It’s no secret that fast fashion is killing our environment and the fashion industry. Whilst there are more online second hand selling platforms, they do little to compete against the ease and convenience of fast fashion giants.
In this case study, I wanted to explore the way we currently shop as well as the habits consumers have developed over time. I then decided to create a product that would aim to solve some of the pain points of buying clothes second hand, thus making it an easy convenient options for multiple types consumers whilst also promoting sustainable fashion.
Research & Analysis
I first began by looking into the current products offered online. There are multiple different types of platforms out there, so I signed up to each to gain an understanding of how they all work and differ to each other.
In order to make more sense of the findings generated from above, I decided to arrange all this information into a comparative analysis. This allowed me to see overlaps between different companies, however the main takeaway from this was whether each company was business or user centric - the amount of responsibility placed on the user will affect the experience
In order to identify user needs and pain points when using online second hand shop platforms, I began to speak and interview a diverse range of friends, family and work colleagues. I found there were different pain points depending on if you were a buyer or seller. From interviewing several people, I was able to discover 3 main personas: The Seller, The Buyer and the Fast Fashion Fiend.
Allison was an interesting person, because she does not have any reservations about buying second hand and also does like the idea of being environmentally conscious and friendly. However, she turns to Fast Fashion our of sheer convenience and affordability. This is opinion and stance that will become more valuable through out the journey.
You can’t ask people to change their habits, however you can look at what makes an existing habit so convenient and hard to break. Then you can adapt these conveniences to a new product, thus enticing a user based on their own familiar habits. EG: Allison might try shopping second hand, if the range is curated, the clothing is cheap and ships quickly, as it meets all her requirements from Fast Fashion.
I decided to create a Customer Journey map to match pain points to particular parts of the journey. I wanted to be able to see when people experienced these pain points and where they would drop off from the entire experience.
In order to understand the two different personas (Buyer and Seller), I created the following customer Journey Map.
customer journey map
From the personas and customer journey map, I decided to map out the pain points using an affinity map. Through this process, I was able to categorise the pain points into three main areas
Selling an item
Finding an item
Buying an item
I wanted to create a solution which would put the responsibility back on the initial vendor that sold the new item. I wanted a solution that would take most of the responsibility away from a seller (having to upload, take photos and manage the listing) as well as instil trust into a potential buyer.
This is when I began to explore the idea of ‘Tailor’ — a curated business centric second hand selling platform.
We all buy things that we regret down the track, imagine if you could send it back for a partial refund. Even a small amount would be better then having the item just sit in our closet unused.
Pain Points & Solutions
From here, I decided to create a new user flow for the Seller. The aim of this was to not to only make the process easier for the seller but to also eliminate a lot of the pain points and responsibility the seller has when using other online second hand sales platforms.
This User Flow was important as it was the first step to developing wireframes as well as the first user test.
Like usual, my initial wireframes began by sketches on paper based on the initial website layout. These sketches were the foundation to creating a basic wireframe that I could put in front of people.
This sketch helped me realise the other things that were going to have to be created that would help users with the process.
From these sketches, I was able to quickly develop a simple wireframe that could then be prototyped in Sketch. The aim was to get designs in front of users as soon as possible. Even simple designs would help me realise any early problems/edge cases I had overlooked.
I initially tested my idea based on an exisiting shopping experience I loved. I did this because I wanted to focus on existing similarities and habits in the current experience that I could build upon. I also found that building on an existing experience saved time and allowed me test my idea without getting caught up on other ideas.
Wireframes- Round 01
I tested this with 5 different users through with a linked Invision prototype. This was helpful as I was able to get feedback about the functionality/process very quickly without having to spend too much time designing the screens. From here, I was able to note the following pitfalls.
How could users trade more then one item?
Users did not know have enough information to proceed with trade
Users did not understand that the UI behaviour for the Trade icon. They were unsure of what was valid or invalid.
Users did not feel the ‘Pop Up’ was a great experience
Always try to get something in front of a users eyes as soon as possible, even if the design is in early stages or just a wireframe. It can help with the process and identify major pain points.
Wireframes - Round 02
From these designs, I was able to gain more clarity on what could potentially work and be more effective.
Brand: Users were less confused when there was a sub-branding associated with the Trade (Pink/Peach shade used for the background)
Process: Users felt as though this process (without the pop-ups) was more trusted and suited to the original branding of the website.
User Interface/Interactions: Users felt more comfortable when even similar interactions (such as the hover states) were similar to other parts of the website.
From the User Tests, I was able to identify that people wanted to see a landing page that explained how the whole Trading process worked.
I began wire-framing different variations of the Landing page. This will display the unique attributes of the company that makes it different from other online second hand selling platforms. The user test was helpful as it provided answers the users wanted to know about the program, thus it allowed me to design and consider content that needed to be created.
Through several rounds of User Testing, I received lots of different feedback which made me consider all the different parts of the experience. Like all case studies, I began to identify other opportunities. However, I then chose to focus on four specific parts of the case study.
At first, I was going to base my idea on an existing brand, however I decided to then create my own brand based on a combination of my favourite brands so I could draw on other specific features.
I choose the name ‘Tailor’ because we often use this term to alter garments so they will fit a body type better. One of the benefits of Tailoring is that the garment is then unique to you, I wanted to draw on this concept being that a user can find clothes unique to them based on preferences they have selected from sign up. They could have a ‘Tailored’ wardrobe with the functionality that allows them to see their current wardrobe and what could be added or Traded.
User Interface Design - Polished Visuals
I began by creating the mobile first experience . This was important to me, because the demographic would likely discover the program through social media - which is more commonly accessed by mobile opposed to desktop.
Manage & Trade
Case studies like such always prove to show new opportunities and potential directions that a product could take. Its always very tempting to do more, especially because sustainable fashion is a passion of mine.
Wardrobe Management System - use AI to determine individual fashion trends and potential items people can buy. Also allow a user to assemble outfits and suggest new items to add to wardrobe. Sell ‘celebrity’ or ‘stylised’ wardobes. EG: Five Piece French Wardrobe. Also, collate a colour palette, style and finance section to help people manage their wardrobe.
More detailed preference system - a way to add new brands to preferences, add notifications for when a specific item of clothing comes on to the market.