This week we tried to approach the product block for but we couldn’t find anything to improve. We widened the scope by the product listing and product page but that didn’t help much. Then, we took a step back, looked at the bigger picture and saw how we can propose fresh idea for online stores. But let’s start from the beginning.

That day I came early to the office to have some extra time for proper research on our next UX challenge. I had the feeling this week’s project is gonna be hard. I went through tons of articles, Twitter posts, Dribbble shots, Behance presentations, Instagram pictures just to find nothing. As I tried to dive deeper into research my coworker approached. Her face was sad and irritated. When we spoke she admitted that she had spent many hours the day before to prepare for today’s challenge, and found nothing.

We decided to expand topic not only to product block itself but also to the product listing and product page. Unfortunately, after an hour or so, it turned out we couldn’t find any trait. Of course we pointed out generic problems like “too many products discourages the users”, “low-quality images” or “lack of filters” but all of these are obvious. In the end, we came to the conclusion that there is no problem with the product block itself. Or product listing nor page. That’s it.

So should we quit here? Of course not. As a UX designer, I believe that you must question every solution and sometimes change the approach. Our CEO, Tom Karwatka, confirmed that. Before creating Divante Tom was well-known polish UX designer, as we consulted our problem with him he told us:

“I believe you are approaching it in a wrong way. You see, some eCommerce components look like they do, because over the years people tested various ideas, and found one that works well. If you were to create many product listing ideas, after some tests you would probably come back to generic one because, in the end, that is what converts.”

So is there really no challenge with product block? We decided to check it with the different approach.

The new approach to product blocks in eCommerce

As some of you may remember, not that long ago I finished reading Blue Ocean Strategy book. There was a rule that in the business you should consider yourself a competitor not only in your branch but also to every alternative for your business. For example, when you open a new cinema, you should focus on competing with other cinemas, but also with theaters, circus and such.

If we go by this trait, maybe we shouldn’t think one product block versus other, but we should think about broader scale, so not only how this block can be better than others, but how it can compete with real, physical product.

Why are real products better than product blocks?

With such big picture, we’re back on the right path for further research and generating new ideas. Let’s start by pointing out advantages of real product over those presented in eCommerce. Then we’ll try to improve existing eCommerce solution!

1. No delivery time

When you are buying in physical , you get the product in an instant. This is why we’re not buying things like drugs or cleaning online. We need them at this certain moment. In case of eCommerce we can have workarounds like Amazon Prime, same day delivery or in future drone delivery which will probably be even faster than getting in car and driving to the nearest mall yourself, but for now, delivery time still matters.

2. You can touch the product

In some cases, customers feel much better when they can touch the product before purchasing. That’s the case of food or clothing. That’s something online shops can’t provide us with. Nonetheless, we can provide the customers’ solutions that will shorten that distance and give them a feeling of touching the product. These are things like video, streaming or interactive 3D model, which in some cases can be even better than the product in the package.

3. Socializing part

Sometimes we go to the shopping mall just to spend time with friends. While shopping together you can give each other feedback or even shop simultaneously. As we spoke in “why cart design is inefficient” we can support social interactions by proposing multi-cart that can be shared by several users. Let users buy the products together and add it to e.g. “Alex’s cart” or “Patric’s cart”. This way you provide shopping for many people at once, making buying online a social activity.

4. Instant reward

This one’s connected to the first one. It’s more than common to see people shopping to brighten up their day, they enter shop sad, go through few stores, buy some clothes then head to food area, grab a drink and chill. They use shopping as the method to cheer themselves up, they see something and they get it. In eCommerce without having that instant gratification, ability to grab and get we have great disadvantage. In these cases it’s hard, of course having nearly-instant drone delivery would be great but that’s still not it. Here we can think of buying coupons, software or even 3D models that would be instantly printable at home.

5. Easy to compare

When you are at the physical store it’s easy to grab two or more items and compare them side to side. You don’t have to enter one specific room where you can compare products. Maybe if we make comparing products as easy online, it would improve the user experience.

6.Section to product

When you are shopping at the shop you are in topical section, for example you want to buy new tennis shoes, and as you grab them you see tennis shoes and other accessories. Maybe we can present products not only as them themselves, but in a context. This approach is similar to one we presented in “upsell ideas”.

What is the best product block solution?

Well, it depends. Product block is something that extremely customized to the certain branch, so there are no best solutions for the product block itself. If you want to improve product blocks design on your webpage you should remember to compare it not to other shop product blocks, but to the real product in your physical store.

That’s why this week we decided to focus only on 2 solutions: “easy compare” and “ topical sections”

We sketched these ideas and we made animated shots to show exactly how it could be developed. After a few hours of designing, we came out with these gems:

easy to compare
section to product

So, what do you think about these product blocks ideas? Maybe you see something that can be improved or think that another type of product block would be better? Please let us know in the comments!

If you like this kind of activity, please let us know by giving a clap or a comment.

Thank you for your time, and if you want to, check out more at Divante’s Dribbble .


The product block case study is part of the Divante weekly UX challenge.

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