Overview

This is a project created for my product development class at the University of Washington.  We were tasked to solve a problem in the e-commerce space, and validate our product idea.  The process we chose was Google Design sprint an intensive process that allowed us to get from proudct idea to validation in just 5 days.

The Challenge

E commerce sellers use on average 5 or more software tools to run their businesses on E-commerce platforms such as Amazon, and Shopify.  With a current lack of integration between software, there leaves opportunity for inventory management inefficiency.  Several small to mid sized businesses who are experiencing growth do not have the tools they need to keep up with their demand as they begin to shift to sell online. This growth may lead to problems such as lost inventory, missed sales, and poor customer service.

My Role

UX Designer, Customer Expert

Stakeholders

Amazon & Shopify Sellers

Process

Google Design Sprint

 

Users

Small to mid sized e-commerce business owners 

Design Goal

Create a platform that integrates e-commerce software that helps users run their business operations and manage their inventory.

Product Description

Pomegranate is a web integration tool geared for e-commerce businesses to automate applications between one another. 

Features Overview

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Pomegranate e-Commerce Software Integration

Dashboard

Run your company in one place.  This is your very own customizable dashboard.  We give you the tools for tracking changes in your company. Be notified when you get new sales, and sync your orders between software.  You can pin your companies data, and activate automated tasks.  

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Make easy connections with PIPS

Pomegranate allows you to make simple integrations between your software with the user friendly Map.  You can also automate tasks between your tools. Connect your Inventory software with Excel and Quickbooks to allow data to be passed between the three. Have quickbooks publish an excel report every week, we give you the ability to do things you have not been able to do in the past.

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Hand picked E-comerece tools only $15 a month

There is no need to dig through the App Store, search for reviews, compare prices and compatibilities. With Pomegranate you always have the best tools to run your business online.  Pomegranate gives you new software with out being charged for multiple upgrades so you will have the newest version at all times.  With our subscription model, you gain access to over 100 sources to run your business from Quickbooks to Inventorylab to Repriceit.

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Sprint Questions

  1. Are we able to access closed software systems?

  2. Will we have access to the right API's for small business?

  3. Where will ecommerce sellers see value in our software?

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NEXT We held expert interviews with individuals with multiple years of experience in managing a businesses with large inventories and in ecommerce.

HomeBrew Heaven Co-founder, Ralph Bacon

HBH was an online and brick-mortar retail company that was a one stop shop for at home brewing products for making beer, wine, and cheese at home. They held all of their own inventory in a back warehouse. However, as the business grew and online sales increased they were unable to maintain accurate inventory counts as different departments and system processes clashed. HBH Provided insight into inventory issues related to small business growth and current products and services commonly used.

Former Brewcraft USA COO, Shay Chapman

Brewcraft USA, is the American branch of an international business that managed large-scale to individual distribution of home-brewing products, and maintained a warehouse distribution system with about 50k SKU. Shay managed all warehouse processes and employees, and was also in charge of redesigning the inventory management processes, transitioning from an analog to digital system. Shay provided extensive insight into designing and optimizing inventory management, as well as a general overview of the processes and considerations when managing mid-to-large scale warehouse operations. 

We learned a great deal about the problems people who run warehouses full of inventory may face.  

Top Problems with managing inventory

  1. Good Types (Disposable, Perishable, Non Perishable, etc)

  2. Common Intake/Distribution processes

  3. Picking processes

  4. Foodstuffs storage

  5. Automated systems

  6. Inventory report generation

  7. Managing restock/returns

  8. Seasonal Inventory management

  9. Warehouse organization and optimization

  10. Workflow management and optimization

  11. Shrinkage

After we created personas and empathy maps that represent the people we interviewed

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Next we created HMW notes to feel a lot better than reading the problem list for managing a e commerce business and large inventories.

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We then voted on the best how might we notes and placed them into our map of our user story

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Result

  • Business Software Integration tool for Small to Medium Size Business

  • Data Driven Insights

  • Curated Marketplace for Business Software Subscription Based

  • Automated Tasks

  • User Friendly Interface

 

Dashboard

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Integration Map

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Marketplace

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Is the Product Viable?

Based on our user research, we have found that this product would be viable for small to mid sized businesses owners.  We have found that there is a need for connecting applications and/or data sources.  There is also a need for visualizing information flow.  Last, users expect something without a high learning curve.

Did the Sprint process help?

Time crunch helped prioritize and resolve conflict.

Especially useful both for refining existing ideas,
and shaping new ones.

“Trust The Process” - It’s made by people better at this than you are

Next steps

Further Usability Tests