Sell where your audience is.

Summary

While working at ePages, I created a concept for an e-commerce mobile app together with a colleague that would allow people to sell products through their existing channels quickly and easily. We created a business case, a landing page and a prototype for the app.

Responsibilities

  • The whole concept and UX work, from sketches to working prototype.
  • Design and branding of the app and a corresponding landing page.
  • Involved with business case and product evaluation process.

Background information

Many people want to sell products, but that does not necessarily mean they all need a full-blown e-commerce solution. Think about your friend selling handmande accessories or somebody in your WhatsApp group putting his work desk on sale.

Setting up an online shop is a complicated, time consuming process. And it's never finished, because setting up the shop, creating a design and adding products is just one part. You need to do marketing and SEO, because people are not going to come to you simply because you're there.

On the other side, many people already have an audience they want to sell to. No matter if it's on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or some marketplace like Etsy or Dawanda, there are a lot of channels out there through which it makes sense to sell.

The idea

With the traditional online shop becoming less important for many sellers, we thought about how people would sell their stuff on a small scale in the future. Since we use our smartphone for a lot of tasks already, why not also use it to sell? If I want to sell my couch to my friends, I'm going to hit them up on Facebook or WhatsApp anyway. What's not really working well is showing the product to them and setting up a payment process.

The idea for the mobile app was to make it easy to set up a product and share it with your audience through the channels you're already using. People could then look at your product and buy it using a modern, mobile-first checkout process.

From a technical point of view, we already had most of the necessary things in place. A modern architecture build around microservices and APIs that would allow us to handle all the necessary data and processes in the background as well as a responsive checkout process with all major payment integrations. The only thing missing would be the app itself.

Mockups

After some initial sketches, we had a pretty good understanding of how the app would work. In order to communicate that and present our idea to others, I created mockups for the main views of the app. Afterwards, we tied them together in InVision and had a first prototype to play with.

Business case & target group

With the first set of mockups and a rough concept, we talked to a few team members and stakeholders about the idea. While most people liked the overall concept and the mockups, we realised that we needed to elaborate more on the actual business case and the target group of the app.

The target group of such an app would of course be people who only sell a few products. Since it's a mobile app, the focus would also be on younger generations, people who are used to do a lot of things with their smartphone and not on a desktop or laptop anymore.

In order to gain reach, the app itself would be given away for free. Additional features like a specific payment or a third party integration with a legal service like Trusted Shops could be priced and made available via in-app purchases. Furthermore, transaction fees could be integrated.

The main idea from a business point of view is to not gain a lot of money with the app itself, but rather use it to target a new customer group and upsell to our full-blown solution.

Landing page

In order to better pitch the idea and give people more information about the app, I created a simple landing page that we could use when presenting the project.

App prototype

For further testing and stakeholder presentation, I turned the mockup screens into a high-fidelity prototype. I also added missing screens like the checkout, so we could show the whole process from start to finish.

Conclusion

As of now, the app is not being developed. The main issue is the different business model compared to the other products from ePages. We still consider it a valuable learning experience, since we looked at the e-commerce market and potential future developments from a different perspective. And who knows, with all the fancy APIs and modern technology stacks in place, somebody could easily develop such an app in the future.

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