ebay’s focus has been in building stronger trust with new & younger market, while maintaining the strong relationship with its loyal customers. Keeping the balance of both has been a very interesting and rewarding challenge. How can we create an experience where buyers can shop with confidence, while harvesting the culture of strong sellers presence, with a very diverse products?
My role is very critical in helping buyers to purchase in confidence. Our vision is to provide pertinent, useful, and relevant information from ebay community to validate shopping intent and enable buyers to decide. For the sellers, the goal is to deliver insightful product information to inform inventory decisions and improve the products they sell.
With the Product Reviews vision in mind, our success factors are as follows: 1) Ensure high-quality reviews, with wide catalog coverage, 2) High in-page engagement (consumption, voting, writing) and 3) Positive purchase impact — attributed through A/B test
Coming into the Product Reviews team, understanding the current data is crucial. However, the most important part is working together with my Product Manager & Dev Lead in navigating through the different interpretations from different stakeholders. I made sure that we are coming together with one voice and source of truth in synthesizing our quantitative data. In addition to that, I also led the qualitative research, with our User Experience Research partner, to triangulate our data synthesis with real users feedbacks.
After gathering some basic information on the overall Product Reviews experience on ebay, we broke down the overall Product Reviews pillars into 3 main parts: Consumption, Communication, and Contribution (3Cs).
Through these pillars, we were able to prioritize our values and focus on what’s important for the improvement of Product Reviews experience: 1) Complete — keep growing Product Reviews at a standard e-commerce experience level, to serve basic users’ needs. 2) Efficient — making reading reviews effortless. And 3) Uniquely ebay — reviews that are tailored to reflect our array of diverse inventory.
Keeping the main values in mind, I managed to launch several new features within Product Reviews: 1) Search on reviews — with the rate of collecting 800K - 1 million reviews a day, the ability to search for reviews is considered a table stake feature, 2) Images on reviews — another table stake feature is to allow users to complete their reviews by illustrating what they are reviewing through images. This feature is important to increase users’ confidence in making their purchasing decision, 3) Top & Critical Reviews tags — we implemented quick signals on top favorable review vs. top critical review to make reviews consumption more efficient for users, and 4) Reviews by Conditions—to support the spectrum of values ebay pride itself for, we introduced a feature where users can consume reviews based on the condition of the product (new vs. refurbished vs. used).
Not “pushing” people to write a review, but to inspire them to give back to their shopping community and provide an honest review.
Another important table stakes feature for an e-commerce platform next to Product Reviews, is Q&A. Recognizing the importance of a public platform for shoppers to learn more before the purchase decision is crucial. The goal to launch Q&A for ebay is: 1) To supplement a natural shopping flow, 2) Support the spectrum of value ebay offers and 3) Build a strong community within ebay to continue engage both buyers and sellers.
Coming into this feature, one of the things that I needed to be aware of is the holistic approach of ebay's email communications strategies. I needed to connect with multiple teams across different organizations and bring them into a unified approach: The Business Marketing team, View Item team, Product Page team, and Seller team.
We broke down the overall pillars into 3 main parts for Q&A experience on ebay: Engagement, Management, and Conversations. Together, they collectively build a stronger ebay community.
We came up with 3 main beneficiaries in this new feature to further boost confidence in the leadership team: 1) Buyers — benefits include persistence of experience within Product Reviews and ability to search and get responses right away. 2) Sellers — Q&A will provide an omnipresent voice in their listing & additional insights for them to get better understanding on the marketplace. 3) ebay — garner qualitative, live data across different products, boost natural search traffic, and most importantly, strong community engagement.
There’s a lot of logic that needs to be considered in designing the experience of asking/searching for a question. This includes use cases such as:
• When there are no questions yet (onboarding)
• When there’s a question but no answers yet
• When the questions available are not what the users are looking for
• Asking a new question
• Answering a question while searching for one
In launching this new feature, we also need to work on some content strategies on each of the above use cases. All this needs to be taken into consideration, especially when introducing the experience for the first time in the shopping experience.
Another big part of this product is the reaching out to users to participate in Q&A. Consideration elements include: 1) Solicitation — Emails to sellers and buyers, and to buyers who ask the questions when their questions are answered.
and 2) Management — how can users edit/delete their questions or answers? Access on Q&A that are not posted?
Our goal is to not overwhelm the users and still find this feature necessary and non-disruptive on their shopping experience.
Launching a new feature in a large organization comes with the challenge of having to consistently repeat yourselves to domain partners from different teams. Each team will have their own use case they will try to sell and push. There were times when we do not know the answers of our partners questions. We rely a lot on multiple UER sessions as our source of truth. Synthesizing these results, tweaking the use cases and designs, and navigating through design partners’ requirements depend upon the tenacity and strong leadership skills.
A big part of my design journey for Q&A is working really closely with our Product Development partners in having an honest conversation of how this new feature will be shipped.
With leadership-mandated timelines, number of resources and heavy dependencies on other partner’s back-end services and systems, I have to stagger my design features into stages. This means that each stage has varying use cases that comes with the stagger approach.
Launching a new product in US, UK, DE and Australia as our first launch also requires a clear and consistent documentation.
With the nature of cross-domain partnerships in Product Reviews, I was able to transition into the top of the shopping funnel, the Browse Shopping team. In this product domain, I was task to define a shopping experience that gives shoppers the ability to browse and explore ebay's rich inventories and eventually narrow down their choices.
Prior to this project, the browse page has been built very scrappily, only to satisfy SEO matrixes. There hadn't been a customer-focused studies that was done before. With the support from leadership, we also did a discovery research to understand customers' browsing behaviors deeply.
When thinking about the shopping journey that customers are going through, the beginning phase is where they are in the mindset of just browsing. The challenge is to create a digital experience that encourages customers to look around, without forcing them to have to make a decision right away. How might we guide them to expand and contract their shopping experience at ebay?
To better understand our shoppers, I partnered with our UX Research team members to do a Discovery Research. We followed 20 different shoppers, who are in their process of browsing for something that they're thinking of getting. These shoppers were looking for products from five different verticals: Home & Garden, Appliances, Electronics, Art & Collectibles, and Fashion.
Based on the research findings, we synthesized and came up with three different proto-personas. We used these three personas as a base to make sure each of their needs are met when designing the browse experience.
From the discovery research findings, I then conducted a Design Workshop with various design and product partners from across the shopping experience teams. The goal is to define how Browse page can set up the tone in our users' shopping journey in the beginning, and set them up for success as they go down the funnel until they are ready to make purchase decisions with high confidence.
Right off the Design Workshop, I worked with another designer, Kevin T., to come up with two main concept prototypes, catering to both Hard Goods - that has more succinct specificities, and Soft Goods - that has much stronger visceral components when shoppers browse through it.
Based on our research findings, design workshop, and two main prototypes, I packaged everything into a presentation to our leadership. Telling the story of the entirety of the process is equally important to let our leadership know that Browse could be a playground for ebay to experiment, with a very clear path towards the narrower shopping funnels.
After getting the green light from leaderships, we have iterated and tested our ways into designing various experiences to guide our shoppers. Each success data is distributed across the appropriate shopping funnels, including different verticals and the Search experience.