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Carousell

Updated: Feb 19


Context

As part of my interview process, I undertook a design challenge sponsored by Carousell, where I was given 48 hours to complete a specific task. In the following, I'll detail my approach to this challenge and the valuable lessons I learned along the way.


 

The Brief

Carousell hosts a significant group of power sellers who use the platform as a key channel for their profit-oriented sales, whether as a side hustle or a full-time business. These sellers actively engage with Carousell's marketplace, often utilising paid tools such as Bumps, Spotlights, and Profile Promotion to enhance their visibility and boost sales. So…

How might we improve their experience selling on our platform?


 

Deconstructing the Problem

Whenever I tackle a new problem, I engage in what I like to call a "brain-dumping session." This process involves laying out my thoughts and questions about the issue at hand. I start by considering:

  1. What I already understand about the problem space.

  2. The assumptions I'm making.

  3. The knowledge gaps that need to be filled through user research.

There's no one correct way to conduct this session. I usually head over to my MIRO board and begin jotting down everything that comes to mind.

For the sake of clarity and ✨readability✨, the version I'm sharing here is much neater than my typical, more chaotic brainstorming process. But in reality, it's usually not this organized – and that's perfectly fine.


During this process, I also considered the different aspects that lead to a positive selling experience. Importantly, I made sure to focus on understanding these factors without prematurely moving towards solution development.


 

Planning for the User Interviews

Setting the Interview Context

The purpose of the interview is to gain a deeper understanding of the current selling experiences and challenges faced by power sellers.

During the interview, the focus will be on discovering:

  1. How sellers utilize the platform in their sales processes.

  2. The specific challenges and difficulties they encounter.

  3. The elements that contribute to a positive and successful selling experience for them.


Selecting the Candidates

When establishing criteria for selecting interview participants, my goals were:

  1. To identify candidates who match the power seller profile.

  2. To choose active individuals, regular sellers on Carousell.

  3. To deliberately avoid those in product or design roles to prevent any bias.

However, finding power sellers was more difficult than anticipated, as they were not prevalent in my social circles. This resulted in only being able to recruit one power seller, alongside five regular sellers.

Recognising the potential limitations, I decided to move forward with these interviews to at least capture a broad view of the selling experience on Carousell. I'm aware that this approach might introduce some bias and stray from the initial research scope. However, time wasn't really on my side.

Even though the regular sellers don't perfectly fit the intended profile, I'm confident that their feedback will still offer valuable insights and help fill gaps in my understanding.


Interview Questions

  1. How frequently do you sell on Carousell?

  2. Could you describe the regular process you go through when selling on Carousell, and mention if there are any difficulties you face at any stage?

  3. Would you be able to provide an instance where you had a particularly positive experience while selling on Carousell?

  4. Conversely, could you share an instance of a negative selling experience you've had on the platform?

  5. In your role as a seller, what is the most important to you?

  6. What are the key elements that define a satisfactory selling experience for you?

  7. Do you know of and have you used the bump and spotlight features on Carousell? If so, why? If not, why not?

  8. What are your thoughts on the review system implemented on Carousell?

  9. How do you feel about the process of communicating with buyers through Carousell's chat feature?

  10. Is there anything additional you'd like to discuss or point out regarding your selling experience on Carousell?


 

Results from the Interview

Once I organised the findings into relevant clusters, I then connected these findings back to the initial objectives of my research.


What is their definition of a positive selling experience?

Four out of six participants indicated that quick and successful transactions are key to a good selling experience. This includes scenarios like immediate agreement and payment from the buyer or the item being sold soon after listing.


What might help them achieve quick and successful sales?

Based on the interviews, sellers primarily focus on two aspects for increasing sales: enhancing the visibility of their listings and accumulating positive reviews. They believe these elements are crucial for boosting sales rates.

Regarding their hesitation to pay for features like bump and spotlight, which are designed to increase exposure, their reasons are as follows:

  1. Three participants expressed a desire to minimize financial loss, especially since they are selling items at a lower price than the original cost.

  2. Two participants, who are not selling as their primary occupation, didn't want to invest in these features because their main income isn't dependent on these sales. This mindset might be more representative of regular sellers rather than power sellers.

  3. One participant was unable to ascertain the effectiveness of the bump and spotlight feature during a free trial, as they didn't notice a significant difference in the speed of their item selling.


What constitutes an unfavourable or unpleasant experience?

4 participants highlighted issues with buyers not responding. This suggests that enhancing buyer engagement and response times might lead to a better selling experience for sellers.

As indicated in the above image, I've identified potential areas for enhancing the selling experience based on these insights.

However, I've recognised a limitation: the feedback gathered primarily reflects the general selling experience, not specifically that of power sellers, due to the profiles of the users I interviewed.


 

Idea Explorations

Idea 1: Enhancing Buyer Responsiveness

Strategy

Implement a system where buyers are notified via both notifications and emails if they become inactive in chat conversations.

Objective

The aim is to decrease instances of shopping abandonment by reminding buyers of their ongoing interactions or transactions.

Potential Risk

There is a possibility that buyers might perceive these reminders as intrusive or annoying, leading them to block or ignore notifications and emails from Carousell.


Idea 2: Boosting Listing Visibility and Exposure

Strategy

Revise the layout of the explore page to foster greater exploration and enhance the visibility of sellers' listings.

Objective

To increase exposure for sellers' items on the explore page, ultimately aiming to improve sales rates.

Potential Risk

  • This approach could lead to a perception of a 'pay-to-win' environment, especially if not carefully implemented. Regular sellers might feel discouraged or overlooked.

  • There's a risk that regular sellers might perceive this change as a neglect of their interests, favouring more prominent sellers.

  • The success of this strategy is contingent on buyer behaviour; some buyers might prefer using the search function over exploring, which could limit the effectiveness of the new layout.


Idea 3: Encouraging Buyer Reviews Post-Purchase

Strategy

Introduce additional reminders prompting buyers to leave a review after completing a purchase.

Objective

To enable sellers to garner more reviews, thereby enhancing their credibility and potentially increasing their sales.

Potential Risk

  • Frequent reminders might be perceived as bothersome by buyers, leading to irritation or negative sentiment towards the platform.

  • The effectiveness of this approach in directly boosting sales is uncertain; while more reviews can enhance credibility, they may not always translate into increased sales.


Idea 4: Building Buyer Confidence in Sellers

Strategy

Segment the buying process into distinct phases and enable buyers to share their experiences with the seller at each phase.

Objective

This approach aims to create greater transparency throughout the buying process with a seller. It could help sellers build credibility, potentially leading to more sales, and provide other buyers with deeper insights and confidence in the seller.

Potential Risk

  • The process of giving reviews at multiple stages could be seen as cumbersome or inconvenient, potentially leading to a negative user experience for buyers.

  • This increased demand for buyers' time and effort to provide feedback might discourage them from completing the review process.


 

Selected & Proposed Idea

Having considered the advantages and disadvantages, my choice is to proceed with Idea 2

Revise the layout of the explore page to foster greater exploration and enhance the visibility of sellers' listings

This decision is based on the potential of enhancing listing visibility and exposure to:

  • Motivate buyers to browse more listings on the explore page.

  • Generate additional opportunities for sales.

  • Consequently, assists sellers in achieving faster and more effective sales.

To elevate the visibility and exposure of listings, it's crucial to understand the buyer's purchasing journey on the app. The sellers' objective of rapid sales is deeply linked to the buyers' experience.

Key considerations include:

  • Determining what constitutes an appealing listing from the buyer's perspective.

  • Identifying factors that would encourage buyers to explore more listings.

  • Understanding the reasons buyers might select a particular listing.

  • Figuring out what instils confidence in buyers to inquire further about a listing.

Accordingly, my action plan comprises three initiatives:

  1. Revamp the Explore Page Layout: Aimed at making it more attractive and user-friendly to encourage exploration.

  2. Integrate Listing Suggestions into the Search Dropdown: To subtly guide buyers towards listings they might find interesting, thereby potentially increasing engagement and sales.

  3. Incorporate Review Statistics on Listing Cards: Providing immediate insight into the listing's credibility, enhancing buyer confidence.

While I'm aware that this strategy doesn't directly address specific power seller needs, like faster listing setup or enhanced sales analytics, I believe it's important to align with the feedback received and not venture into unrequested solution areas.


 

Design

In this section, I'll showcase my proposed redesign of the explore page layout, designed to encourage more extensive user exploration and effectively boost the visibility of sellers' listings.

Diving deeper into the customisation feature, I aim to empower users to personalise their experience by choosing their preferred categories. This approach is intended to craft a more individualised and pertinent browsing journey for each user, enhancing the overall relevance and appeal of their browsing experience.


Establishing a sense of ownership for users by enabling them to customise the page, thereby amplifying the impact of Investment Loops. The principle behind this is that when users invest more in personalising their experience with a product, they are more likely to return and engage with it further.


Introduce listings on the search page tailored to a user's search history or shopping behaviour, aiming to enhance engagement by presenting more relevant and targeted options.


 

Success Metrics

Metrics

Purposes

Average Time Spent on Explore Page

Track the duration buyers spend browsing items on the explore page. An increase could indicate more engaging content or better-personalised recommendations.

Bounce Rate of the Explore Page

Measure the percentage of buyers who leave the site after viewing only the Explore page. A lower bounce rate might imply a more captivating page layout or content.

Click Rate on the First Spotlight Item

Analyse the click-through rate of the first spotlighted item to assess the effectiveness of its placement and prominence.

Click Rate on Suggested Listings in the Search Dropdown

Monitor how often buyers click on the listings suggested in the search dropdown. Higher rates can signify the success of integrating personalised listing suggestions.

Number of Items Sold

Evaluate the overall impact of the new designs on the sales rate. An increase in sales could be attributed to improved visibility, layout enhancements, or more effective recommendation algorithms.


 

Learning Points

This experience taught me the value of measured patience before diving into solutions.

Recognising that problem discovery in real-world settings often deviates from a straightforward, linear path was pivotal. Embracing divergent thinking proved beneficial, as it prompted a more extensive exploration of the problem space, uncovering deeper insights and leading to more well-rounded solutions.

Moreover, the process highlighted the necessity to improve my soft skills, particularly in articulating my thought processes. Ensuring clear and effective communication is crucial for my reasoning to be comprehensively understood and for my ideas to resonate well.

Overall, this journey was immensely educational and enriching. Despite the challenges, it was a rewarding experience. Engaging with the Carousell team, and especially having interactions with Keith, the Head of Product Design, and Felipe, the Product Design Manager, was incredibly enlightening. Their guidance and insights have been invaluable, significantly contributing to my professional growth and learning.


 

Thank you for your time and attention in reading this 😊


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