To increase sales through MUJI’s online store, we were tasked to redesign the store through a modern and responsive site. Taking a physical experience online and to visually redesign MUJI, known for its no-frills and simple design, was going to be a challenge.
To identify the market MUJI’s online store serves and to understand the consumer behaviour of those who prefer to or only shop at MUJI’s physical stores. By uncovering the problems MUJI customers face shopping online or offline, we can design solutions leveraging upon the MUJI online store to improve their overall shopping experience.
MUJI’s physical stores are designed with senses (touch, smell, sight) in mind. How can we take this experience online?
We wanted to know how many consumers actually knew about MUJI’s online store and decided to run a quick survey.
- 27 out of 33 rated their familiarity of the MUJI brand a 4 out of 5 and above.
- All of them have visited MUJI at least once.
- Only 10 out of 33 have visited MUJI’s online store before.
We explored these numbers further by conducting face-to-face user interviews. With the context, pain, pleasure, and behaviour points gathered from our interviews, we could identify unique characters that we identified as MUJI’s three main consumer personas.
While keeping all three Personas in mind, we decided to focus on Ruth first due to time constraints. As Ruth is a high-value customer who purchases both clothes and bulky home products, which offer fairly different information, we needed to make sure that the process of browsing and purchasing products from both categories is equally considered.
We also conducted a Heuristic Evaluation of the existing site to pinpoint problematic areas, and a Competitive Analysis to sieve out features that could enhance a customer’s experience or increase sales on the MUJI’s online store. By mapping out our key Persona’s journey, we could also identify areas of opportunity that we could improve on with the online store.
We then conducted several rounds of timed design studios to further explore ideas around our problems and opportunities. We also researched further on ecommerce websites and their best practices to improve user learnability and efficiency by having a familiar interface. We ended up with a multitude of ideas that we had to prioritise and then wireframe.
Design Studio is a pretty easy and effective way of generating lots of ideas and validating them in very little time.
Working on a ‘responsive’ design meant that we had to consider mobile, tablet, and desktop interfaces at the same time while still maintaining the user’s flow. This was particularly difficult to achieve as smaller screen sizes meant that less information is shown on the screen at any one time and relied more heavily on intuitive gestures (eg. pinching, swiping). Mobile screens also present information more linearly, as the user’s field of vision is limited to the width of the screen and the (mostly) vertical scrolling. On a desktop screen however, there are a myriad of areas a user can look at (or miss).
We were also working mobile-first on this project for a few reasons and assumptions:
- The point of discovery of the online store is at the physical store, through social media, or e-mailers.
- Our busy Personas are more likely to browse and purchase from the online store if it were optimised to their devices.
Testing with users
Due to time constraints, we didn’t have many interactions available in our prototype yet so we simply wanted to observe how users browse, where they’d press, and what they’d expect. Would they press on the tiny squares or click through to the item page to preview colours? Can they check out their purchases without too many hiccups? Well…
- Users would click through via the product image (but when the prototype lagged for one user, she tried clicking on the squares as well).
- Another user expected a quick view of the product page.
- Users also tried to zoom into the product previews at the product page.
- At the order review screen, a user tried to go “back” to review delivery once more but there was no option to do so, so they exited the process via the MUJI home icon.
We conducted two rounds of Usability Testing, mainly focusing on the mobile site to iron out the details in the user’s purchasing flow.
WHAT I’VE LEARNT
With too many ideas and too little time to implement, we needed to manage our time effectively. One of the major takeaways is flexibility - being comfortable with change. Plans change rapidly along the way with new discoveries and new ideas.
We also learnt to prioritise. We each had ideas we wanted to implement but not without completing the minimum product with the most important features first. We had to understand and work with the limits of our resources.