In the recent years, more shoppers purchase items ‘online’ because the products are cheaper, more varieties are available on web stores compared to retail stores and it is more convenient. However, I realise that the buying process is easy but the refunding process is a hassle to shoppers. Majority of the shoppers do not want to refund their products because of the effort needed, the cost involved and also not knowing how to refund items they regret buying.
Thus, I had an idea to create an app that will help shoppers to refund their purchase items.
I need to keep in mind that I am designing this app for users and not solely for myself. Before I start imagining the concept of my upcoming app. I will need to start with some researching..
I needed to have a plan before I get started on my research as ‘shopping’ is a vague topic.
First, I wrote down hypothesis (as stated below) and note to self — do not be biased when I do my user research
“I go to retail stores to try the item and purchase them online as it is cheaper”
“I do not refund items as it can be very costly”
“I shop online because I can do it at the comfort of my own home”
“I only refund items if the item is expensive”
Again, I told myself that I cannot be biased as this will affect my research results. I used my hypothesis as a guide to prepare a list of questions to conduct user interviews with candidates.
Describe your typical shopping experience
(If users talked about shopping online..) Why do you prefer shopping online?
Could you share a negative shopping experience you had
Did you have negative (online) shopping experience
(I will keep in mind to keep my questions general and not narrow down the topics so my users can talk about anything they think of)
i will use linking questions to direct them to asking questions like..
What made you refund your items?
If they have not refunded items before or do not have the practice…
I will follow up with asking more specific questions like
What do you do with items that are not suitable?
Will you refund items if it was an easy process?
What is your motivation to shop?
With my prepared questions, I am ready to conduct my user interview. I did not want my app to be solely for the ladies and so I felt that it is very important to get the input from the men too.
I was pretty surprise to find out that my male users are avid shoppers too and that they shop on regular basis for technology gadget and clothing. They do face similar problems as me and the other female user I interviewed.
With the information i gathered from my interview(s), I narrowed down specific questions to conduct a phone interview with a few more users.
Other questions I asked:
What do you do with items that you regret buying?
Why don’t you refund them?
With all the information provided by my users, it was time to compile the information and analyse before I can proceed further..
Analysing my research
I compiled the information i had and wrote it on post-its and group-ed the information according to similar response (as shown below)
Initially, I had group-ed my information into 5 groups based on the responses
After I compiled and analyse the information I obtained from the user interview(s) — I am ready to compare the key points that I have extracted from my interview with my hypothesis.
The common points:
- “I do not refund items as it is not worth the effort”
- “Despite the negative experience I have had with online shopping, I still will shop online because it is cheaper and more convenient”
- “I shop at retail stores if I need to use the item urgently”
- “I will not mind paying a small fee if the refund process is easy as I will get most of my shopping funds back instead of not using (or giving away) the item(s)”
Key Pain Points
“I end up buying items that I regret because of additional discount given.”
“I will give away purchase items that are not suitable to family and/or friends”
“It is a hassle to refund purchase item(s)”
These are the pain points that I have derived from my research. After writing these points down and having a closer look, I realise that promotional strategies encourage users to spend more and by spending more — they make impulse purchases where they regret their purchases.
However, they usually give their family or friends items that are not suitable instead of refunding the items because it is troublesome. However, if they do not have anyone to give the item(s) to.. they will just put the item(s) aside till they find a need for it and/or eventually donate the items.
“I do not refund my items as it is a hassle to do so”
The app I create should focus on solving the problem most users face and find a solution to provide an easy way for users to refund their purchased items.
It is very important to take in consideration the mindset of my users. Thus, a key point I must take note of when I design my app is that it must be easy to use.
The reason — users are having a difficult time to refund items as that they rather waste the item.
Thus, my user journey has to be straight forward and simple.
I wanted my user journey to be seamless and simple for the users as the typical refunding process is a very tedious and painful process. The first step was to develop a user journey that speaks directly to the users.
The initial user journey comprises of a ‘Home Page’ where a description of the app will be written to introduce the benefits of the app to users. However, I have revised the user journey to omit the ‘Home page’ and go straight to the initial ‘Action’ page as I feel that partnering merchants could do the introduction of my app to direct users to use my app.
For now, I am going to focus on solving my problem — it is a hassle to refund items.
The mindset I am going to have throughout my entire process is to ‘keep it simple’ as in design an app that meets the purpose in the easiest way that my users will use the app.
After I design my user journey, i started sketching my wireframes and trying out different layout styles and templates.
Here are some examples…
I have designed my wireframes in a way that no instructions are needed to understand how to use the app — the layout is clean and straight forward.
The instructions are clear, the indicators are distinct and it is a 3-step process to find how how easy it is to use my app to refund their products.
One point to note: i purposely chose to place the ‘Log In/Sign up’ frame after users have filled up the key information as I do not want the users to be turn off by the registration process. I want my users to have a feel of how easy it is to refund their items before taking the extra step to sign up for an account (one-time only).
I have been asked questions like “what if I am a registered user — does it mean i have to key in my information repeatedly because I can only sign in after including my refund information?”
My answer will be that the information will be saved in your app and I assume users refund items will be different at each refund transaction. However, there will be given a choice whether to sign in or continue as a guest in the next update of my app — after i have made further development and testing on the userability of the app. For now, i am focusing on tackling the issue of finding an easy way for users to refund items.
I have since used invision to create a prototype for my app — focus only on ‘an easy way to refund items’ via my app
I will be looking at
- producing higher fidelity wireframes.
- doing usability testings
- doing more detailed research on merchants that will be good potential partners for my app — to get merchants on board so that I will be able to do more accurate testings with users in order for me to revise and design features that users will resonate with. In addition, this could be a free service provided and most users will be more inclined to respond to freebies.