First Paid Product
Claudia, 24 is currently working as a Sales Assistant. She declutters her home every now and then and lists the items she doesn't want as for sale items in Carousell. She managed to sell some of her old items she never thought she could sell. Her new secret? She tracks how her listing is performing, and tweaks the photos, description, and drops the price. Then she bumps her item to get upto 3 times more visibility!
This is the second part of the problems we started exploring. I wrote about how we launched Listing insights for our seller's listings in Carousell and how we tried to tackle the second problem.
Before I move forward, if you stumbled up on this artice directly, some context
Carousell is a C2C Marketplace app expanding from South East Asia. The product focuses on casual sellers, like people with a day job or school to de-clutter their space by start selling.
Who I worked with?
I closely worked with Alla, The Product Manager, Andrius, The VP of Product, and amazing Seller Services Scrum team to make this possible. This project wouldn't be successful without help from Growth team, Community, Legal and business team at Carousell.
Platfroms & Counrties
Singapore, Hong Kong
How Long did it take?
One and a half sprint(3weeks) for Listing insights We work in Sprints, and as a designer, I work ahead of the engineering sprints.
Design and Ideation
When we started ideating on the problem, we kind of know what is the first solution we will be working on. At the core concept level, we know that organically Carousell is a representation of social marketplace and your listings go down when new listings come in.
Until now users were noticing this pattern through number of chats/likes that come in during the listing life time. We know that with listing insights launch, it's easier for users to notice this pattern through insights. We want to build a service that helps them boost their visibility and they can see that in realtime
Bumps: The solution we aleready had in mind, boosts the listing to the top of the marketplace and let it slowly sink in again when new listings come in. This is one of the solution one of our growth team experiemented before and found it successful to boost listings from users who are new to the marketplace. We took the concept and re-worked from scratch to see how we can make it as a viable service for our sellers.
Let's talk about Sorting
Listings in Carousell are sorted by Popular, Recent, Price and Location. Naturally listings go down over time, like how posts in social network sink down.
We wanted to create an ability to move an old listing up to the top of the marketplace and then drop it there. When the listing is in the top, it likely to get more visibility from the buyers. This event is what we classify as Bump. Bump doesn't gurantee success for the sellers, but likely give two to three times more visibility. Bump doesn't keep the listing in the top for long time either. When newer (relevant) listings come, the bumped item naturally goes down
We wanted to implement two versions of Bump - Free and Paid Bump, While essentially same, the free bumps are available for all users to try it out, under the condition that they reduce their price by 10%. We found that users, especially new users tend to price their item higher. The intent was to make them put effort in their pricing, photos, details before they bump, but more importantly reducing price.
Paid bump is of higher value to the users and we decided to sell it in bulk: 3, 5, 7 and in certain frequency, so users will get cummulative value out of the bump.
What can go wrong
When we first started ideating, my product manager and the previous team that worked on it came with some consideration for implementing Bump as a paid service.
- If the marketplace is filled with bumped items then likely that listings from new sellers or sellers who haven't paid will not get any luck. So need to keep it at the ratio that makes sense for the whole marketplace and business.
- Thre is also a communication gap between what is bump and what is the value users get out of it. Unlike physical or virtual goods that immediately give value, Bumps tend to give value only after few mins/hrs/days. If the users don't understand that, our conversions might not go up.
- Free bumps can be abused and giving it away for free will affect the marketplace and make it fair for all users. Since reducing item price doesn't really affect the actual transaction (since meet-up, payment and delivery happens outside Carousell), it's hard to enforce that rule, and only way to set it up is to through constraints
Inorder to do rapid designing and kickstart the flow, I designed to do start with ideas and wireframe them to discuss with stakeholders. I tried the newer approach in wireframing because traditional methods still made me focus on the details and lose bigger picture or ideation pace.
The first iteration of the design started to make the bumps work as a light weight tool that sellers can access on their listings in the profile. The intent was to make a flow thats fast and saves lot of time when sellers want to quickly bump their item. We quickly realised it might confuse users and we migt not be able to make it modular (accesible from different user journeys).
We wanted Bump to be accessible from all the prime spots in which seller might be interested in boosting the visibility for their listing. Starting with their profile page. All listings, that can be bumped has Bump action available on card. The second page they will likely visit is the listing details page.
Listing insights page, the page that shows how the listing is performing is the second place we decided to have a Bump action as part of banner below their views. "Want more views" directy corresponds to the views mentioned above
Finally we managed to squeze in a similar Bump action as a banner in the listing details page detailing on why they should bump.
Upon tapping the Bump action, users are taken to the page tailored for their listing details, showing what the bump is about and how it works.
Paid Bumps: We wanted to give a package of bumps that sellers can buy, and their listing will be bumped at the time of purchase, consecutively for 3 straight days. The Bump page details on the time bump happens and how much it costs. There is a detailed How Bumps work page to help new users understand what is bump and how it works.
Free Bumps: We wanted to downplay the role of Free Bumps because in short, they are for users to try out bumps by reducing price, but if we position as a free option upfron, then the abuse of Free Bump might increase. We also positioned Free Bumps as one of the options and not the only option. Free visibility also comes from sharing in social network, as the buyers might be just in the seller's social network!
Buying Bump is a simple in-app purchase flow, where users are greeted with a familiar modal to use touch-ID to confirm purchase. Once Bumped, users are directed to the listing insights to see how the listing is performing.
There is state change in bump times where one of them recently active, to show that 2 others will happen in next 2 days, at the same time
Bump Icon and Component System
When we decided to call it Bump, one thing that was missing was how to denote the action. The lightning bolt icon, inspired by the God of thunder, Zeus is the final choice over a hundred options. I want something that works at different size and immediately makes people connect with the idea that the item is bumped or bump is available for my listing.
This was also the first time I tried to use a Component system to design modularly for Bumps user journey. It helped to re-use designs and make the design consistent across different screens.
Durign ideation we immediately stumbled up on few ways in which free Bumps can be absues. We put some stoppers to make sure sellers cannot free bump their item multiple times in a week and also give them a clear waiting period through communication.
We aslo need to iterate design on legal requirement to show terms and condition upfront while purchasing. Added a simple animation which scrolls to the page end upon tapping buy button to surface terms and conditions
Bonus: I did an animation to celebrate a successful purchase of Bump. The intent is to make people connect the the action with a memorable sound. We managed to use the sound of cork opening to sumarise the purchase confirmation and Bump. Unfortunately this was never shipped because of our tight deadline
Fixing the Abuse
While we couldn't wait to get the bump products out to the users, we came across the existing abuse by some sellers who wanted to get the maxium out of Carousell.
They re-list their listing again and again in the marketplace to get more visibility. This came up in our user feedbacks earlier where people complained about these sellers who keep reposting the same item more and make it unfair for the community and the marketplace.
If we launch Bumps without fixing this problem, there is a chance of we increasing this abuse or potentially marketplace getting more crowded with relisted and bumped items. We know that we can build a service that can do simple detection when an item gets relisted. We Prompt the users after they relist to either Bump existing item or cancel listing.
While the launch was weeks away, we know we want to test this journey with real users. So we managed to get some casual sellers, pro merchants and tested the flow with them. The insights we gathered were suprising, but helped us validate the flow.
- Majorty want to see how listing performs and then buy bump later.
- Price seems to be ideal for this service, while some felt we could charge more if the conversion is higher.
- Timing played a huge role in deciding on buying the bump, and especially during weekends. They expressed high intent in scheduling Bumps.
- Majority of the users were excited to see how the bump is performing and half the users we tested out knew how to check that out
- Almost half the users know how to game the system and they explained how they are planning to game the Free Bumps. They also expressed in re-listing their item to over-come not paying for Bumps
Overall, we found the bump as paid product seems to have a good potential, provided it gave the value the users seek. We decide to iterate on few final things and launch it in Singapore and Hong Kong in upcoming weeks.
We started rolling out Bumps to Singapore users and ran few campaigns to launch Bumps, and how to use them in Facebook, Instagram. This gave a significant boost in making users try out free and paid bumps.
The final validation came through data in seeing how much people found success through Bumped items and all the new ways pro-merchats found through Bump. We saw interesting cases in which sellers were running campaigns, urgent sales, and promotions through Bumps.
Post Launch Feedback
After the launch, there was an overwhelming positive and negative feedback coming in to our support and social network. Negative feedback are mostly from the minority, but very vocal merchants who were not happy that they need to pay for Bumps in the marketplace, since they were relisting for free, for years.
Sellers who purchased bumps also gave feedback that Bumps don't gurantee success and only when the listings are good (photos, details, price), they get sold.
People really got hooked in to Weekly Free Bump. On the negative side, Free Bumps were starting to get abused and we need to deploy newer ways to stop users from abusing it.
Bumps got serious business folks more excited and they gave feedback on intent to see more pro-promotion services like highlights, sticky ads, and more
I moved on from Seller Services team to focus on Smart Listings after that quarter, but the team successfully made the product more robust and iterated on the design
Case studies from my work & fun Projects