Bringing Analytics to Retail
Designing a Retail Analytics Platform
Who, What, Where
You’re probably wondering what exactly a retail analytics platform does. The short answer is that it allows manufacturers to see exactly how and where their products are sold as well as tracking pricing, product descriptions, and images to ensure retailers are complying with brand guidelines.
The shorter answer is that it gives manufacturers a bird's eye view of their business.
The Best Tool Nobody Used
The big problem with the current state of the application was that less than 5% of registered accounts were active. After talking to users, the key complaint was that the software was too time-consuming to use regularly. It also turned out that the active accounts were primarily power users—familiar enough with the software to be efficient with it despite its flaws.
I also wanted to bring the product team into the UX process and work on establishing best practices going forward. Their current approach to design was more like a scrappy start-up with minimal research and testing than an established company, and the in-house designers were starting to feel like they were on a wild goose chase.
Unlike their current trial-and-error approach to MVPs, we first developed a content model, user personas, and experience map that would guide the rest of the process.
Back to Square One
You never really know what you’re dealing with until you’re in the thick of it.
After early testing with users, we realized a single application wasn’t the way to go. The software was just too bloated. Instead, we decided to separate them into a suite of individual tools.
Of course, that meant a complete overhaul of the information architecture.
Quick and Painless Testing
User testing was central to the process every step of the way—from the information architecture to wireframes and interactive prototypes.
With the goal of developing an efficient, sustainable UX process in mind, most testing was done remotely with more rigorous in-person testing sessions held at key milestones.
“It doesn't take much to show users they're being heard.”
What I'd Do Differently
With the rollout of the new design, engagement shot up. Of course, as expected, there were complaints from power users. There's no way to completely mitigate that with any redesign, but because of the drastic restructering of the software, users didn't have the option to toggle back to the old design. In hindsight, I would have invested more time into figuring out a compromise. It doesn't take much to show users they're being heard.