FEATURE ADDITION

BOOK marketplace

Pangobooks

An easy way for both buyers and sellers to make offers and drive book sales

TIMELINE

Q2 2023

ROLE

UX/UI Designer

TOOLS

Figma, Figjam, Miro

CLIENT

Pangobooks

BACKGROUND

PangoBooks was founded in 2021, making it one of the newest book reselling platforms in the industry. Users can sell or buy used books on the website, as well as download the app on Android and Apple devices. 80% of Pangobooks users are based in the US with 56% visiting the website on mobile devices.

PROJECT TYPE

This was a creative exploration independent of Pangobooks. I was in close contact with one of the marketing team members in order to gain business insights.

USER PROBLEM

Pangobooks buyers and sellers interested in bundles and rare items find negotiating through messages limiting

Since Pangobooks is a marketplace for used books, sellers in the platform are having a hard time selling used books individually. Because of that, sellers have found much more success selling their books through bundle offers and price negotiations for rare items. Through a survey I conducted, I found that majority of users seem discouraged negotiating all-together on the platform due to the lack of a streamlined negotiating system and the awkwardness that comes with negotiating through chat.

SOLUTION EXPLORED

A make an offer feature that allows both sellers and buyers to gain control over their negotiations

  • Buyers can make offers on both individual and bundled books

  • Seller can set the minimum amount they are willing to accept from buyers when listing items to prevent lowballs

  • Sellers can send bulk offers to users that have placed items in their cart

  • Users can opt-in and -out of negotiations whenever they want

preliminary research

Pangobooks testimonials encouraged me to dig deeper into the why behind the desire for a make an offer feature

In an online official Facebook group called “Pangobooks Users”, I asked a couple questions to get an idea of the users’ current priorities and to check whether there was a real interest in a negotiating system within Pangobooks.

“Based on your experience with Pangobooks, are there any things you wish Pangobooks did differently?”

“What are some things that would benefit you as a current user?”

After asking questions like the ones above, this is what current users had to say:

MY APPROACH

Knowing that users were interested in making offers was a good start. However, I had to conduct more research to identify particular pain points users were experiencing with driving sales and opportunities that exist to address those pain points.

COMPetitive ANALYSIS

Do other book marketplaces offer features and tools that makes it easier for users to negotiate prices?

I was able to compare negotiation systems between major competitors and identify tools used to assist users in making decisions and driving sales. Overall, it seems that Ebay and Mercari offer the most advanced negotiation tools for both buyers and sellers in order to help them drive sales.

survey

To better understand and identify trends among book buying and selling motivations, behaviors and pain points, I conducted a survey. The survey was conducted on a mix of Pangobooks users and non-Pangobook users. I created a set of questions for all participants that were book buyers with an additional set for those that were also experienced in selling books.

Seller Motivations

82% of sellers surveyed were individual sellers

What does this mean? Individual sellers sell books that they already own. They do not sell books at a scale that professional sellers would, but may still have a following or a social media presence.

What are the sellers’ main goal?

Selling more to buy more

Based on the fact that 82% of sellers are not professional sellers, it makes sense that most participants surveyed did not care a lot about maximizing their profit. Individual sellers prioritize making enough profit in order to fund their book reading habits and clearing out their space to make space for new books.

Negotiation Results

Most sellers surveyed did not prioritize negotiating prices with buyers

That was a surprising finding since several Pangobooks users expressed an interest in a negotiatIon system. Because I didn’t know how to interpret this finding, I decided to ask follow up questions to gather more insights.

Insights from negotiators

The pros of negotiating

#1. Bundle offers

Making offers on bundles is beneficial, especially for used books, which are harder to sell individually and are priced lower than new ones. The benefits are multiple: more book shelf space, less trips to the post office, less packaging.

#2. Collectibles/ Rare books

Buyers that collect rare books have a set budget that they want to meet. To meet their budget, they are more likely to negotiate the price with the seller.

Insights from non-negotiators

The cons of negotiating

#1. Sellers lose profit when negotiating for a lower price due to selling fees.

For example, Pangobooks charges 20% selling fee, which is significant when users negotiate for a discounted price. As a result, sellers whose goal is to maximize their profits do not like to negotiate.

#2. Sellers feel uncomfortable having to haggle every time to secure a sale

Mercari, for example, has a variety of features available that allow both buyers and seller to haggle, so much so that buyers will haggle for most items they are interested in. Unfortunately, sellers cannot opt out of this feature. As a result, sellers are discouraged to use a platform that uses haggling as a default option and doesn’t allow users to have much control over it.

Buyer Habits

25-34

67% of participants were of the age 25-34 years old

At least once a month

48% of interviewees purchase books at least once a month

Printed

94% of buyers prefer to buy books in printed form

Buyer motivations

What do buyers value the most when deciding on a purchase?

Book condition, competitive pricing, and free shipping are top considerations

According to the above results, most buyers will spend most of their energy trying to find the best condition for the best price.

  • Participants like to compare prices of books between different vendors in order to get the best deal.

  • Participants are attracted to free shipping and will often purchase more books at a time (bundles) in order to save on shipping.

Based on this information, I assumed there is an opportunity for users to save even more if they are able to negotiate a fair price for bundles.

USER INTERVIEWS

Since I wanted to dive deeper into buyer and seller motivations, user and needs behind negotiating, I decided to conduct interviews.

Age 26-45 years old, 4 buyers and 1 Pangobooks seller

  • Book lovers

  • People that have an interest in selling or buying used books

Moderated remote user interviews via Zoom 45 minutes long

KEY FINDINGS FROM AFFINITY MAPPING

#1. Buyers are skeptical about initiating negotiations

Buyers sometimes feel lost about coming up with a good offer to suggest and are anxious that they might come off as rude. Other times, they are afraid of being portrayed as stealing from the seller or being “cheap”.

#2. Buyers do not like the back and forth of negotiating

Users would prefer it if they had a more impersonal and straightforward way of sending offers to the seller, since messaging directly takes time and is more confrontational than they are comfortable with.

Knowing this, I wanted to come up with a solution that would facilitate the process of negotiations, allowing sellers to have more control over negotiations, while also making it less intimidating for buyers to participate in negotiations

IDEATE

How might we foster a positive and productive negotiation interaction between buyers and sellers in the platform?

I used analogous inspiration combined with a time constraint session in order to brainstorm ideas. Analogous inspiration helped me the most because I analyzed how successful marketplaces, like Ebay and Mercari, tackle user needs within their negotiation systems.

feature roadmap

I placed higher priority on the features that were essential for a successful negotiation interaction - the option to make an offer, the option to opt-out of negotiations, the option for sellers to send offers to interested buyers, smart offers and bundle offers. The rest of the features in the roadmap are meant to address the concerns that certain users had while negotiating prices. Due to the lower utility of these features and limited time, I placed them lower in the priority scale.

THE user flows

In order to add the new negotiation feature, I had to construct a user flow that utilized existing elements of the app and that was intuitive to both buyers and sellers.

Why add the new feature on the app? I decided to incorporate it on the app since the app allowed for more functionalities, such as “listing books to sell”. In addition to that, since more than 50% of Pangobooks users visit the website on their phone, I assumed that they would be managing their account on the app more frequently than on the website.

Among other things, the user flows helped me explore:

  • What pages to include the “make an offer” button in

  • At what stage would users be asked to input their payment information, since the offers are binding

  • What scenarios may lead to the user not wanting to accept an offer and what alternative actions would encourage further engagement

TASK flows

I created four task flows, two for sellers and two for buyers, in order to see how both types of users would interact with the new feature.

My main challenges with these flows were:

  • To find a starting and ending point that felt intuitive to the user, for example the notification directing the user to the listing negotiation area instead of the cart

  • To ensure that previewing the offer before sending it is a useful step in the negotiation process instead of being redundant (and validating that through user testing)

SELLER TASK FLOWS

Buyer TASK FLOWS

LOW FIDELITY WIREFRAMES

Below I am showing how I integrated the new feature into the Pangobook’s original account page, my listings page and my cart page (buyers’ flow).

high FIDELITY WIREFRAMES

Buyer Task Flow 1: Make a bundle offer

Buyer Task Flow 2: Edit bundle offer and resend

TESTING

User testing was done to the 5 interviewees (age 27-45) that ranged from avid readers and book industry professionals to occasional readers. The interviews were conducted remotely through Zoom.

Tasks tested:

  • 2 seller flows (sending bulk offers to buyers that have added the seller’s item in the cart, sending a counteroffer to a buyer’s counteroffer)

  • 2 buyer flows (adding two items in the cart and sending a bundle offer to seller, editing a bundle offer after one of the items in the bundle was sold)

I would like to know

  • How satisfied are both buyers and sellers with their experience of the “make an offer” feature?

  • How likely are users to adopt the new feature? What motivates them or does not motivate them to use it?

Success Metrics

Most participants made at least one error during the usability test.

Users were able to recover from their errors quickly. The main error that users were experiencing was that they couldn’t identify the tabs on the top section of the “My Listings” page. 1 out of 5 participants wasn’t able to complete one of the tasks because of this error.

Since these tabs are already part of Pangobook’s current design system, I tried to find a solution that would not require altering them.

Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones

$15

Send offer to carts

2

4

Home

Feed

Sell

Wishlist

Account

Namina Forna

The Gilded Ones

$15

Send offer to carts

2

4

Kerri Maniscalco

Kingdom of the Feared (Fairyloot)

$50

Send offer to carts

2

2

Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Rsoses (Collector’s Editions)

$45

Send offer to carts

1

2

Home

Feed

Sell

Wishlist

Account

In Carts

3

Wishlisted

4

Offers Sent

0

Listed

5

10:49

61%

Search...

Rate of ease

How satisfied are users with their experience of the “make an offer” feature?

A Feature that supports Negotiations and drives sales

The feature was received really positively. All the above testimonials validated that the new feature would help anxious buyers gain more confidence in asking for a discount, as well as make it easy for buyers and sellers to negotiate and give them a sense of control. Sellers in particular felt confident that having the new feature would drive more sales by removing the friction of direct messaging.

REVISIONS

Prioritization

I analyzed the user’s feedback on a matrix of severity vs frequency. I focused on iterating on the outlined feedback, since they were the most frequent and of higher severity.

FINAL PROTOTYPE

Clicking on each screen will start the prototype.

Sending bulk offers to carts

Making a counteroffer to a buyer’s counteroffer

Sending a bundle offer to seller

Editing bundle offer with sold item

Pangobook’s Input on “Make on Offer” Feature

Since I wanted to learn more about Pangobooks’ business goals, I asked the head of marketing a few questions regarding the make an offer feature.

Pangobooks and myself have had common concerns regarding the feature, some of them being that buyers may initiate offers even if they are willing to pay full price or lowball their offers.

Another consideration is that Pango consists of a small team with the main goal of prioritizing different good competing ideas against each other and fixes that developers need to work on.

wHAT i LEARNED

Not letting assumptions get in the way of my research

Having a background in online selling, I made from the start assumptions of what I expected the interviewees to respond, which led me to ask questions with a solution in mind. Discussing with my design peers and being reminded that I need to start my research with an open mind and focus on understanding buyer and user motivations first, helped me gain my focus back and get more valuable insights in the end.

Working with the current design system enhances consistency, but has its limitations

Working with the Pangobooks’ current design system accelerated my design process as I didn’t have to create all elements from scratch. However, I was restricted from iterating on Pangobooks’ current design elements, which affected my usability test results. The information I got from my usability testing was still valuable and was an opportunity for me to suggest solutions that worked well with the current state of the Pangobook’s UI system.

wHAT i would have done differently

Using a more advanced questionnaire would have yielded more useful results

If I were to use a more advanced questionnaire, I would have been able to combine different statistics together and gather more cohesive insights. For example, if I was able to measure what “x%” of negotiators were both buyers and sellers or were using only one platform or multiple for selling, would have helped making connections and forming a more representative persona.

NEXT STEPS

  • Test revisions during second round of usability testing with primarily Pangobooks users

  • Designing elements necessary for a complete negotiation system, such as the My Offers Page

Let’s connect!

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