Product Manager and UX Designer (Group Project)
Product Manager and UX Designer (Group Project)
5 weeks – 5 Design Sprints
This project started as a challenge launched by UXER School during the pandemic lockdown that affected the whole world.
Yo Local was born from a 5 nationalities team working from 4 different worldwide locations.
During the lockdown laws by COVID-19, we were concerned about the impact that this pandemic could have in the face of a possible crisis in local and small businesses. Businesses that are not digitized are the ones that will have the hardest time getting back to normal and need help to get ahead.
On the other hand, people want to help these businesses, but they need information and security to make sure they are supporting those who need it.
That is why we developed Yo Local, our neighbourhood store crowdfunding marketplace with recommendations that help residents and communities who want to get quality local products so that they feel that they are having a positive impact when shopping at a nearby store.
We dedicated the first week to understanding the situation. After proposing some hypotheses we did an exhaustive research trying to prove or refute them.
The first thing to do were narrowing the hypothesis.
“Small business will need some help (they are not digitalized and will be affected by the lockdown)”.
“People want to help but they need information”.
We carried out some research (more than 30 interviews, more than 300 surveys and market analysis) and set a research desk that helped us to focus on how and who we could help.
Finally, after all the research and analysis, we got to our HMW: “How might we facilitate a connection between non essential local business, that were affected by the lockdown, with the population?”.
At the beginning we didn’t know where to focus our efforts, but with the research we noticed that the non essential business were the most affected ones (poor digitalized, couldn’t open their shops during the lockdown, etc).
There are two types of very important profiles with common concerns and that need each other. On the one hand, there are traders, who share the short-term frustrations and concerns of their economic environment. On the other hand, the consumer is another key user in the relationship with the merchant. This user is the one who defines consumer habits, needs and positive solutions that can help the customer in the future.
This is how we met Joaquín, an entrepreneur with a business that has suffered economic losses during the quarantine, affecting his main source of income. Joaquín wants to be able to recover so that he does not have to close and adapt to the new normality (especially, becoming more digital), because he needs to recover that source of income to help his family get ahead.
Paloma is our user person with the customer profile. She is part of a community concerned about the country’s economy and the situation that confinement has caused, and that is why she wants to help small businesses so that we can overcome it all together.
To delve into the user persona we use an empathy map, a tool to find benefits and pain points for each of them, much clearer after validating them with the research.
The empathy map shows that the consumer has a tendency to buy in large stores because it is easier for them and there is a greater variety of products. In their environment, there is talk that consumer habits are changing with the pandemic and that local businesses have to go digital in order to offer reliable information about the products they sold since it generates distrust to enter these stores.
On the other hand, the merchant has uncertainty about his business. When forced to physically close, he has to find other options to continue with his business. He is determined to use platforms that facilitate communication and the dissemination of his products to find his clients there, who are the ones who will help him maintain his business. He is very willing to make changes and is ready to take action.
With a clearer picture of our users, we launched how might we to start devising the solution based on our research.
How could we facilitate a connection to local businesses that are not essential and have been quarantined by the coronavirus?
We did a brainstorming session were I was acting as a facilitator, and we ended up with lots of ideas to move forward with.
At the end of the session, we use a matrix to classify ideas and choose the most viable and innovative ones.
At the end of the session, we used a matrix to classify ideas and voted among those innovative and viable ideas that best responded to our HMW. This is how we arrive to our first approach for our proposal crowdfunding for stores”.
We had our fist draft of an idea, but we needed to be sure we were solving the problem we found out. We used the “Value Proposition Canvas” to match the user’s needs with our ideas, and finally we got to 2 value propositions (one for each User Persona).
Consumer: Our neighborhood store crowdfunding marketplace with recommendations helps neighborhood residents and communities who want to get reliable, quality and natural products (and, in turn, help local businesses) to avoid the frustration of not finding everything they need or the expected quality, and increase their sense of security of buying quality products and doing something that impacts.
Entrepreneur/Merchant: Our neighborhood store crowdfunding marketplace with recommendations helps entrepreneurs who offer second-necessity products and who want to sell their products, make themselves known and recover their economy after COVID-19 to avoid the frustration of not being digitized or having advertising, and increase their sense of security of selling the best products, caring for and serving the neighborhood residents.
Before prototyping, we made a canvas idea to land everything we had researched, devised and validated.
Also, we use the business model (BMC) to study the feasibility of the project. To do this, we analyze who our key partners are, the actions we need to take and the economic sustainability of the project.
In the storyboard we can see the user shopping in his neighborhood after the lockdown. Seeing that many businesses are in crisis or closed, she goes to YoLocal to buy a product and discovers that there are other businesses near her home that can meet her needs.
In general, testes users were very exited about the idea.
The entrepreneurs/merchants, with our platform, they find a way to publicize their business, as well as their products and the offers they launch.
Many business owners said that the idea could be a solution for them, they liked it, and, in some cases, they liked it more than what they were offered by some public organisms (that were more like a directory than a marketplace).
We also tested with these users flow in Mid-Fidelity to get an idea of the platform and test features that we had doubts about. For example, the display of stores as a map or in a list, a donation functionality for businesses and other details that helped us improve the product.
The platform was well received and we obtained the following lessons:
We discovered that what we thought were the platform’s strong points, which were the help to merchants and the thermometer that records contributions, are the most controversial characteristics for merchants themselves.
With their feedback, we decided to hide the contribution figure.
As we didn’t wanted to charge the platform not for the customers neither for the merchants, we included a “donate a coffee” to contribute with the costs of the project. It was confusing and people didn’t understand it.
Also we discovered that merchants may be willing to pay a percentage of their profits for our financing.
Testing the prototype with the merchants, we discovered that many of them that were open during the pandemic, have offered to be collection and sales points for those that were closed, so we include this advantage in our prototype.
At the same time we were testing the prototypes, we decided which attributes we wanted to communicate.
With our brand, we wanted to communicate the spirit of collaboration, positivism, and transparency (among others) that have prevailed throughout the investigation. So we choose colours, fonts and illustrations that evoke these characteristics.
Regarding the logo, we brainstormed associated words to find the best option. Lastly, ‘Yo Compro Local’ emerged, although we decided to shorten it to ‘YoLocal’ in order to apply it to different means of contact with customers.
‘YoLocal’ denotes belonging, commitment and security. It is associated with commitment to the neighbourhood and to local products. In turn, we have included the location icon in the logo to further reinforce the idea that wherever you are, there is a neighbourhood store at your fingertips.
After working in the brand design and the feedback from the users, we designed the first approach to out high fidelity proposal.
Thanks to the feedback we received, we decided to leave both view modes (list and map). In addition, within the business file, the user can collaborate with the store in a non-intrusive way and take advantage of its offers. You can also see important features such as recommendations from other users.
Within the checkout, we place the collection option at a nearby delivery point, which is an added value. In that same part, we add the possibility of supporting the platform, both sharing in RRSS so that they know us, and with a monetary contribution.
The merchant can register at the bottom of the screen and add their store. During testing, we found that merchants value flexibility in adding products. Therefore, on the product page, they can add different data and generate the offers they want for their business (all products, best sellers, special offers, etc.).
Once the store is registered on the platform and before loading its products, we verify that it is a real store to give security to customers. The merchant can easily edit the store data and the platform moderators review it before doing the update.
The merchant can see his daily and monthly objectives in the sales section of the segmented control.
These are the main tools we have used.