Gilt App | Aspire to Inspire

UXDI P3 | Foster connections between users and brands

Claudia Hora
Mar 13, 2016 · 7 min read

Problem and Opportunity

Gilt* has asked us to explore the options of adding a social feature to the Gilt mobile app to foster connections between users and brands to increase engagement and drive sales.

Project Approach

Our approach to the project started by outlining four main objectives:

  • Examine the drives and motivation that underlie people’s usage of the Gilt app
  • Extract and apply the best practices of successful e-commerce apps
  • Create a social feature in line with the goals of the Gilt app users
  • Develop a style guide in order to inspire people to view, create and share clothing/shopping collections from various sources (friends, bloggers, etc.)

We developed a screener survey to validate the problem assigned and given to us by our client. This survey was shared on various social media networks, such as Facebook, and we received 155 submissions. Out of 155 persons, 47 met the predefined criteria. We asked them to fill out a follow-up questionnaire to accurate what the user is really looking for through his online shopping experience. In the end, 6 people reported that they have made purchases through Gilt.

The data of all Gilt shoppers (n = 6) was analyzed to get insight into people’s attitudes, motivations and behaviors related to the use of Gilt.

PLATFORM: Almost one third (33%) of the people indicated that they only shop on Gilt using their desktop/laptop. The others (67%) also use their mobile devices to buy products online.

FREQUENCY: More than half (66%) of the people have purchased products on Gilt between 1 and 6 times a year. The others (34%), buys off Gilt 7 times or more per year.

SHOPPING CRITERIA: People were asked to fill out their most determining factors when buying clothes. From this, it can be concluded that style and quality are the most important factors followed by brand name.

PURCHASE CYCLE: When people were asked whether they buy their items immediately or later, only 1 out of 6 (16.67%) people responded with immediately, the rest (83.33%) either waits by putting their items in their shopping cart or on a wish list.

INSPIRATION CHANNELS: People were asked to fill out all their inspiration channels. From this, it can be concluded that people mostly get their inspiration from friends and fashion blogs.

Inspiration Channels of Gilt app users

SHARING: Only one third (33.33%) of the people share their purchases and/or clothing style preferences online (i.e. — share pictures via social media/text messages). Instagram is the most used popular channel, followed by Pinterest and text messaging.

After our surveys and interviews we came up with 1 primary personas, secondary and a tertiary persona:

Cristal, Primary Persona | The Explorer — Curious by nature, she just started getting into fashion. To get outfit ideas, she follows fashion bloggers and her friends on Pinterest and Instagram and likes buying similar products.

Alexandra | The Impulse Buyer — Alexandra likes to go to a lot of different events and meet different people. She doesn’t like to be categorized by one style, and likes getting clothing inspiration from her friends and the people around her. She uses her phone to buy clothes while commuting.

Jonah | The Fashionisto — Jonah works in the PR industry with a lot of people in fashion. To present his best self at work in front of colleagues and clients, he likes to invest in high quality clothing. Brand is important to him because his industry calls for it.

Problem Statement

From our research we learned that people want to connect so we did competitive analysis and looked at what other flash sale apps did. Gilt app already allows the user to share selected items with others, just like Haute Look, Zulily and Rue La La are currently doing. So we went beyond what they did.

So for our comparative analysis we looked at brands that already allowed people to get insight into other people’s worlds. They have boards, they have feeds and a possibility to shop the look and even create your own style board with specific editing tools.

Since early October Pinterest has a new feature available — Buyable Pins — pins that allow you to make purchases directly on Pinterest. Buyable Pins are also designed to be mobile-friendly, and support easy checkout mechanisms like Apple Pay. This gives Pinterest an advantage against traditional e-commerce websites, many of which still force users to complete lengthy online forms while tapping on their phone’s tiny screens.


Sketching and Ideation

We wanted to create a more personalized experience for our main users and to reach other less frequent Gilt buyers to increase engagement and drive sales. So we created the My Profile as a personalized style profile: — the user selects items that he/she Loves and has the possibility to create boards with outfits to have a better understanding of what to wear and to inspire and get inspired (from the Feed).

Icon options and icon placement — design iterations.

After reviewing some other apps and validated our ideas, we build the MVP based on an onboarding process of picking “Loved” products. The area where the user can access to his profile is right next to the My Cart icon. The “heart” in the icon turns yellow — one of the colors used in Gilt’s app — when an item is “loved”.

We’ve tested the visual approach “animated shortcut” (as Pinterest named it): by pressing and holding on to a particular photo, the set of options “Love”, “Send” and “Add to Cart” would appear as buttons that are activated by sliding your finger to the appropriate option. User testing showed that it was an unclear action and a bit confusing to the user. The icon for sending the item, with a paper plane, wasn’t clear for all the users. Most of the users said it was too much effort and they only wanted to select the item and a simple like feature. Although most of our users are Pinterest and Instagram addicts, the pressing feature for an icon to pop was not well understood. The heart icon/button is now a universal symbol for liking an item and when we introduced and tested, the results were much more satisfactory (100% of the users easily acceded to this change).

So now the user can select items to create fashion style boards. It is a great way to play with mixing different patterns and colors and create outfits without investing time in a store dressing room (and that was our main user’s major problem — Cristal, our main Persona). Now the user can see if that pair of shoes matches the dress and the purse before purchasing the items. Gilt is a flash sales brand, but even when an item is sold and the user wants to “Shop the Look” the app suggests a similar product that is available in the present moment.

We made a usability evaluation test with 8 users to validate all the changes. For example, previously in the user’s profile the “Feed” was an “About” section with information about the user. Now the “Feed” is the place for the user to find other users, fashion bloggers or others, to get inspiration and select the option to follow that person.

After that we added an “Onboarding” screen to explain what the new “My Profile” feature is for the user and where is located in the app.

Next Steps

Should the app allow people to share their style boards outside of the app?

Should people be able to edit their style board?

Should the social interaction be enriched by allowing people to comment/share, like or rate the style boards of others?

However, more research needs to be done before executing these next steps.


To see the Prototype follow this link.

Note* — This case study was a project developed by me and my team under the General Assembly User Experience Design Immersive course.

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