Back Market — When reselling your dusty old phones is as simple as sending an email (A UX/UI case)

Jacques Trouillet
Mar 18 · 7 min read

“What do you do with your old phones?”

You know, the one before your brand new iPhone 24 with a 12" screen?

Some give it back to the brand to get a discount before purchasing a new one, others give it to their family or friends and sometimes they end up taking dust in the closet until they may be of any use (most of the time, it’s never).

Others try to sell it through different plateforms, online or in store but end up becoming a sales person when they don’t have the skills nor the patience to do it.

Then what can you do with it ? Sell it of course! But sell it wisely!

Yes, selling a product may be appealing, but that’s before you start going through the nightmare of putting it online.

Let’s take a picture, alright this one is cool! I shouldn’t put my toe in the picture next time, oh well… Alright, what description should I post, pfff such a pain… A price ? Well how much should I put to attract people ? Too low and people will message me but think it is stollen, too high and I will scare them away… Rah it’s 11.30pm already!!! I will do it tomorrow for sure! — Said Jeanne before putting her phone in the drawer and never look at it again

Feels familiar? Well their might be a solution !

A solution: Back Market’s reselling service

Back Market sells refurbished products through their marketplace. Its extensive offer gives the possibility to find differents products at a good price.

Thanks to their relations with many refurbishing factories the user can sell its phone or tablet online and get offers from factories. Back Market takes the most interesting one for the customer and helps him get his/her phone or tablet sold once and for all.

How does it work?

You go on the platform, you select the brand and the model, then you tell the state of your screen, the case if your phone works. Then you receive a price estimation for your work and if you accept it you receive a sending kit allowing you to send the product you are selling for free.

You need to be very honnest with how the phone looks, otherwise the factory will make a counter-offer inferior to the price previously showed.

The project

I got in contact with Back Market and they asked me to redesign their reselling service.

Current pain points:

  • Not user friendly
  • Lack of information
  • High rate of people not sending their phones/tablet at the end of the process
  • Not responsive

Let’s get right into the UX process !

The UX Process

Surveys and interviews

I started with a survey to get as much insights as I could from the people selling or not their old phones/tablets online. The goal was to get information on the process and the pain points.

Then I ran several interviews to confirm some of the statements I gathered from the survey. Some were saying that selling was easy, others struggled and allowed me to go deeper into the subject.

Some positive notes:

I don’t mind purchasing second hand products so I don’t mind selling it.

I usually look around on other websites to see what is the right price for the product I am selling and then I set a price.

Some negative notes:

I went to a coffee shop to sell my computer to a person who contacted me. When I arrived the person was with one of his big friend and the name was different. When he asked to see the computer he went straight for the serial number to check if it was not the one stolen from him the day before…

Not the best experience.

Testing of the current service

Since the service was already existant, I made the interviewees test the current service and asked them what they were feeling about the experience, the design and what was lacking in the process.

Where should I click?

Who am I talking to?

Why do you need my IBAN?

I don’t know what happens after I click here…

Ok, I did it, what happens next?

Those answers made me realize that information and transparency were the main issues. I kept that in mind throughout the whole redesign process.

Persona

Jeanne is a 28 year old woman working as a designer.

She needs to update her phone regularly for her work and wants to earn money from her old phones/tablets not to have too many things unused in her apartment.

She is not a seller and does not want to waste time selling it online because. Not knowing how these things work, she mostly sell her old phones at a low price to friends or family to get a little extra cash. However, she is interested to discover a service adapted to her life and needs.

Problem Statement

How might we improve and facilitate Jeanne’s experience thanks to a more guiding and transparent reselling website?

Solution

Several answers to that question:

  • The first one is information, explaining each part of the process, without obstructing the user experience.
  • The second one is a guiding, the service should make Jeanne feeling guided throughout the whole process.
  • Finally I needed to keep Back Market’s values and images throughout the whole process without compromising the experience.

The User Flow

Since it was an MVP I only focused on a simple flow in which Jeanne is selling a phone and does every single steps to receive a sending kit from Back Market.

Prototype & tests

I first drew some paper prototype to quickly test my solution.

Some interesting comments made me rethink some features but in the end, the overall feeling was really positive. Users understood what it was about and could get the full process in the end.

Most of the comments were about the wording and some about a choice of organization which could be easily altered.

Now that everything is set, let’s jump right into the UI design !

The UI Process

Style Tile

Back Market already having a strong image and values, I went directly on the style tile without creating a moodboard.

I chose a simple Montserrat with different weights for titles, texts and buttons, keeping it basic and readible without being too boring.

For the colors I sticked with the Backmarket Green, a dark grey for the contrast and a medium and light grey.

For the icons, I wanted the app to be friendly but efficient, that’s why I sticked to clean ones to increase the readability even on small screens.

Finally, I drew some illustrations for the onboarding to make the process clearer and funnier.

From MidFi to HiFi

Before starting the UI, I created wireframes to get a more accurate view of how the solution would look on the phone.

I took a long time on the wireframes, since the project needed so many screens, I wanted the base to be as clean as possible not to waste anytime when doing the real UI.

After a quick series of tests, I am ready to add some color into this project !

Starting with the interaction, I first designed the atoms of the app and then molecules.

The goal was to keep the same friendly feel while making it look contemporary.

Here is what it looks like.

And now what it looks like when you test it.

Next steps

The current service is not well known and it is hard to find it on the website. These steps will surely help the reselling service become more visible and used:

  • Add a clear selling button on the landing page
  • Add a clear selling button on the product page
  • Possibility to get a voucher when selling an old phone/tablet
  • Increase the number of products to sell (computers, mp3 player, TV…)

Conclusion

This project was the most interesting one yet. I have always been a fan of Back Market and how they are trying to make technology more accessible and always with an environmental consciousness.

Being able to work for them on one project made me realize how important it is to get the full scope on how business/user/design should work together to benefit everyone.

Working on an existing service and redesigning it gave me the possibility to get the real feel of a UI/UX designer. Rethinking it and refining it iterate it based on what the users feel.

Jacques Trouillet

Written by

UI/UX Designer @ BeMyEye

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