Bukalapak is one of the biggest online marketplace in Indonesia. I joined the e-commerce company in 2016 as a UX Designer on Seller Growth team. Product variants project was one of the most challenging projects I worked on to help sellers grow their businesses and reduce return rate due to wrong purchase.
My team, the Seller Growth team, was responsible to help sellers from small to medium businesses to grow their sales. As a UX Designer on the team, I worked with a Product Manager, an Associate Product Manager, Front-end Engineers, Backend Engineers, a QA Engineer, and a Designer to deliver better experience for the sellers.
I did user research, facilitated brainstorming sessions, created user flows and wireframes, conducted user testings, and developed high-fidelity prototypes. I worked with my team and other teams across work-streams to design the product variants feature along the purchasing funnel from the sellers and buyers sides.
"How might we help small and medium businesses to reduce return rate by ensuring the order accuracy?"
There was a high volume in returns rate especially in apparel and clothing category. Our research found that most customers complained that the products they received were not accurate as shown on the product page. On the other side, the sellers mentioned that they received unclear order from the buyers, even though sellers tried to be as clear as possible writing the product description. High volume orders could also contribute to sellers mistakenly prepared the order.
The main problem was for clothing category, buyers had to tell the sellers by adding notes what exact order they would like to purchase. Sometimes buyers didn't understand if they had to do this because they might not aware of the add notes feature. From the sellers side, sometimes they might overlook the notes while they were preparing the order due to high volume orders.
There are two main objectives from the sellers and buyers side. The sellers should be able to clearly communicate about the product to the buyers, so that buyers could minimize order errors. Meanwhile for the buyers, they should be able to easily order accurate products.
I conducted some research to several customers segment to identify the root cause of the wrong purchase. I found that sellers relied heavily on the product description to communicate their product to the buyers.
I looked at our customer complaints and reviews to understand what were the issues the buyers had. I found that many customers had issues with overwhelming product description.
Sellers tried to be as detailed as possible to write all the information on product description. However, they sometimes still receive unclear orders. They also might overlook some orders details if they had too many orders.
Buyers sometimes were not aware if they had to specify the order. They also mentioned that the product description wasn't aligned with the images.
- Overwhelming product description could lead to wrong purchase.
- Buyers should be able to easily order the exact product that was described on the listing.
- Sellers should easily identify the order along the transaction process.
The solution should accommodate both sellers and buyers to ensure the order accuracy. Along the purchase flow, the sellers should enhance the quality of product listing details, so that buyers could easily identify the right product for them.
I differentiate the two touch-points for sellers and buyers. Since my team focused on the seller side, I collaborated with the Buyer - Product Listing team to design the product page on the customer-facing side.
To help sellers ensure the order accuracy, it began with the quality of product listing itself. Sellers should be able to input correct information easily without having to write everything on the product description.
Our team came up with the idea of adding product variations such as size, color, and textile for clothing. The product variations would depend on the category that the sellers chose.
We realized that the product variations created another problem which was treating each variant as a product. Each variant could have different image, price, stock, and product number. This could be overwhelming for the users, so I had to be careful to make sure it wasn't as overwhelming.
There were many iterations to provide the most easy way to help sellers promote the quality of the product listings. I did many user testings to find out how sellers perceive it and increase their awareness of uploading the variations of the product.
Although the main focus was on the website (desktop) since majority of sellers upload their product listings on desktop, we still had to accommodate the mobile version. On mobile, the design was different from desktop, I put the variants feature after all the necessary information because it was optional.
To help buyers reduce the order errors, we added the product variants feature on the product page. Instead of listings the variations on the product description, we added the variants functionality to help buyers choose the right product they wanted to purchase.
I did some iterations to showing the best practice for buyers to select the exact product. I explore different UI elements such as using selections (radio button behavior) and dropdown components. Due to technical constraints, buyers could only select one variant value. Also, since the product page was the most important page on e-commerce, I collaborated with the Buyer - Product Listing team. We came up with the dropdown solutions to reduce the cognitive load on the above-the-fold page section on the product page.
On mobile, the design was different. I chose selections instead of dropdown because we had to minimize the space on the screen. To reduct the number of click, the variant selection on the other layer had to be shown upfront to the users.
Since the product variant touched upon other touch points in the purchase flow, I had to make sure it was implemented on other transaction pages to enhance buyers and sellers confidence such as on the Shopping Cart, Payment Page, and Transaction Details. The information should allow both sellers and buyers aware of their orders but not too overwhelming.
From the seller's side, the design should align with the Seller Growth KPIs:
- Product upload completion time
- The number of similar product listings
- The quality of product listings
By implementing the Product Variants feature our team was able to reduce cluttered product listings for similar products in apparel and clothing. Even though the product upload completion time was slightly higher but the quality of the product listings, considering the product description and pictures, was increased. We also saw the number of customers complaints was reduced which led to lower return rate.
- Given a vague problem to solve, I learned that it was worth to speak with many customers segments from buyers, sellers, as well as Customer Service team to understand where and what was the core problem.
- Since the feature touched upon different touch points along the purchase flow, I had to make sure that I paid attention to all the details. I had to work closely with different teams across work-streams to make sure that the solutions were implemented across purchasing flow.
- This project had high complexity from the engineering perspective. I learned that the proposed solutions should bridge the gap between users' needs, business goals, and technical constraints which led to knowing the level of effort and impact of the product.
Product variant might be the first step to help reduce return rate. There are a lot of opportunity to help sellers improve their quality of product listings such as improving size chart and image quality. It might also worth to explore the area of emerging technology to help buyers get a sense of the product before they purchase it.