The Modern Boutique

The Modern Boutique is a company that provides brick & mortar businesses the tools necessary to compete in today's retail landscape. I worked as the lead product designer on this project designing and coding their website and leading the design for their internal dashboard tools.




Background

The project first focused on the total overhaul of their landing page which had very poor audience engagement, and few prospective clients were signing up for the free trial despite good traffic numbers from both organic search and paid campaigns. The design approach required a heavy emphasis on loud, contrasting colors and an aesthetic that immediately identified with two core themes: modern and fashion. The success metric is sign ups for their free trial. The stakeholders did not want a lengthy requirement from the user similar to a SaaS trial; a bare minimum of contact information would suffice for access to the trial. Rather than leading with a hardcore sales pitch we sought to pique interest, educate, and then convert down the page. The previous site had done a poor job of explaining "why" prospective customers needed The Modern Boutique as well as creating an environment with their design that made visitors feel unsure if they belonged there.

User Research

We worked with the founders to collect the data from all existing clients as well as sort through the archives of previous free trial participants as well. We were able to create a questionaire and get answers from 100+ participants. From the results my team was able to distill down to two target boutique owner personas. Both were predominantly female but one was in the 22-26 years old and urban demographic while the other was in the 48-56 and more suburban demographic. Not only were age and location key data points of the personas but so were average household income, hours spent with technology per day, and familiarity with online services such as Instagram, Spotify, and Pinterest.
Next we interviewed subjects from both personas to discover their main questions, hesitations, and pain points around participating in the free trial. Gathering all this information we then mapped out an informed user journey down the page addressing these pain points and opportunities.

Problem

Boutique owners are not immediately aware of the impact that digital tools will have on their business. Visitors felt the product was not specifically a good fit for their business or that they may not have the technical knowledge to operate the tools leading them to feel overwhelmed. Users wanted to be able to quickly get answers to any questions they had in that moment and did not want to submit a form request with their question.

Hypothesis

By providing more visuals that help visitors immediately identify with the fashion industry and technology devices they would feel comfortable that they were in the right place. A modern design aesthetic would lend confidence in the company, and a chat widget on the page would allow for more question/answer engagement and conversion opportunities with potential customers. And the approach of flow down the page as engage > inform > convert would lead to higher signup conversion.

Design (see interface designs above)

  • design a top-to-bottom flow that engages, educates, and converts the visitor to a free trial
  • enable visitors to ask questions directly to The Modern Boutique team on the website through the live chat widget
  • establish a brand identity that would be the foundation for their internal tools, all external properties, and their marketing materials

Solution

Engagement is the focus above the fold using a modern design aesthetic with a purple and green color palette that makes the hero image pop. For the image we wanted to use a presentation utilizing the latest version of iphone as well as vibrant images of models in chic outfits to relate to boutique owners and merchandise.

Educate was the vital next step as the user progressed down the page. We sought to teach the visitor what was now different about the world that necessitates new tools and strategies to ensure their business' success. We employed vivid, monochromatic illustrations and a few charts to visually showcase changes in the retail industry over time. We then used flat iconography to tease popular features of the platform before diving in.

Relate was the next step in our funnel towards our end goal of conversion to the free trial. Here is where we wanted to start painting the picture of boutique owners having these digital tools for their own. We employed XL visuals of the white label mobile app as well as modern graphic illustrations tying together how the different pieces coincide and are controlled via the central command dashboard.

Convert was the final step as we emerged into the bottom sections of the page. First we hit them with the global representation graphic to instill a little FOMO. Then the next step was to inspire confidence with customer testimonials, and finally a minimal form that facilitates effortless and efficient sign up for access to the free trial. We're proud to report that the month after the new site went live they reported an 83% increase in conversions.

Challenges

A challenge in this design process was understanding how different boutiques were performing to accurately estimate the ROI they could expect by working with The Modern Boutique. There were many different contributing factors for where a boutique was at along the "modern spectrum." What are the top three data points to determine boutique health? How can we showcase the impact of adopting new technologies to help their bottom line?

Next Steps

Conducting user research across all existing customers in segmented studies accounting for things like age, location, and spending ability would provide more insights and help set expectations for prospective customers. I would also like to test the impact of offering multiple price points and product offerings and the effect of showing the price up front instead of veiled behind the free trial.