Reducing the refund rate for guitar sellers on Reverb's marketplace.

Responsibilities: Define problems – map user flows – prototype interactions.
Date:October to December 2019
Context:Reverb is an online music marketplace where musicians can sell gear. Reverb's main user-base are guitar sellers. Often, guitar listings contain specific and unique information. Before purchase, it's important for potential buyers to read and understand this information.

A large number of guitar refunds were hurting the business.

Providing potential buyers with relevant photos and gear descriptions reduces chances of refund. Currently, Reverb's listing process lacks the capabilities to provide this information. This means that buyers may find issues with a guitar in-person that are not mentioned in its listing. Leading to a refund, a negative review and distrust of guitar sellers.

Thus, the success metric for this problem was: number of guitar sales without refund.

Figure 1 – The final prototype of listing a product on Reverb. HOVER TO PLAY VIDEO / CLICK TO PAUSE.

I researched further into what guitar sellers thought of Reverb's listing process. From the reviews left by these sellers, three areas for concern became clear.

Figure 2 – Seller reviews from Trustpilot and ResellerRatings suggesting the shortcomings of listing a product on Reverb.

Figure 3YouTube comments from guitar sellers discussing issues they run into with buyers.

Paint points:

Does the current listing system exacerbate these paint points?

The current system is not specific enough to the needs of guitar sellers. Whilst it is helpful in adding content, it does very little to add depth. Depth will allow a buyer to receive exactly what they see in a listing.

Figure 4Current interface fails to serve guitar sellers in many ways, causing the pain points above.

Which pain points could be resolved quickly + within current page?

Pain points 2 and 3 are a lot easier to solve within the current listing page. But, sellers are still likely to miss important information due to the fixed layout. So, it made sense to explore the new features as a flow, rather than a single page.

To do this, I made use of priority guides. Priority guides put a focus on content hierarchy within a 'mobile first' approach. Meaning, I could organise content and guide users through a more conversational flow.

Figure 5 – An example of a priority guide before and after form is given. The screen is a conversation the user can follow.

The revised features.

Figure 6 – The listing creation interface uses colour to signify CTA's and also follows Reverb's branding.

Goal of feature: guides sellers through the process of providing required photos. Notice the sub-headings and short descriptions. This aims to negate any confusion about what Reverb are looking for from the seller. Thus, buyers can gain a complete visual picture of the guitar.

Figure 7 – Tips are presented immediately to seller in a conversational manner. Styling of tips is bold and easily accessible to user when needed.

Goal of feature: Allows sellers to access relevant tips and suggestions when required. Meaning, they can provide the correct information without needing to access external pages. Therefore, listing will provide more reliable and relevant information to buyers.

User testing – solutions were successful but required more depth.

I reached out to the sellers who had left the negative reviews above. They were happy to be part of some user testing of the added features and made clear areas for refinement.

Figure 8 – Performing user testing on a friend who has been reluctant to sell on Reverb due to its impersonal listing experience. He was a lot more hopeful about the new features I had implemented.

“I know what photos have to go in each category but it would also be good if I could specify my own.”

“They give me information about what to do on each page which saves me time looking for help online.”

“I like that Reverb are helping me create a great listing, but how do I make sure customers read it all before purchasing it?”

The project success metric was met.

Before, sellers would have little access to tips and/or provide a lack of useful photos. Now, Reverb prompts relevant tips at each stage and guides sellers in providing one photo at a time.

What can Reverb do with this user feedback?

Reverb's success metric was increasing guitar sales without refund. As this was a re-design concept, this was not possible to test. But, based on the user feedback, we can assume the features would find some success if implemented.

Pain point 1 still requires a solution. It was a big issue among sellers. But, forcing buyers to read a listing in full before sale was too disruptive an idea. So, the next step would be to do further research into how to protect sellers from impulse buyers.

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