Analysing the Product as a User
Like most sites serving the classified ad space, Marktplaats is a product with an especially wide demographic.
Their Customer Segments can simply be boiled down into two main groups:
– People (Residents of The Netherlands) looking to buy, and
– People (Residents of The Netherlands) looking to sell.
These two groups can then be broken down further into Private and Business veins- but overall, at it’s most basic, those are who I found making use of the service.
Taking these two groups, I could visualise my Job Stories, and then User’s journeys. These were based in part on a recent personal experience with the service.
Full disclosure: The ‘Buyer’ in the above Job Story was myself.
Context: I was moving to a new house, in a new city, with my girlfriend. This one was considerably larger than the Studio Apartment we’d been living in before. My girlfriend and I would need more furniture to make this new space liveable.
I quickly found that asking any Dutch friend of mine where I should search to find a great deal– Marktplaats was the first word to come to mind.
So, the goal was set, but we were missing a Player:
At a certain point in every Marktplaats User’s journey, Buyer and Seller must overlap. There’s a moment when the two must interact with each other and these are where the emotional peaks and troughs show themselves most in the process.
A Marktplaats Buyer’s Journey is almost always prompted by a Need.
I need Goods or Services at a reasonable, If not especially cheap, price.
In this case, that need is our Buyer’s search for a Nachtkastje to put into their new home.
The first stage I recognised is an emotional trough. A low point.
We’ve searched elsewhere and everything is two or three times the price of our expectation. In our case, we’re frustrated and feel as if we’re at the end of our rope. We have a conversation with friends who say “Seriously, check Marktplaats!”.
So we do.
As we search, our spirits are raised to an emotional high by a combination of impressive asking prices and a wide range of options.
After a time figuring out the tool’s filtering system- a potential source of frustration, if only a brief and slight one- an enjoyment of the hunt kicks in. A sense of opportunity.
Our user slides through the results, dropping a star onto prospective purchases. There’s a lot of options to get through, quite a few prospects, that’s a positive.
Eventually, after overcoming the endless scroll trap (the hunt is fuelled in part by the endless scroll, suggesting endless options- similar to Facebook, or Pinterest), our user settles on a Nachtkastje and takes the leap to reach out to the chosen seller, hitting “Bericht”– perhaps even already convinced, our Buyer hits “Bieden”, pitching an opening price.
Only then, do Negotiations Begin.
(Top-tip: The more thrifty buyer sends out feeler messages/bids to multiple prospects, not putting all eggs into one basket).
The conversation continues and after some time, negotiations reach a head. The only thing left is both Buyer and Seller committing to the agreed price.
This is where tracking emotions takes an interesting turn: An emotional trough of Apprehension tends to reach our Buyer at this point.
One step away from commitment, our Buyer becomes reluctant. This requires reassurance from either a Seller, or a third-party (a friend, parent, sibling, etc.)- which then takes us to the final stages of Commitment, Agreement and Purchase.
Interviewing, Deep-diving, Affinity Mapping
Performing an in-depth analysis of the Marktplaats product and a series of Semi-structured Interviews allowed me to build a picture of the Product Strengths, Weaknesses, Problem Questions and User Needs– This picture took the form of the Affinity Map above.
The Affinity Map allowed me to identify and confirm the patterns between User and Business Needs- to focus my Solution-finding exercise.
Pain Points and Design Brief
The Pain Points/Problem Questions that follow were those proven valid throughout the extensive steps following my Lean UX Canvas- supported by excerpts from a few of my Semi-structured Interviews.
- How do I know I can trust who I’m buying from?
I’m just making sure that my ad is clear and in proper Dutch or English- like connected, responsive, normal.
- How does anyone know Marktplaats was where I found my bargain?
I’ve never felt the need (to use Marktplaats). Even though it’s usually good because it’s in the Netherlands itself.
Well, if you go to a shop. Then you know it, you can see it and you can touch it. So I try to connect that with the shop online and use those.
Thanks for reading!
This was Part 1: Knowing the Product, of a 3-part series called
“Marktplaats — A UX Case Study”
Continue to Part 2 : Setting the Brief (26/10/18)
or Part 3: Finding the Solution