There are local businesses that fails even if having so much passion and dedication. May be shaping up a little on UX can help these brands to rediscover.
Circle of trust
Circle of trust is a sneaker shop based on a small town Zug in Switzerland. Regardless of the size of the shop, Sam — the all in all CEO — has a clear philosophy of what brands to offer. There were brands for both enthusiast and real keepers. With his online presence from 2013, Sam had had hundreds of satisfied customers globally.
Sam has closed his shop and just keeping his online presence to sell out his remaining stock. When we e-met Sam, he was sitting in front of his awe-inspiring sneaker collection, which made us realized how passionate he is about these footgear!
As a part of Ironhack challenge, we planned to rework on Sam’s website. To check if the UX chalk talk we had, can reinvent the brand. Paul, Arleth and me decided to take a deep look into — Circle of Trust.
We interviewed Sam and 2 potential sneakerheads. We also conducted a survey in our friend circle to understand current user behavior pattern.
We had to learn:
- How do customers shop? What’s their buying philosophy? Why do they choose ‘Circle of Trust’?
- Competitors? behavior of similar online sites? How they are different from Sam’s shop.
- How’s a typical sneaker head’s buying pattern? Do they face difficulties in finding their right sneaker?
We have concluded to the following points
- Sam’s store is specialized in rare shoes and vintage models. 75% of his customers trust his store for this type of collections. Marketing is mainly mouth to mouth.
- There is definitely a huge gap of social media presence, even if he keeps an Instagram page.
- Customers gets inspirations from social media, most of them has a favorite brand and even has a shop they trust.
- They buy premium quality shoes and some of them are resellers.
Who are the users
We categorized users into two, Realkeepers (aged over 30’s who loves the rare pieces and collect them), others are youngsters, who carry a rare style quotient and follows the hype culture.
Based on the comparison between Sam’s store and competitor sites, we did a SWOT analysis.
- Strengths: The store has good connections with brands and worldwide network.
- Weaknesses: Even if he has an Instagram page to showcase his collections, he is out of reach or grew out of social media game.
- Threats: The crowd is behind the hype culture now, and it is so hard to compete with sneaker stores that offer releases on a regular basis. Online customers are growing out of streetwear and sneaker culture.
- Opportunities: Brand is flexible and can be pushed towards an image that speaks to people(sustainability/fairness). Brand can specialize in older models, such a market exists.
We have observed that competitors provide additional customer engagement through social media interaction and has a unique, shop-specific style. Circle of Trust has a clear concept and message, but fails to communicate that. Which leads to lack of attraction to potential customers.
We assume that communicating the identity and philosophy of the shop at first sight and engagement through social media will improve trust and customer loyalty.
We started look through the problem, and started analyzing it. There are problems Sam need to address:
- Collaborate social media more
- A bit more focus on marketing the brand
- Communicate his style philosophy in a better way
A bunch of ideas
We have come up with so many ideas to address the problems. The ones we really likes were:
- A dedicated space for social media interaction
- Social media mood board
- Better layout for website
Focus on Information Architecture
We were not pleased on the sitemap of current website. So our first move was to restructure it. We analyzed the competitor sites and regular ecommerce sites to have a clear idea. To test this we conducted a card sorting test.
This was easy, since users have a mindmap on how usually an e-commerce website works.
We came up with a new site map for the website.
Based on the sitemap, we formulated a primary user flow: Buy men’s white/red Air Max 1 in Size 44 and checkout with Paypal.
Time for prototyping
We used Figma for low-fi prototyping, and designed the screens which comes along with the specific userflow. We tested these with Maze and found the results are good to jump into mid-fi.
Unfortunately there had been a glitch in testing the mid-fis. The prototypes did not fit well on the screen for user to complete the task. This was especially noted in Mac. Because of time constraints, it was not possible to rework on it. But we are definitely happy with the low-fi results.
In this project, we were introduced to information architecture, sitemaps, user flows and mid-fi prototyping. There had been points where I had to research a bit to empathize with such a group of people who are so called sneakerheads.