Conscious Cashmere eCommerce: A Redesign Challenge to Drive a Customer’s First Purchase
TL;DR: I tackled a challenge of helping first time customers feel confident about purchasing a cashmere product. Tools used: user persona, design persona, user scenario/JTBD, whiteboard sketches, wireframes, and UI design.
Roles: Product and brand strategist, UX/UI designer, copywriter
Challenge: Help a Good Product Be Purchased for the First Time by a New Customer
The founder of a conscious cashmere company shared how his product is a higher quality, luxury item at a price that’s fair and lower than its lesser quality competitors.The founder believes they need a more compelling and consistent brand and content to educate consumers. The CMO reiterated the founder’s view and also emphasized not making price the differentiator.
Both of them shared some impressive stats:
- 60% of shoppers return to buy from the company
- the company sees only 4% of their products returned
- the CAC is only $50 and customers spend about $600/year
Another challenge is communicating about cashmere products that may not be obviously “seasonally agnostic.” Aside from selling and promoting baby and home goods in the spring and summer, how can a standard and recognizable vocabulary exist for different weights of materials to categorize products for more uses.
Problem: Communicating Product Value and Usage to Inspire Confidence in the First Purchase
The company seems to have a solid product on their hands with customers coming back for more. The company can improve by communicating the value of the product and how it fits into a customer’s lifestyle (particularly during seasons where cashmere may not be top of mind). Giving first-time customers confidence in choosing the company and the right product will feed the company’s growth. In addition, several parts of the site are broken which can destroy a user's trust (though that won't be the focus of the project).
User Persona: A Provisional Persona Based on Competitor Research
My stakeholder conversations didn’t reveal much information about the customer. The CMO confirmed they were expecting a branding agency would help them learn this.
Knowing the user is essential to approaching a problem and designing potential solutions. To start, I created a provisional persona based on researching the company’s competitors’ and the context of that user.
Design Persona: Defining the Product’s Personality to Emotionally Connect with Users
Creating an emotional connection with a product can pay dividends. For example, a credit card for millennials was introduced to inspire emotional connection saw its use go up 70% and new accounts rise 40%.
How does one systematically imbue a product and its touchpoints with personality to evoke emotion? Aaron Walter, the author of Designing for Emotion recommends a tool he used while heading up UX at MailChimp: the Design Persona. The tool’s goal is to flesh out the design’s personality and how it’s manifested through the visuals, copy, and interaction. It also helps a team create unified and consistent designs.
User Scenario and the Job to Be Done
Nadia is reading PureWow (a blog) on her phone during her lunch break. She reads about Naadam, its mission, and the value of their cashmere.
She taps a link that takes her to the women’s collections page. Here she’s able to learn even more about Naadam and decides to check out a travel wrap on the page. She wouldn’t have thought about cashmere since it’s June but it’s thrilled to learn of the travel wrap since it’ll be perfect on the plane for her upcoming trip to Costa Rica. She browses the product description, decides on a color, chooses one wrap and heads to a seamless checkout and payment process.
The good feelings about the process extends to her email confirmation that allows her to know when to expect the wrap well before her trip. When she unboxes the product later on, she’s thrilled by the personal note and attention to detail in the packaging. She decides to post a photo of the experience to Instagram and will definitely tell her friends about her new favorite accessory.
Ultimately, the job Nadia is hiring Naadam to do is to make her feel better about herself and the purchases that make up her lifestyle.
Developing the Requirements and Sketches
To develop a vocabulary and system distinguishing different cashmere blends, Uniqlo provides useful inspiration. Uniqlo’s success as a company comes down to its focus on fabrics and textiles over diversity in fashion styles. Even within Uniqlo’s HEATTECH line, there are three different product variations. Thinking through this and the user scenario inspired the requirements and select UI sketches.
Designing the Product Vocabulary and Screens
Based on requirements and sketches that came out of reviewing the user scenario and competition, I developed the following wireframes and designs of two key screens most relevant to the challenge.
This is the women’s cashmere collections page, with a recommended distinction between the traditional cashmere one expects to wear in fall and winter (“Pure Cashmere”) and a blended cashmere line to live in during the spring and summer months (“Cool Comfort™).
This is the PDP (Product Description Page) that further educates customers through its usage inspiration imagery and its copy. There are few distractions on the screen to encourage adding items to the shopping cart and then purchases (conversion!). Note I’ve excluded the footer in all screens for now.
I’ve taken the first pass based on what I’ve been able to learn about the users, but the next step would be to get the existing designs and these proposed designs in front of actual users.