Callisto is an International fashion brand operating in 46 countries worldwide. They offer fashion collections for men, women & children from world-famous designers and up-and-coming artists.
Note: This is a concept case study created for a design challenge in 2018. It was limited by time (it took roughly 25 hours to finish) and by a brief - following a request to propose an idea for a new experience in retail shopping.
Callistó started 15 years ago as a small boutique shop in Milan, Italy. Now it is a well-known international fashion brand operating in 46 countries worldwide. They offer fashion collections for men, women & children from world-famous designers, but also feature local talents and up-coming artists. Callistó also tries to encourage young fashion designers to attend their workshops to boost the brand’s connection to the local markets, with the main focus being on Asia at the moment.
As a lead designer for the project, I have been tasked to propose an idea/concept for a new experience in retail fashion shopping and to come up with a unique value proposition blending online & offline retail experience.
The first step in the design strategy was to conduct interviews with people from the target audience to get enough data for identifying three primary personas for our project.
Magdalena is 25 years old dynamic young lady. She recently finished university and is working as an Airbnb manager for apartments and condos. She also practices art on the side for extra income and is a fan of original and trendy fashion. Like almost all millennials, she is very savvy with technology and regularly uses her phone and laptop for online shopping. She enjoys sale hunting and has a below-average salary.
Joseph is a 32 years old successful young man, working in a well-paid international company. He is a bit sick of the fact that most of his colleagues wear the same clothes every day and tries to be a fashion inspiration to them. He also enjoys shopping fashion for his son. He is willing to spend and has an above-average salary. He does not have too much free time to explore physical stores and mostly uses his phone for online shopping.
Sandra is a 43 years old woman with an exciting, adventurous lifestyle and two daughters. She manages a small resort off the coast of Malaysia and works as a part-time dive instructor. She has an average salary and likes to shop on her laptop and enjoys visiting physical stores too.
Customer Needs Identification
In e-commerce projects, UX strategy firmly focuses on customer journeys. The customer journey begins before the actual act of shopping with preparation, then continues with the shopping experience and even carries on after a user purchases product. Thanks to the user personas, we were able to map an assumed user journeys of our customers.
These user journeys were highly useful and helped us a lot with:
- identification of friction/stress points
- highlighting problems customers are facing during their experience
- discovering what they are feeling and expecting during the journey and thus allowing us to brainstorm and gather ideas on how to solve most of these issues and turn pain points into a delightful user experience
Sketches & Initial ideas
From my experience, the most efficient way how to execute this part of the design process is usually by the simple use of paper sketches. They allow easy testing with real users and are friendly for team-discussions and meetings. These are some of the samples we created for this project.
Fashion E-commerce Challenges
There were some intriguing problems we faced along the way. These four were the most significant and I wanted to show how we were able to solve them efficiently for the sake of the best possible customer experience.
Issue: Homepage is the crown jewel of every e-commerce platform, yet many projects, even in 2018, face very common issue – the homepage is just not attractive enough, does not explain what the business does or customers cannot find the content they want or expect.
Solution: To make the most of the homepage design, there is a simple UX exercise I like to use. It’s called a card sorting workshop and is widely used to get into the customers’ minds and to discover what is important for them and what content they would love to see on the homepage. We created plenty of paper cards, each representing a different content element and asked people from our target group to sort them by priority from highest to lowest or even add some more types, if needed. By merging results of this exercise, we were able to identify a clear pattern and use it as a foundation for our homepage sketches.
Issue: We got a strong feeling from the initial interviews that there is a substantial underlying problem with digital fashion stores when it comes to choosing sizes of clothes online. Most of the users worry that clothes (or accessories) might not fit, thus making a purchase decision for them more difficult.
Solution: In reality, most of the sizing related issues can be prevented quite easily. The most effective solution comes from a genuine creation of a highly detailed and easy-to-use sizing chart, which covers all international sizes, their details, and also compares standards from different parts of the world. This kind of help is essential in today’s global environment, where clothes often come from different countries with varying standards of sizing.
Issue: Checkout can be quite a traumatic experience for customers if it is not appropriately designed. Users worry about various topics like technical or security problems, payment difficulties, and so on.
Solution: To guarantee that our checkout flow will be as smooth and stress-free as possible, we researched and tested over 20 leading e-commerce platforms and then put the data together and found out which checkout style is the most effective and frictionless as possible (especially on mobile). Our solution is divided into four easy to understand steps, wholly hassle-free and easy to use even on the smallest of smartphones. After testing, we found out that this was also by far the fastest solution with the least amount of complaints.
Issue: Client briefed us strongly at the beginning to keep in mind that they want to offer a real omnichannel experience for their customers. Many platforms fail to deliver on this promise.
Solution: To find answers and satisfy the wishes of the client, we had to be creative and come out with solutions customers will love and which will create a stronger relationship with the brand over time.
1. Website’s system will have a memory and will remember personal choices of sizes for the customers. For example, if they are going to browse a lot for shoe size EU38, the system will keep in mind, and when they are searching for those sizes, we will show them the nearest physical store locations, where they can purchase it quickly. It also allows customers to sort products by their ideal sizes while shopping.
2. Website will use a geological functionality and will give priority to inform customers about local events or designers in their proximity (using email marketing channels).
3. During the checkout, we will notify users which shops have their chosen items available right away, and they will be able to arrange a pickup there or select delivery to their closest physical store if requested.
4. Customers will be able to scan QR codes of clothes at physical stores and automatically add them to their shopping bag online if they desire.
5. They can also show our employees a wishlist from their shopping bag, and they will prepare to view of all products inside the shop so that they can make a more relaxed buying decision.
6. Solutions like abandoned shopping cart emails, which reminds customers to return to their shopping after putting products to their bag and leaving a website and resume payment option after experiencing technical difficulties during their checkout are already a standard nowadays and will be part of our solution too.
After the conclusion of the sketching part and a quick usability test, we chose the most efficient solutions and ideas and proceeded to wireframing, which allowed us to create medium-fidelity wireframes and a prototype for the mobile web platform. Thanks to user iterations with this simple prototype we were able to identify (and get rid of) some more issues and gain valuable insights too. Then we proceeded to design final wireframes to have great foundations for the interface design.
Final design lives and breathes fashion. Inspired by minimalism, the design allows beautiful product photography of fashion collections to shine and is also able to quickly connect to our customers and gradually build a relationship with them.
For the interface design, we followed the industry standards and went with the mobile first approach. Mobile web is essential to the success of any digital platform, especially in South East Asia, where the majority of our target audience interact with digital products and platforms on small screens.
As a final prototype of the platform, I decided to showcase the mobile solution of the website and present the most vital customer journey there is in e-commerce – checkout flow, starting with a homepage and ending with a successful purchase.
Overall, I truly enjoyed working with such an exciting and well-known brand. It gave me new insights into some of the UX techniques, and I became better at using my time more efficiently. Designing the final interface was a pleasure since fashion is probably one of the most exciting fields for a designer to work on. I am also a huge fan of minimalism in design, where I am allowed to let the content breathe and give users and customers feeling of freedom even on the smallest of screens.
Over 5 litres of tea were consumed during the duration of the project. With favourites being Chamomile & Jasmine White teas.
The brand expects to have more than 20 thousand orders during their first sixth months after launching operations in Malaysia.
Thirty-one local designers will be invited to take part in the enormous fashion design workshop for the brand, while three winners will have a chance to design their collections.