Wish marketplace

A new selling experience to connect with customers (2020)

Wish marketplace

A new selling experience to connect with customers (2020)

9 months before Wish's bell-ringing moment at Nasdaq, I had a unique opportunity to lead the redesign of Wish marketplace, a web-based merchant dashboard that empowers 500,000 Wish merchants worldwide to grow their online business. Additionally, this redesign helped 40,000 brick and mortar store owners across U.S and Europe bring their local business online during the global pandemic.

9 months before Wish's bell-ringing moment at Nasdaq, I had a unique opportunity to lead the redesign of Wish marketplace, a web-based merchant dashboard that empowers 500,000 Wish merchants worldwide to grow their online business. Additionally, this redesign helped 40,000 brick and mortar store owners across U.S and Europe bring their local business online during the global pandemic.

Slide 05_illustration

My role

Lead product designer

Team

Product design: Jan Sundar, Kathryn Chen, Emily Liu

Content strategy: Ruika Lin

Product management: Jessie Han, Samantha Speers

Engineering: Tina Liang, Sola Ogunsakin, Lucas Liepert

QA: Ahmad Adel

Business development: Sarah Luo, Pinhsi Liu

Duration

March - July, 2021

(Launched & live)

Platform

Web

Designed for

This redesign of Marketplace is to connect prospective & existing Wish merchants with shoppers, and facilitate transactions worldwide.

Designed for_02

Business challenges

Not a diverse merchant base

Up to 2019, 93% of Wish's merchants are from China, 4% are from the United States, and 3% are from European countries. 

In January, 2020, Wish faced critical supply shortage. At first, manufacturers based in mainland, China paused production lines due to city lockdowns. Soon, international shipping services like air freight and ocean shipping were drastically reduced due to border protection policies. Wish's strongest supply in low-priced, imported goods became vastly unavailable. Hundreds of products went out of stock everyday without any foreseeable signal to become available again.

Diversification_02
Site traffic_02

Integration-based ecosystem

Wish marketplace has a unique nature to operate and grow with very little human interaction between merchants and the service. Most of Wish's merchants, lean on business development representatives for know-hows, and use API integrations to publish their products and fulfill orders.

It takes about 3 months for new merchants to fully onboard, and another 1-2 months to reach the first sale. This timeline works for wholesale merchants as their business is not dependent on Wish alone. However, it is daunting for small and medium businesses to take the same bet.

Not for small businesses

During COVID-19 lockdowns, mom & pop store owners struggled with reduced foot traffic to their physical stores and needed a digital storefront to stay connected with their customers immediately.

Many of them, have little experience running online stores to put high-demand, locally-sourced products online. Their business are not as resilient as top market players, but they hold local communities together. It was an untapped opportunity for Wish to support local businesses in difficult times and give back to the community.

Local stores

Design challenges

Chaotic information architecture

As soon as merchants land on the existing dashboard, a place they visit daily, they face a plethora of information in a flat surface without defined hierarchy. Tasks, platform announcements, and performance metrics compete for attention on the same level. There is no defined path for merchants to manage their store efficiently.

Slider 09_dashboard
Difficult navigation to get critical things done

Difficult navigation

To manage products, view product performance and create advertising campaigns, sellers need to navigate through fragmented menu options to make informed business decisions.

To search and find product insights from more than 200 web pages in the navigation menu is impossible to repeat daily.

To manage products, view product performance and create advertising campaigns, sellers need to navigate through fragmented menu options to make informed business decisions.

To search and find product insights from more than 200 web pages in the navigation menu is impossible to repeat daily.

Lack of guidance to facilitate a transaction

An online order is not successful without timely shipping and delivery. However, managing fulfillment is challenging for merchants who transitioned from store-based retail business. The existing orders page provides little guidance on fulfillment and shipping, let alone suggestions on partnering with right shipping carriers. The knowledge gap in logistic operations delays packages to arrive at shoppers' doors, and puts beginner merchants in great churns.

Slider 08_CN experience

What does a merchant want from an online store?

To gain a ground understanding and create alignment with cross-functional partners, I formed a small research committee (designers, PMs, data scientists & business representatives) to conduct quantitative user interviews with merchants from established and growing selling platforms.

We asked about why are they motivated to sell on one platform than the other, what they value from an online store, and first-handedly observed how they use a selling dashboard on a regular day.

 

UXR (1)
Slide 13_research plan
UXR highlights

Problem statement

Walter, store owner

I am a local business owner. I am trying to curate new products for my store and grow customer base outside of my local area. But it's hard to open an online store, because there's not enough guidance to get started, no defined path to follow, and information is scattered and cluttered. I feel lost and frustrated...😕

Persona in store

How can we make the selling experience achievable, exciting, and accommodating to a wide range of skills and knowledge?

Illustration_small

New experiences. Easy and quick to sign up. 

Challenge 1

Currently, it takes about 1.3 hours for a new user to create a merchant account on Wish. The time spreads across 3 major steps, and the last step "Tell us about your store" is extremely difficult to complete (completion rate: 19%).

1.3 hours

Design approach

My approach was to reduce unnecessary steps that cause highest churns for new users, while keeping invalid new accounts manageable (e.g. prevent malicious signups from taking advantage of new user incentives).

In work with business development team on the "Tell us about your store"survey, I learned that this survey is used for merchant account grouping, and has no practical impact on a merchant's account experience. Therefore, I suggested to remove this survey completely.

Design outcome

With the survey removed, the sign up experience takes only two steps, and the average time reduces significantly from more than an hour to about half an hour.

Sign up_01

First step

Signup_02

Second step

Challenge 2

In my past research visits to local stores, merchants spend their daily hustling between all kinds of errands. half an hour is long. So I looked deeper. 

With help from data science team, I found that to create a seller account, it takes 5 attempts for a user to create a valid password to move on to the next step. However, the definition of a valid password is a determined value that doesn't hold tremendous value. The criteria of password strength based on combined numbers and symbols may be slightly hard for a computer to hack, and yet appears much hard for a human to get through.

Alternatively, an account security can be achieved by many other ways, including two-factor authentication, one-time passwords, and linked accounts.

Password (1)

Design approach

I removed the criteria strings that block sellers from getting their password validated. In the onboarding phase, I introduced the two-factor authentication experience & login devices to enhance their account security.

Design outcome

With the redesigned password experience, the signup time reduces again to 10 minutes.

Password improvement (1)

One dashboard. Boundless possibilities.

Onboarding_banner

Challenge 1

Speed up onboarding

The first steps to get a store up running is a great challenge. With a new Wish store, only 61.4% of merchants managed to complete their onboarding. Amongst many of their tasks, the most difficult task is to "Help us identify your store" (completion: 26.49%), a validation process to identify their business operations.

Onboarding
9. Validation issue

Help us identify your store

Design approach

Challenging the existing validation

In sellers' existing experience, their first sale is blocked by completing this task, which yields quite an effort to find business license and registration documents, get scanned copies, and upload them to the system for an approval to begin selling.

To turn their frustration around, I worked with merchant compliance and risks teams to evaluate the capped revenue a merchant should abide by. In the U.S, the revenue amount is $1,000. In Europe, particularly within European Economic Area, this revenue amount is €500. Merchants from Belgium, France, and Germany (the most valued merchants on Wish) will benefit from postponed validation directly. 

Validation XP_02

Postpone validation

In the new experience, I postponed the seller validation task further down the onboarding timeline until merchants get sales. Between their first sale and the capped sales limit, I introduced a separate task experience to ease validation into their attention, and make it more accomplishable along prospective sales with their store.

Validation_01_V2

Validation task after first sale

Validation_02

Validation task value proposition

Design outcome

After the launch of this new experience, 85% merchants who signed up on Wish successfully onboarded within their first two weeks. On an average, it takes 0.94 day for them to have the first product uploaded, which appears to be 40% faster than the existing seller experience.

By removing the validation task from onboarding, merchants can focus on achieving critical tasks, such as adding products, verifying email address, enabling two-factor authentication, setting up payments and shipping.

Design outcome
Onboarding task_v4

Challenge 2

Navigating Dashboard

A successful merchant, has a full navigation menu by outperforming on sales, and gaining access to new programs and merchant features. Today, merchants interact with a three-tiered navigation menu that encompasses branding, global settings, pages, and account settings. To visit the same menu from a web browser to a mobile browser, the navigation menu becomes not accessible.

Design approach

I thought about two directions:

Horizontal menu: Delegate the limited horizontal space for most visited menu options.

Vertical menu: Display as many pages as possible and group relevant menu options.

IA_option 01

Horizontal menu

IA_option 02

Vertical menu

Horizontal menu explorations

Option 1

On the top tier, sellers have access to global actions, including help, language, notifications, and account settings. On the lower tier, merchants have a glance of most-visited menu options, and can expand to view nested sub-pages.

2. Horizontal_01

Default

2. Horizontal_03

Hover

Option 2

To reduce the menu space further, I also thought about distributing menu options to the corners of the browser. This way merchants have more focal screen space to interact with the page content.

2. Horizontal_02

Default

2. Horizontal_04

Hover

Constraints

Unfortunately, leveraging the horizontal space for navigation is not realistic for hosting large volumes of web pages.

With 200+ existing pages and more new pages on the way to land on Dashboard, the horizontal space will run out in no time. Needless to say, different teams would need to compete against each other to reserve a winner spot on the navigation menu.

Page volume

Vertical menu explorations

I turned my attention to explore a vertical menu that holds large no. of pages while remains simple to navigate.

5. Vertical_01

Option 1

Group global settings with account settings on the top.

5. Vertical_02

Option 2

Position global settings on the top, and account settings at lower left corner.

5. Vertical_03

Option 3

Leverage well recognized icons to replace text call-outs on global and account settings.

Design outcome

Option 2 received strong preferences from the team. It creates dedication spaces that are distanced enough from each other to keep store-based and account-based actions apart. It is visually flexible, striking a fine balance between page content and low-attention top right space.

6.Team’s choice_01
6.Team’s choice_02

In the final touch, the navigation menu expands and collapses. By default, it displays the most visited menu pages. One click away, merchants have access to nested sub-pages. Throughout this experience, they remain full control to tuck the complexity away.

Side menu_v2

Challenge 3

Elevate information architecture & content design

In the existing first-time experience, the dashboard for new merchants lacks hierarchy. On a long scroll, merchants have to process information about merchant policies, Wish App store, currency settings, and more. Uploading products and creating quality listings that equip a store with a competitive edge is blended into the chaos.

Design approach

I collected all the content pieces, and briefly separated actionable information as "Things to do" from informative content as "Education". On a 30-day timeline, I mapped out what eventful days look like for a merchant, and reviewed this early proposal with PMs, to narrow down the role that each content piece plays in a merchant's lifecycle.

Onboarding Merchant Journey_v2

30-day merchant journey

IA_v3

Information architecture (IA)

Content themes_v2

Content themes

Elevate content design

In work with content designer, I made sure the content experience aligns closely with the new merchant journey, so the content grows organically for any new building blocks introduced to the the dashboard. For example, with product-related content, merchants are able to learn about product uploads, prohibited product policies on their Day 1, and look into product advertising tools a few days after. When their blockbuster products receive sales potentials in new markets, merchants are invited to use advanced shipping programs.

Content delivery_v3

Delivered at the right moment

Insightful to read

Insightful to read

Each content card, is crafted to be short and sweet that focuses on specific themes. The tone and voice is adaptive to various use cases, playful in celebratory moments, and restrictive in legal guidances. Lastly, content cards are contained in a descending attention order on the dashboard, to help merchants stay on top of the essentials.

Tone and voice

Crafted voice and tone

Put content in the right place

Intuitive for discovery

Design outcome

The redesigned information architecture and web content influenced beyond the app experience. The new designs created a refreshing new look and feel for all merchant marketing emails, and introduced video tutorials for the first time, along with FAQ articles.

The redesigned information architecture and web content influenced beyond the app experience. The new designs created a refreshing new look and feel for all merchant marketing emails, and introduced video tutorials for the first time, along with FAQ articles.

Merchant onboarding emails

Marketing emails (Credits to Emily Liu)

Video tutorials (Credits to Kathryn Chen)

Project impact

Project impact

On the first launch date in July 2020, the new marketplace onboarded 18,381 merchants and this number grew daily. In August 2020, all 40,000 local store merchants gained access to this new experience. A few months later, all existing 500,000 Wish merchants began migrating to the new experience, and the legacy merchant dashboard was on the way out.

Wins
Before and after_v4
Products

Learnings

Solve problems together

This was a difficult project. 5 months to transform a marketplace completely from ground up took more than a creative mind alone. I was guided and supported by a team that took amazing care of each other. From ideating on a remote drawing board, to ideating designs to the finest detail, PMs and engineering partners were impassioned for every discussion to make the experience better.

Team

Share, share, share

It is natural to bypass sharing opportunities to refine every last bit of designs. However, in a rapid development cycle, you'll need extra eyes to catch stress cases that you haven't thought through, conversations to open up your perspective, and audit the work that's about to go out of the door. Sharing makes designs stronger.