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Over the course of a two week sprint, I had the pleasure of working with two other UX designers on a conceptual project focused on growing Vinted’s platform and giving sellers more options to develop their own small business within the platform. We were given a brief to increase options for sellers to create their own marketplace or personal shop, including ideas they were considering (such as swapping, personalised profile designs, and community building), and we set out to see if these aligned with what users really wanted.
- Role: User Research Lead (Leading the Discover and Define Legs)
- Design Processes & Tools used: Figma, Figjam, Google Drive, Slack, Zoom
Following the double diamond process, we started on the research phase with sourcing and interviewing participants.
Over the course of two days, our team conducted eight user interviews, both in person and over Zoom. We spoke with users not only of Vinted, but of a large range of second hand buy-and-sell sites, such as Depop, ebay, Facebook Marketplace, and Vestiaire Collective. Through the use of an interview guide (which was open to improvisation) utilizing open-ended questioning methods, we were able to obtain a large amount of data on users’ behaviours but also on their emotions, frustrations, victories, and opinions.
Through an extensive affinity map with insights and quotes which from our users, a few main themes became apparent. It was clear that while Vinted was considering developing options such as swapping, allowing sellers to organise items in collections, and giving custom design to their profiles, we discovered that these things were not a priority for our users. We used our key insights from this exercise, along with the competitive analysis and user journey results, as the starting point for our ideation in phase 2.
- People don’t want to see themselves as a small business, but they have and also want to develop a sales strategy
- “Messages can be very time consuming, and it takes a lot of time to upload items, negotiate, and sell them (…) the whole process isn’t very exciting”
- Sellers want to make their items more appealing through photos and perks
Employing a feature inventory and various articles about the second hand landscape, we saw that while Vinted is a leader in both relevant features and prominence on the market, there were a few areas of improvement. We compared lacking features with our interviews to understand which ones were actually pertinent to our users, and earmarked these for our ideation phase.
User Journey Maps
Matching statements from our affinity map to emotions, we noted areas of improvement in the buying and selling processes. One thing we did however have to keep in mind was that some things the users wanted (the desire to return items that don’t fit, or to see the item in person before purchasing) had a large risk factor for the business, with obvious potential problems or leakage.
Once we had obtained a solid vision of the user’s standpoint and Vinted’s own place in the field, we came to the following problem statement:
This was based on the fact that while sellers on the platform do want to see themselves as a small business, they still employ sales strategies and want to find better ways to expedite the process and get better results. Efficiency often came before community, unless community could be easily obtained and then leveraged for more sales.
How Might We…
With this statement in mind, we came up with a set of six How Might We Statements that responded to users’ pain points. After discussing these as a group, we realized that two of them could potentially generate more trouble than good for the business, and so we focused on the following four highlighted statements.
… make negotiating discounts a more enjoyable and humanizing process for both the buyer and the seller?
… streamline the selling process for those who prioritize saving time?
… give sellers opportunities to develop business strategy without making them feel like they are a small business?
…make quality or ‘investment’ items more visible and appealing to buyers?
With our four questions in mind, we went through two rounds of Crazy 8’s followed by discussions. Many ideas were knocked out straight away (such as a fun but technically difficult AR concept), but a handful made it into a more advanced state of discussion, including ideas that were a combination of multiple sketches.
While many of the features were interesting and could bring value to both users and the business, some were just too complex to carry out in a first step, or would need more research to perfect. We narrowed it down to three winning ideas:
Our research identified that while users have many strategies they use to incentivize buyers to take the plunge, they want to spend as little time as possible communicating with potential buyers, and can find the negotiation process boring and time consuming. Vinted already has a Bundle Discount feature within the app, and we created similar automations that would save the sellers time implementing their strategies and make it easier for buyers to get the perks they would want to negotiate.
- Seller Profile Enhancement
We heard that while users do generally look at the profiles of those who they are buying from, they do not want to put very much effort into their own selling profile. Users mentioned that if a seller had a list of items that they find appealing, they would often follow their profile to see future items. Buyers are also often interested in specific brands or styles. As popular items are sold quickly and removed from the seller’s profile, a seller’s wardrobe doesn’t always represent what products they often upload. We came up with a feature where, once a user has sold ten items or more, Vinted’s algorithm will show potential buyers the categories, brands, and sizes they sell most often. We also adapted the profile page to add more information for those who wish.
We identified that sellers often struggled to sell higher ticket items, even if they are great quality. We wanted to both incentivize buyers to purchase more expensive items and increase their feelings of loyalty to Vinted over their many competitors. We came up with the idea of ‘Vinted Points’, where buyers earn points for every euro/pound/dollar they spend on Vinted, with extra points earned for items over 100 euros. These points could then be used for discounts on future purchases.
After a first round of usability testing with five users, we found that the way Vinted was currently set up to modify a profile was too complicated, and that the UX writing to explain the automated sales strategies wasn’t quite right. After simplifying ways to get to a user’s profile and to their settings, as well as rewriting the options to be a bit more simple, we ran another round of testing with five users. We saw a huge improvement, with the only snag being a bit of remaining confusion with the language used for the sales strategies. For the final prototype, we changed the language to be longer and more clear rather than trying to make it short and snappy.
- Everything must be proven through research — what a company thinks users want is not always what they want, and also, what users think they want isn’t always what they want either!
- UX Writing is extremely important but also a specialised skill
- Smooth project management makes teamwork a dream!
See the full prototype on Vimeo
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