Building the first nationwide e-commerce of tempered glass hardware

The beginning

I was hired as a Designer in the NRC Ferragens, a tempered glass hardware distributor. A company well-known regionally and recognized as a one-stop store, meaning you did not have to go through many stores to get all you needed as a glazier.

The Immersion

In this context, they tasked me to investigate if the opportunity to sell online would be commercially viable and what would we have to do to make it a reality. I began by immersing myself in the context, being side-be-side of the sellers to see how sales would go and who were our personas.

ZapGuru tool

The Journey and MVP

With lots of information at hand, it seemed fitting that it would be fruitful to make a journey map of the online customers to map the steps they did to purchase a product with us. With this journey, we could identify a series of opportunities: what could be our MVP to continue to test commercial viability; identify pain points and doubts that we could assist with messaging or tips; and frame our value proposition.

Deploying the MVP and its metrics

After we had prioritized an MVP and its features using manual sketches (doodle frames), it was time to prototype something with a higher degree of fidelity to refine and then handoff it to development.

  • Highlight a button in the main “Buy Online” menu:
  • Highlight 4 products with high added value.
  • Each with a CTA that directs to WhatsApp with a specific pre-configured message.
  • A product description that defines the main doubts about each product.

What did we learn?

  • There was a real demand for the solution and products we offer, and the number of customers was directly linked to the advertising.
  • We had no competitors at the national level and we had a huge market in our hands.
  • The ROI of the solution, all costs considered, was hovering around 1:1.3. An excellent value for the industry. ROI on paid traffic was even better, hovering around 1:12, well above the industry average.
  • The average ticket was also much higher than the regional commercial ticket, around 8 times higher.
  • The challenges to operationalising the solution were enormous, internally we were doing many things for the first time. Externally, we had few carriers that shipped large items (up to 6 meters) and those that did were poorly digitized.
  • 50% or more of users access the site via mobile.

Benchmarking and the new tool

After about 3 months of running the MVP, impressed by positive indicators, we decided that it was time to implement a third-party tool to run the e-commerce. For that, it was necessary to make a deep study of what was available in the market.

Customizing the platform

With the e-commerce platform chosen, it was time to customize it with the NRC communication standard, with the content and purchase flow that served our customers based on the research repository and knowledge we had of them. And that, first of all, that it worked very well on the cell phone since more than half of the customers access it that way. A snippet of the result can be seen below:

Results

With the platform in the air and in constant evolution, with the constant learning of the day-to-day of its operation and contact with customers, we managed to have consistent growth at the revenue of about 30% per month.

The chatbot and its failure

As mentioned before, we had a very clear problem with our clientele, they had little affinity for online shopping and websites in general. Customers were constantly asking to make an “assisted purchase” via WhatsApp. This consumed time, and resources, and even made it difficult to scale the solution.

  • Maintain a humane and effective service.
  • Give even more sense of safety.
  • Automate the handling of recurring questions and problems.
  • Increase the number of users served by the seller and also increase the number of sales.

The end of my work and results

During that time, e-commerce continued to have very good and consistent revenue. The increase in revenue was directly linked to the budget for paid traffic on Google. However, we could not scale this budget as we were limited by the number of customers we could serve via WhatsApp. The chatbot solution we tested hadn’t worked as we wanted and we still hadn’t been able to strengthen the sales team.

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Tiê Mundim

Tiê Mundim

Designer formado pela UEMG e pela Massey University, apaixonado por UX / UI Design!