the project.

Firstly, the site would have to connect both sides of the sales/buying process. On one hand, it would prepare the potential buyer for the buying process in an easy, approachable way. The website would have to be a trustworthy platform that would provide the user with the information they need beforehand and help them to be prepared before they walk into the dealership. On the other hand, the site would allow us gather data about the users. This data would help Buster and their dealers to better serve their customers’ needs. 

The design of Buster boats is guided by uncompromising goals regarding ruggedness, everyday practicality and seaworthiness, and the site would have to communicate these values.

Secondly, the guiding driver for us would be the user flow. There would have to be a smooth flow through the site for each of our user profiles. This would guide the site structure. Every page on the site would have to have a clear purpose. Whenever we faced a design choice, we asked ourselves – does this selection support the user flow?

The design of Buster boats is guided by uncompromising goals regarding ruggedness, everyday practicality and seaworthiness, and the site would have to communicate these values. We came up with a slogan, “Perfection in utility”, that would guide the tone of voice and visual style throughout the site.

We determined what the digital sales funnel would look like from beginning to end, with the purpose for every point in the funnel to maximise the number of customers moving to the next phase. 

Our inspiration for the site functionality came from the automobile industry - how prominent automobile brands offer configuration tools to engage users on their site. In this way, the users can subtly start tinkering, clicking and altering the product combinations without even noticing it. 

The goal is to get the potential customer to start working towards the order. The more choices the potential customer makes, the closer we get to a sale. What’s more, every choice tells us more about what that customer is interested in. 

Configuration is a by-product of the browsing the site. The goal is to get the potential customer to start working towards the order. The more choices the potential customer makes, the closer we get to a sale. What’s more, every choice tells us more about what that customer is interested in. All inputs and choices give us more finely tuned profile data for retargeting and marketing automation. 

Finally, we would have to smooth the bridge from Buster’s own digital platform to the dealers. 

The result

After the research phase, design and development progressed hand in hand. We continued to iterate throughout the whole project every time we realised something didn’t work in the best possible way it could. A big proportion of the effort went into perfecting the boat configurator tool. 

We took a lead in the site content too - copywriting new content for the site, editing videos, and coordinating translations for multiple language versions. On top of our client’s comprehensive existing content, we designed a Highlights section to showcase the best of Buster boats.

The end result is a site that works across four different country versions and a unified platform for Buster’s product launches. For the user, configuring their own Buster boat is effortless and intuitive. Users can see the effect of each choice in their desired boat’s estimated price. And finally, they can save their desired boat design for later or immediately send it to their nearest dealer for a price quote. The configurator tool also works as a simple product page without price information when that data is not available for a certain market.

We continue to gather analytics and marketing automation data and develop the site further. See the site at Buster.fi

Do you want to know more about this project? Get in touch with the product owner.

Mikael Koskimaa

CEO, UX Designer

mikael.koskimaa@sangre.fi
+358 50 371 9516