Case Study: Optimizing Soma's User Experience with HEART Framework, GSM, and ROI Analysis

Published on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Last updated Wednesday, October 25, 2023
3 min read

Soma, a water storage and filtration solutions provider, is committed to crafting exquisite designs for its products while championing sustainability and charitable endeavors. However, achieving a holistic user experience requires more than aesthetics and goodwill. It requires actionable metrics and comprehensive strategies. This case study delves into how HEART (Happiness, Engagement, Adoption, Retention, and Task Success) Goals, Signals, Metrics (GSM) were employed to scrutinize Soma's user experience and formulate ROI-based strategies for long-term growth.


Soma offers a wide range of products designed for storing and filtering water. Their brand ethos is deeply rooted in sustainability and social impact, working with boutique design agencies for limited editions and running a water filter delivery subscription. In addition, the company donates water and creates eco-friendly products, emphasizing their charitable efforts.

Screenshot of Soma's home page in 2018.
Screenshot of Soma's home page in 2018.

Objectives and Methods

The HEART Framework in Context

The HEART framework, tailored to capture user-centric metrics, was meticulously applied to analyze various facets of Soma’s customer journey. Below are the elaborated Goals, Signals, and Metrics (GSM) for Soma's user experience.

HappinessBoost perceived purchase impactEngagement in eco & charity pagesTime on pages, exit rates, charity sales, social views
EngagementEnhance sharing & brand awarenessMulti-product purchasesBundle & email conversions
AdoptionPromote new & add-on productsReturns for new linesNew/limited edition buy rates
RetentionRegularize filter replacementsFilter sub sign-upsRetention, delivery tweaks, pre-payments
Task SuccessSimplify account setupsCreation abandon ratesError & immediate sub rates

ROI Analysis

To maximize ROI, we considered three scenarios based on various growth assumptions. As a disclaimer, boutique companies do not disclose their finances and business success as readily as larger companies. According to Owler, the company generates about $2 million in annual revenue in 2017.

  • Scenario 1: Revenue remains constant
  • Scenario 2: Standard industry growth of 2-3%
  • Scenario 3: Exceptional growth of 7-8%

Visual calculation and breakdown of the three ROI scenarios.

Strategic Insights

Long-Term Strategy: Focus on Subscriptions

Subscriptions appear as a stable revenue stream requiring minimal site engagement. Metrics indicated a higher retention rate for users subscribing upon their initial purchase, making it a priority focus for long-term growth. However, Soma should closely monitor and improve the renewal rates for existing subscribers.

User Buying Habits: An Untapped Goldmine

Soma should actively engage with users who make repeat purchases, especially of non-consumable products like carafes and bottles. Understanding the motivations behind these purchases could offer insights into user satisfaction, product quality, and potential upsell opportunities.


  1. Retention Metrics: Monitor the percentage of users who let subscriptions lapse to improve reminder systems.
  2. Consumer Feedback: Conduct surveys to understand why consumers purchase multiple similar products.
  3. Conversion Optimization: Given high direct link visits, focus on-site conversion rate improvement.


Understanding the user experience is not a mere theoretical exercise; it has profound implications on a business's bottom line. By methodically applying the HEART framework and aligning it with ROI considerations, Soma can turn its already aesthetically pleasing and socially responsible brand into an exemplar of user experience design. This strategic exercise provides a pathway for Soma to not just connect with its users on an emotional level but also to evolve as a commercially viable entity in a competitive landscape.