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2019 LazGame - Design Games for Ecommerce
BACKGROUND
Lazada is one of the biggest ecommerce company in Southeast Asia. Since it’s been acquired by Alibaba Group, they have re-built their services and online experiences. I was the lead designer for campaign games starting from 2018 Double 11 event, and in 2019 the game project pivoted to a more ambitious project that the consumers can enter a game center within an e-commerce platform, to play online games and win rewards.

company
Lazada, Alibaba Group

MY ROLE
Design Lead, User Experience Designer, User Interface Designer

Timeframe
2018 Oct - 2019 Aug

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. All information in this case study is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of Lazada.
MY ROLE

I was the lead designer for Lazada Game Center, and I led the design of the portal and mini-games for 2 biggest campaigns of the year (Double 11 and Birthday Sales). I collaborated with another 3 designers and a team of outsource designers on 4 campaign games.

In addition, I worked alongside product manager and a team of developers and QA. There were 2 product managers left before product launch, I took the responsibility of the product owner and worked with business stakeholders and developers to deliver the game projects under intensive timeline.
GAMES FOR ECOMMERCE

In the past 10 years, Taobao, the biggest ecommerce platform in China, has gained a lot of experience to drive users' engagement and activeness and guide them to shop more. The Chinese users' behaviour have shifted and formed because of Taobao, and it's a different marketplace that eBay and Amazon cannot compete with local player.

After Alibaba acquired Lazada, there is an inevitable change, from technical support, design revamp, marketing strategies to product reshaping. A lot of lessons learned from Chinese market has been applied to Lazada. The idea of games, which have been used in Taobao for years, have also been transformed to Lazada. These games, have been used as the powerful elixir, to drive users to the app, motivate the users to come back daily for more rewards, and eventually redeem the vouchers and place the order in the last day.

But a healthy ecommerce ecosystem cannot run only by campaigns, it still needs to satisfy users' daily needs. In Southeast asia, the ecommerce scene is also a heated market, that Lazada needs to find its own strength and differentiator to survive. Game Center is a top down decision that the company can test and run in SEA.
THE CHALLENGE
Alibaba is a result-driven, action based company, especially in SEA market, a lot of product decisions have been executed quickly with the best effort to build its success. When we decided to launch game center in early February, right before Chinese New Year, we were also given a fixed launch date to deliver game center in 2 months for Lazada birthday, one of the biggest campaigns in early March.

I only had one designer to work with, under such a tight deadline and during Chinese New year I had such a hard time finding a creative agency to produce quality and creative designs for such a huge project, with so little time.

Besides that, We didn't have a clear goal of the game center within an ecommerce platform neither. The team receives a lot of critiques about why we want our uses to play games, in a shopping app. The product manager left the job halfway while we were still finalizing the concept of game center, leaving a lot of product details unclear. I had to wear my product hat and worked on designs at the same time, led the design directions, presenting work to business stakeholders, working with developers and QA to deliver the project.

Lazada Games diverge into 2 parts:

1. The campaign games, which are the games can only be played during campaigns and need to serve a specific sales metrics.
2. LazGame Portal, a daily games hub, that a user can play games within the app, with limited stamina and can earn coins to redeem for Lazada vouchers.
THE APPROACH
The business goals were clarified and aligned with stakeholders first. 

PRIMARY GOALS
- A part of shoppertainment strategy of the company, to provide the entertainment for the users to spend more time on Lazada, anytime, anywhere
- Guide users to redeem rewards and spend on shopping
- Motivate the users to share games with their friends, bring new users to the app

These goals defined the launch version of the game center. LazGame is a game center available for Lazada users to play free games within the mobile app at no cost, and they can win exclusive rewards to spend on shopping on the platform. 
INTRODUCE LAZGAME
Customers watched an animation when they entered the app during campaign the first time. They can enter LazGame at the end of the video. By utilizing the launch video, online marketing campaigns, phone push and private messages, we brought more traffic to LazGame and analyzed the traffic.
3 GAMES TO PLAY
When we launched the game center, we have included 3 games for the customers to play with. Those games are light-weight online games that the customers can immediately play for a few minutes and leave the game.
​​​​​​​WIN REWARDS
After collected enough cupcakes(then metaphor of the game currency), customers can exchange platform rewards and store rewards to spend on Lazada, we'd like to convert users' time and effort to shopping.
SHARE WITH FRIENDS
Customers have 5 hearts to start with, and they need to wait for the stamina to recover after time, or they can share with friends to regain one heart. We want to encourage the users to share with friends and attract more users back to Lazada.
THE DISCOVERY
When we first launched LazGame during Birthday Campaign, the result exceeded our expectations. Despite the high UV and high retention rate, the data also showed that game visitors are more engaged than the median active users.

***% HIGHER VOUCHER REDEMPTION RATE
**% HIGHER PRODUCT DETAIL PAGE REACH RATE
*% HIGHER INDIRECT PURCHASE RATE​​​​​​​

For confidentiality reasons I have omitted the actual values for these metrics.
REFLECTIONS
WHAT I LEARNED
Launching is only the beginning, after we launched LazGame for mid-year campaign in March, we closed LazGame temporarily and conducted post-mortem report.

Since we launched this project for a fixed date, the actual time left for everything was very limited, hence we didn’t have much time for research, usability testing and QA. Despite we exceeded business objectives, I still can see some critical features were missing, and the performance and reliability have been compromised. This situation had incurred all the time since we have limited resources working on so many campaigns, and each time the team has only 1-2 months time to deliver a project.

Still there are questions to be answered:
1. How can games be related on an ecommerce platform?
2. How can we convert user’s time and effort to values?
3. How can we encourage more users to share?
4. How can we keep the users and connect them with the rest of the users?

Future product and design features are all discussed and built on top of these questions forward.
2019 LazGame - Design Games for Ecommerce
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Xiao Rui Li

2019 LazGame - Design Games for Ecommerce

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Published: