GILT: Fitting Tool
Integrating features into an existing product
Fashion is one of my favorites topics, so I felt very delighted with the idea of creating a new social feature for our client GILT. This company is an online marketplace that offers daily sample flash sales, specializing in luxury fashion and high-end lifestyle.
I worked in a team of three with Nick Tejada and Lakshmi Priya and the timeframe for this project was two weeks. Yay!
We quickly started to explore the website to know a little more about our client. In my case, I have heard about GILT before since I have a lot interest on fashion but, interestingly, I had never had the chance to use this exclusive online store. After this initial step, we discussed how the research would be divided so that we could start working immediately. We created a powerful survey to start filtering general users to identify GILT real audience.
Survey & User Interviews
Surveys are an incredible tool to kickoff for starting to collect a large amounts of data about your users. We got 56 responses from our first screener in a very short time thanks to publishing in different social media channels like Slack and Facebook. My recommendation is always try to find a channel that could have potential clients that could be your target and try to achieve the maximum respondents in order to have an ample data base for the interviews.
While Priya and Nick would be focused in the Competitive and Comparative as well as heuristic evaluation, I was in charge of creating all the interview scripts and conduct the interviews for the users preselected out of the screener. We conducted a total of 7 users interviews, and they were were chosen based on their shopping behaviors.
Here some remarkable quotes from the interviewees:
“I don’t like buy clothing, online it would furniture, decoration, underwear” — Jessica, GA Student
“Part I don’t like about shopping online, sometimes you don’t get what you expected.” — Nancy, Project Manager
I already had some strong assumptions related with the fashion online industry that were corroborated with the interviews results. The data revealed that the current main competitors were Haute Look and Rue lala. These companies have a strong presence they developed similar marketplace apps for the same purpose as GILT and offering daily sample sales with specific and short deadlines to push customers to purchase fast. Amazon and ASOS were mentioned during the surveys and interviews. However, these eCommerces were not included as direct competitors since they are not specialized in luxury flash sales, although they are an important reference in online shopping (ASOS for fashion, Amazon for general purchases).
Part of my task was synthesizing the information that I collected from our screener and user interviews, which I shared with my team:
- Customers care about exclusivity of top brands in affordable prices.
- Deals and promotions are the main motivation to purchase online.
- Intense shopping behaviors are frequently shown in female audience.
- This online behavior decreases when purchases are focused in apparel.
- Users trust other user reviews, being this a very important factor to determine a final sale.
- Purchase clothing through online stores generate a deep frustration into customers due to item oftentimes is not the quality as expected or does not fit well.
- According to the data, the attributes more valued in an eCommerce website is a simple navigation, detailed product descriptions, high-res photos and filter to narrow the results in order to offer a positive shopping experience.
- Shipping options and return policy are a key factor that influence to customers in their purchase decisions.
- Users do not buy through social media. Social Media channels are mainly use to get trends inspiration.
On the other side, our competitive analysis generated the following key insights:
- Gilt provides an inclusive catalogue of items and brands that makes it an easy and accessible place to shop online.
- Similar apps like The Hunt and Polyvore provide more freedom and allows users participate in a social activities like comments or share wardrobes and outfits.
- Navigation on the other apps can be challenging because of their enormous amount of categories. This factor affects directly to the customer that could experiment a decision paralysis due to too many choices available.
- Gilt’s consistency and web standards are mainly good. The company is consistent throughout all of the app’s pages, as well as in line with the Gilt brand and the desktop site.
The retail market is a very competitive industry where most companies try to be ahead to their competitors creating diverse digital marketing strategies. GILT made a great job positioning the brand as reference of flash sales increasing awareness in comparison with other online stores. However, GILT does not provide users enough freedom to connect with others to provide accurate sizing information. This is causing old and new customers to move to other apps and resources to fulfill this need.
We found two excellent opportunities where the company could invest in order to optimize the user experience and increase engagement.
- Style Board: A fashion feature where users can collect items in order to create and share outfits dynamically in their profile. This feature also is based on popularity, and the app shows other user’s style boards to get inspiration or exchange reviews.
- Fitting Tool: This tool helps customers choose the correct size since each brand has their own sizing chart. Based on their measurements and body shape information, the system connects with the returns database to know how many times that item has been returned for wrong size reasons. This way the sizes they suggest have 95% accuracy based on this data.
As the data as demonstrated, the uncertainty of not knowing about if the product will reach their expectations and if the item will fit or suit them properly generate a distrust that could damage in long term the loyalty of customers, being this one of the main reasons of returns. The scenario of those customers that decide to buy apparel online is not better due to a poor sizing system. Some brands have their own factory patterns, making standard sizes inaccurate even if they use the American conversion. The situation repeats if we talked about international companies where they use a different sizing chart . This negative experience have a negative impact that ends in a return process which is time-consuming for customers, and one of the main reasons that retailers lose million of dollars.
Note: The initial idea was develop “Fitting Tool” and “Style Board” simultaneously for this project. However, our timeframe was extremely short that we decided focused this iteration only for the Fitting Tool since is resolving a problem that will have enormous impact in the company’s revenue.
Persona: Introducing Lauren
I was in charge to create the persona, scenario and use case. Once I did, I shared the first draft that was approved by the team. I really enjoyed this part of the project because I felt very identified with the quote “I don’t have time to check all those amazing fashion deals!”.
Lauren is a hardworking bee, smart, chic and price conscious. She loves to get quality at the best price and she is also a fashion follower. She hesitates to shop clothes online because she is an in-store traditional shopper. However she is willing to try, since she knows retailers offer amazing online deals in haute couture items.
GILT has the deals and the fashion, but it doesn’t have the in-store experience. We need to convince Lauren that we can offer her a similar positive experience with our features when she purchases clothes online.
Designing For GILT
For this project the user flow would be focused in choose a size for an item. The task is go to A to B smoothly before the purchase process to reduce confusion picking a size.
I was assigned to created the App Map as guidance for the usability of this new product.
We started to make individual prototypes to offer different perspectives about these amazing features. Nick, as the Project Manager, divided the tasks again and I focused on the “Fitting Tool” feature. Priya and Nick worked on “Style Board”.
We were excited to see the first sketches and we started to debate how to integrate these new tool into the GILT app.
We created a mid-fidelity prototype in inVision to start immediately our usability testing, since the time was running away very quick. We conducted two user test sessions with GA students to check if we were on the right path. We divided our tasks during the sessions: one was to guide the sessions and talk with the users, the other was recording, and the third and last one was taking notes. This process helped us know in real time how exactly the user feels while they are using our prototype.
“If there was an indicator that that (added item to style board) would’ve happened it would be clearer” — Maor, GA Student
“I like the fitting tool…it’s pretty detailed” — Lindsay, GA Student
Both of our users agreed that the “Fitting Tool” was very easy to understand. However, we were having important issues with our “Style Board” feature.
After the feedback received, we fixed quickly the most critical issues that we found in our user testing session:
Home — Popup
- Improve the copy and make it less wordy.
Fitting Tool Pop-up
- Add a button to save information instead the automatic saving.
- Include images for the body shape (they were placeholders).
- System messages more clear, bigger.
- Fitting Tool icon should look more like a button.
Style Board Screen
- Improve the hierarchy and user flow.
- Include images to understand the interface better.
What I Learned
Conciliate With Your Team
Working in team is awesome. I am the kind person that I need to work in group in order to amplify my vision. During the initial stage of this project we found numerous discrepancies in our point of views towards to resolve the problem of this project. These situations often takes time and energy and it should be addressed immediately to guarantee a good execution to avoid future issues that could affect the quality of the product.
Never Lose Sight Of The Product’s Purpose
Fitting Tool is a feature with a good prospect and it helps to reduce returns for inaccurate sizing and minimize frustration for customers that can not try on the product. This is a real problem that some eCommerce companies have right now. At some point we started to debate how amazing would be do a internal forum and other cool features, however is important do not go out of track specially when the timeframe is reduced.
- Include “What is your favorite brand” question into Fitting Tool, in order to know the favorites brands from user and contrast the sizing pattern.
- Redesign body shape icons.
- Design “Size profile” screen.