In the future, every product will have 5 owners in its lifetime.
When it’s as easy to sell as it is to buy, the massive abundance and value hidden in our closets will be revealed, and our very concept of ownership will be transformed. Our belongings will evolve as dynamically as we do when every product has five lives instead of one.
Tradesy is a peer to peer marketplace where both buyers and sellers can thrive. We released our android app in 2015, giving our users the ability to shop from their device, while leaving out the ability to sell.
At the time, sellers were only able to create listings from our website and IOS app. these users are the sole contributors to our inventory. Their items add value to our marketplace, while increasing traffic and driving customer acquisition.
We’ve found that dual users (people who are both buyers + sellers) spend 3x more than users who only buy. Our dual users also showed a much higher rate of retention + engagement. Only 13% of our android users were sellers at the time, so adding the ability to sell on Android represented a significant opportunity to strengthen our product.
The absence of selling features on our android app upset a portion of our user base and they sure did let us know. Below are some of the reviews we received on the Google Play Store from sellers.
Complete the Tradesy experience on our android app by giving our users the ability to create listings from their device. This way, we can convert more buyers into dual users.
A seller on Tradesy will normally list items from her closet that she is no longer using. She primarily shops high-end design designer fashion so when it’s time to sell, she can still make a majority of her money back. Authenticity and brand name is important to her so she keeps her items in great condition.
She both buys and sells on Tradesy. Selling is a way for her to upgrade her closet by getting cash back to purchasing something new. She is an extremely active user, always browsing new items to purchase and checking up on her sales.
She makes a full-time job out of selling on Tradesy by contributing some of the best items to our marketplace. She is constantly searching flea markets, and consignment shops for discount designer items to sell. There are a ton of items in her Tradesy closet up for sale and she’s always adding more.
While it’s important to create a consistent experience, it’s critical to look towards the future.
We took this opportunity to revisit our current selling experience on IOS + web with fresh eyes to identify its strengths, weaknesses and where there are opportunities for improvement.
We found that some parts of our selling process were causing anxiety, especially for new sellers who are unaware of what it’s like to create a listing on Tradesy.
Sitting down to create a listing feels like a big time commitment, when in actuality it only takes a few minutes.
Lack of feedback throughout the forms makes our users unsure if they’re doing anything correctly, which in turn makes them unsure if their item will even sell.
On our IOS app, we use a step by step process that doesn’t set expectations as to where you are in the process, how many questions there are, or what type of information you’ll need to provide.
I began by interviewing our member care team to find out more about what has been confusing and frustrating our sellers. I found that there some confusion about how to find your draft listings, the Tradesy commission fee, and the different types of shipping options.
Next, I did some competitive research on other peer to peer marketplace selling experiences. This helped me gain an understand what what currently exists and where there may be some opportunities for improvement.
After that I looked into our current selling experience. I broke down the current flow and all of the optional + required input fields. I broke down the different sections of our current experience and searched for areas where the user may need to leave our app to find additional information about their item. Turns out there were quite a few.
Based on the problems i had discovered, i began sketching out different solutions. I came to one solution that would set expectations, feel lightweight, and allow users to move through the process as quickly as possible. We broke the selling process down into cards that would give the user immediate feedback while they were creating a listing. I tested this against a version that was very similar to our current selling experiecne on IOS
Also, every time i walked away from my whiteboard for a minute i’d find a new drawing from one of my coworkers.
Before moving forward, I first wanted to validate my hypothesis. So i created two early prototypes and went coffee shop testing. Myself and a coworker walked up to people in coffee shops who seemed to match our user type and offered to buy them coffee if they tested out our prototype.
My goal was to find out if the new process made sense to people seeing it for the first time, if they intuitively knew what to do and if the process felt light or if it felt like a lot of work.
Luckily, it tested very well. People understood what to do immediately, they said it was easy to use and felt faster than the version similar to our current experience .
After validating our strategy, we moved forward by creating a sustainable rule based system for input fields. The system needed to work with all of our current fields while also being flexible enough to leave room for change in the future. This way, we could continuously grow and improve the experience.
Simultaneously we built a backend system that would allow our taxonomy team to add and remove new fields instantly as they continued to collect information on designer brands and improve the quality of listing data across all platforms.
Now that all of our reusable input field types had been established, we brought users on site for some more in depth user testing. We learned a lot from our users, and adjusted accordingly.
High level Learnings:
Users were nervous their information wasn’t being saved, they were worried that if they left the process that they would lose all of their information. To resolve this we changed the text of our “continue” button to say “save and continue”, this way the user is constantly reaffirming that their information is being saved.
The animation felt really jumpy, because we moved “progress saved [time stamp]” text around as the cards opened and closed so that it was always above the single open card. This was meant to indicate that information was being saved, but didn’t work as we planned, so we scrapped it and instead implied information was being saved through more informative buttons.
Some of the terminology we were using was confusing, we updated with different versions while user testing until we found terminology that our users understood.
Occasionally users would accidentally tap out of the process and not know what happened or how to return. To combat this we added a system modal the first time the user taps out of their listing. It explained that the draft will be saved in your closet and you can complete it at any time. After this we will show a snackbar when you exit listing that says “your draft has been saved in your closet” with a tappable link to return to you listing.
Some information was difficult to read for some of our older users so we bumped up the size to a readable version.
After applying our learnings, we released a beta test to 100 users. These users involved a combination of internal referrals, users who have called in asking about selling features on android, and android shoppers with listings. We offered site credit in exchange for testing out our listing process and filling out a short survey.
Overall the test went really well, a lot of users were excited about the new feature and enjoyed using it. They also helped us uncover some bugs and one major issue. People were still confused about how to find their drafts after exiting a listing. To resolve this we made all drafts accessible from the beginning of the listing process. Now, when you go to create a listing, you have the option to either start something new or complete a draft.
How likely will you be to use our Android app to sell again?
After testing out this feature, would you recommend the Tradesy Android app to a friend?
“Great ... glad Tradesy finally came out with the option to list using our phones.”
“It was easy”
“everything worked well”
“Much faster than the website”
“Great! It was really user-friendly”
“Very happy with the ease of it”
After fixing some bugs and applying the learnings from the beta release, it was time to release the feature to all of our users. We sent out an email to all of our android users, this included users who have downloaded the app and web users with android devices. At the same time gave our google play store images a fresh coat of paint, and updated our launcher icon to be more legible.
After the feature release in December 2016 we were featured in the Google Play Store, which led to a jump in app installs. The amount of listings per day has been growing steadily ever since, our rating on the google play store increased from 4.1 to 4.2 and GMV generated on android has been increasing as well.
Product Designer: Jamie Sharpsteen
User Experience Designer: Emily Tong
Product Owner: Robert Toledo, Daniel Sposito
Developer: Kevin Pedronan