A well-known clothing retailer approached Bain looking to increase denim sales for the back-to-school season. In 4 weeks, I designed and then worked with the dev team to build an iPad app that was an ecommerce store with a heavy focus on denim.
Start with the User
Our first step was to get a better understanding of our users. After visiting multiple stores to interview managers, associates, and customers, we found many interesting opportunities.
None of the workers even used the existing app because it was buggy, slow, and they couldn’t understand how to place a sale. All of them chose to use the cash register instead of the app.
After our research we had a few questions to solve in the product.
How might we get associates to trust the system rather than using the cash register?
How might we make the experience of purchasing via the iPad more valuable for both the customer and associate?
People ask almost every vendor and waiter if their store or restaurant supports the particular reward program. This drives where they spend their money.
Given the above product questions, we ran a brainstorm session on how to solve some of these issues. We set about defining the product as such:
Build trust in the system by not only making it reliable, but also easy to use, consistent, and predictable.
Remove any unnecessary marketing materials that the current app had. It’s causing confusion and not beneficial to associates or customers.
Transactions should take the fewest amount of steps necessary and be as fast or faster than using the cash register.
Creating a More Effective Browsing Experience
One of the keys to helping customers purchase the right items is to give them an idea of what the item looks like when worn. Therefore, I wanted to use product images that were being worn by the model and large enough to give customers a sense of what it might look like on them.
The app home allowed the user to see all the different denim fits for both men and women. After selecting a fit, the user could scroll left and right to see all of the styles in that fit type. In our usabilty studies, we found that many customers would use these large images to help make a decision on which fits and styles to purchase.
How might we speed up transactions to be as fast as, if not faster than using the cash register?
This was the most important product question we had to figure out in order to get store associates to use the product. We couldn’t simply be better than the existing app that associates didn’t use anyway. Our app had to be better and faster than using the standard cash register. We implemented 3 key features to accomplish this:
1. Scan product bar codes
Searching for products on the iPad was the most time consuming aspect of the transaction. We nailed it with a simple design and fast scan. This allowed associates to help customers whereever they were and look up product availability immediately instead of going back and forth between the register.
2. Require only the minimum amount of customer info
At a minimum, the customer needed to provide an email address, shipping info and payment info. There were a lot of other fields the client wanted to add to collect more data about their customers, but we insisted on using only the minimum to make the transaction. This greatly reduced the amount of time customers had to spend checking out.
3. Use Square instead of entering credit card information
One of the more annoying aspects of a transaction is entering in all of your payment information - credit card number, expiration date, CCV, name, and billing address. That’s a lot of information to enter on an iPad, time consuming, and not something you need to do at a cash register.
Instead of all that, we chose to speed up the transaction by using Square. A simple swipe of the credit card with a quick signature and the transaction was complete.
Deliverables & Results
My first major deliverable was to deliver the Sketch files to the dev team along with all necessary assets. The other major deliverable was a prototype that looked and felt like the real app which the client used for training purposes.
This pilot app has proven to be successful in helping generate more in-store sales. Additionally, sales associates prefer to sell via the app instead of going to the cash register - a 180 degree change to what we observed in our research. All in all, the pilot was so successful that the company decided to invest in creating a full-fledged version to roll out in more stores.
Check out the video I created of the design and prototype that we use to share with clients and Bain partners.