Product Design Insights from Flipkart’s Head of Design

On 25th November, HelloMeets organized a meetup with Supriyo Roy, Design Manager at Flipkart. Supriyo played an integral role in the evolution of Flipkart’s consumer shopping experience. In this design meetup, he took us through a journey from understanding the design process that goes into building a successful user journey for E-commerce platforms to learning design hacks to retain customer interest while shopping.

He shared how Flipkart has been building “unique shopping experiences” online for each of their offline counterparts. This is very crucial, especially in India where the population is so diverse in terms of geographic, demographic and socio-economic aspects.

Key points Supriyo discussed during the session:

  1. Know your customers and understand their needs
  2. Doing the Field Work
  3. Recognizing the Core UX Pillars and Core UI Pillars to retain users interest in their product
  4. Test, Validate and Iterate
  5. App Experiences

Know your customers and understand their needs

Research for “User Base” presented by Supriyo

Supriyo stressed the importance of viewing the customers, not as a generic faceless “user base”, but rather fostering personal relationships with communities. Flipkart found out that a majority of its prospective customers resides in non-metro cities (with a population less than 5 million) with a plethora of cultural and societal nuances which they had to cater to.

Take a look at the above image. It gives an idea about how Flipkart team went deeper in doing the research for their “user base”.

Photo by safal karki on Unsplash

Understand your Customers needs

Replicating the offline shopping experience into online is a challenge. There is an absence of the space, an absence of an assistant that you get in a shop or mart which adds up to a really good experience. So, understanding the needs of your customers is very important to give them the same shopping experience online.

Flipkart team researched customer needs for following aspects:

  1. Phone and Online
    A phone is an integral part of users life. Storage is limited and precious in the phone so not just any app will find space unless it adds meaningful value to people lives. That is where frequency and value of usage come in. Any action of the user on the app should not cause the phone to hang or over-heat or they will avoid it.
  2. Interactions
    Community plays an important role. Word of mouth is something that is important. People still feel it is risky to pay online mostly because one of their acquaintance had a bad experience. Supriyo added, When it comes to money, ‘certainty’ safeguards time, respect in community and investment”
  3. Tryst with English
    Our phone itself comes in English as built-in language, people are now familiar enough with it to understand how to use basic features but this is not true for Apps. Every app is installed separately, so if complicated jargons or vocabulary is used, people will give up on it. Preference should be simple and easy to understand words. In terms of language, it is important to play safely in apps.
  4. Online Shopping
    Discover:
    Users enjoy discovering and exploring what is new in the market. 
    Proof, Certainty, and Trust: Customers desire proof and certainty of security of exchange, return and refund when it comes to online shopping. Offline Shopping offers proof, certainty, and trust but is too exhausting and time-consuming. On the other hand, online shopping saves time but has uncertainty related to the product.

Doing the Field Work

Flipkart design team visited real shops, both small and equipped ones and tried to understand how different categories of products are bought.

  1. Mobile
    Mobile and other electronic appliances are recurring purchases in one or two years. So customers are extra cautious and they have these questions: Is Processor Good? Does the camera take good pictures? How long Battery lasts? How it is better in comparison to another model?
  2. Fashion
    Fashion is all about updating personal self and being trendy. So queries here are like: Will it fit well? Is material good? Will colors wash away?
  3. Furniture
    Furniture has a longer buying cycle and customers buy it visualizing that how it would look in their room or home. So in furniture shopping, personalized communication plays a good role, where shopkeeper builds an interpersonal relationship by giving a guarantee, discounts, delivery and installation perks.
  4. Grocery
    Grocery requires a very different research activity because Grocery shopping is something even customers are uncertain about. Navigation is one problem in online Grocery shopping that is very beautifully solved in marts with the long distribution of different grocery products arranged in an organized manner with leading to a very simple checkout process.
With the above points Supriyo made it clear that “Unique Needs Demand Unique Experiences”

Recognizing the Core UX Pillars & Core UI Pillars to retain the user’s interest in their product

These product categories demand unique experiences. You cannot create a product page and think it can cater to multiple needs. That brings the need to have core UX Pillars.

Core UX Pillars:

  • Guide
    To guide users on how to make their first purchase seamlessly.
Guide using Visual Cues in Search
  • Advice
    To play the role of a knowledgeable friend who advises optimal products pertaining to customers tastes and preferences.
Advice Examples by using Conversational Discovery and Social Proofing
  • Minimize
    To minimize effort in comprehending and retrieving information during the search, navigation or product purchase decision making phase.
Minimize user effort using Deep Personalisations

UX Pillars are then translated into following UI pillars :

Core UI Pillars:

  • Relevance: Users should feel connected while they use the interface.
  • Value Proposition: Users should feel convinced and feel clear about the value proposed through the experience.
  • Usability: Users should not face ambiguity in the experience, they should intuitively understand what to do next.
  • Action: Action elements should be rightly positioned and should be able to properly guide users to take action

Test, Validate and Iterate

Supriyo stressed that after designing UI it is important to test designs after and before it is launched. This stretches the product launch cycle but this is the right way to do it.

App Experiences

Unique needs demand unique experiences. So Flipkart did good research for different needs like mobiles, fashion, furniture, and grocery and came up with different app experience for each of them.

Take a look at how they improved app experience for their users for different shopping categories :

Mobiles

App Experiences for Mobile Category

Fashion

App Experiences for Fashion Category

Grocery

App Experiences for Grocery Category

Furniture

App Experiences for Furniture Category

The event ended very well with good actionable takeaways. To attend such meetups with me, you can subscribe to www.hellomeets.com.

Thank you, Sahiba Sethi, Ayushi Mohindra and Supriyo Roy for guiding me with this blog.