23andMe: Consumer Friendliness Takes out the Scariness

23andMe allows you to explore your own genome and compare it to those of friends and family (if they are willing to share). The company is consumer targeted, although had previously faced issues in California and New York, states that argued against the site because of the lack of doctor involvement in the process. But by bypassing doctors, the company has a straight shot to directly market and sell to consumers.

1) Keep the check out process easy: Place to sign in, place to register, and place to see what is in your shopping cart. Expand on these tool headers once the user is registered and has access to more information.

2) No subscriptions: Find out what works for your business model and stick to it. In December 2007 the cost of a test was $999. Then the Company started to offer an upfront+ subscription payment plan as well as a one time payment option (of the aggregate amount). In 2011 the price was down to $99, plus a $5 monthly fee for a year. In January 2012 the price was raised to $99 plus a $9 monthly fee for a year. And finally as of May 2012, the Company disregarded the subscription model all together for a flat lifetime fee of $299. Consumers understand that a TV becomes cheaper over time as technology matures and the manufacturing process becomes more efficient. Poor signaling on price makes some consumers question the quality of the product and causes others to wait it out for a potential sale down the road.

3) Constant improvement: In January 2012, 23andMe took 6-8 weeks to process and deliver data upon receiving a sample. 2-3 weeks is a major improvement and a great selling point.

1) Diction: “Def” and “ur” isn’t cool and hip. These informal abbreviations make it seem like your users and subscribers are airheads. Edit out the grammar but keep the meaning.

2) Relevance: If it is 2012, put a more up-to-date quote than one from 2008. The more recent the comment the more immediately fresh the product will seem.

1) Legend box: There are other symbols used on this page including ones dictating gender specific diseases and new findings. Create a “legend” as one would for a map and place it on the side or bottom of the site so that all symbols have a definition, not just this particular one.

2) Confidence level consistency: 23andMe uses the same confidence indicators (4 stars for most confident) for disease risk as well as for carrier status. These two indications are not comparable. 4 stars for heart disease means that the test is sure that when compared to the average population (which gets statistically stronger as more members join 23andMe), your individual risk is x% higher than average for heart disease. 4 stars for carrier status means that you definitely carry a variant for a certain disease. The use of stars for both categories is confusing and can cause great doubt regarding the certainty of the disease risk results.

3) Laboratory outsourcing: LabCorp is an $8BN market cap company that gets more than 400,000 samples per day. This partnership makes me confident that my sample will be analyzed properly than if it was done by a relatively young business with $60mm in startup funding (as is 23andMe).

23andMe is successfully targeting the consumer audience. The website is very user friendly (taking out the scariness of the potential test results) and the company promotes its product like most consumer products and services. The tutorials are easy, the videos are fun, and of course the star recognition and support helps too (Warren Buffet and Jimmy Buffet are both customers https://www.23andme.com/gen101/variation/buffett/).

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3 thoughts on “23andMe: Consumer Friendliness Takes out the Scariness

  1. […] I had detailed in an earlier post, 23andMe has used my DNA sample to enhance my understanding of my high/low susceptibility of various […]

  2. […] months ago, I wrote about 23andMe and their price reduction to $299 per kit from the December 2007 $999 price tag. Today, the Company […]

  3. There’s certainly a great deal to know about this subject.
    I really like all the points you have made.

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