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Buying used cars online
– CASE STUDY
International car retailer
How do you convince people to buy a used car online that they can't take for a test drive? Honesty, transparency, storytelling!
The challenge & outcome
As a consultant at In2media, I was the UX lead on a pitch and project proposal for an international car retailer. The client wanted to provide costumers with an easy and safe platform for buying used cars online.
The client wanted a modern platform and specifically asked for "an Airbnb experience" that users would find trustworthy and safe. We pitched a platform based on the values of transparency and honesty. We provided a project pitch with a design proposal, information architecture, and overall UX principles.
I was the UX lead in the pitch production. My role was to develop the UX principles and conduct the interviews. I furthermore created the information architecture and gave input to the design work in regards to getting the right narratives across in the design.
Main activities in the project
Formulation of UX principles.
Defining storytelling strategy.
Wireframe and design sparring.
and UX principles!
We performed five quick 'n dirty interviews with users in the client's main target group (second-time car buyers). We wanted to gain insights into the process of buying a car (what are the steps? what goes into the decision? what does the journey look like?) and general perceptions of online shopping.
Based on interviews, we outlined the customer lifecycle for car purchase and identified key drivers for each of the steps in the cycle. The lifecycle allowed us to identify new business opportunities beyond the initial scope from the client. For instance, there is great potential in serving people's everyday need and use of a car (giving customers the same experience as leasing a car).
As part of the pitch, we created the initial steps towards a UX principles for the site. The principles were developed based on user interviews and heuristic analysis of similar online shopping experiences. We defined four overarching UX principles that had to permeate all design decisions throughout the process.
Real life narratives
To create "an Airbnb experience" we worked strategically with storytelling. From the interviews, we found that the motivation behind a car purchase is often connected to some life event (such as family addition, new job, aging). We saw these life events as ideal triggers to address in the platform. We also wanted to give the site a different feel than the picturesque style often used in promotional material for news cars. Instead, we wanted to make the stories as real as possible. We wanted people to be able to relate to the stories (he doesn't have to load a too small car with too much baby gear?).
Buy without trying
Users are not able to test drive the car before buying it on the platform. We, therefore, wanted to make sure that users felt safe and that information about the car was presented as honest and trustworthy as possible. In the interviews, we found that people generally test drive for two reasons: To experience the car model and to get a closer look at the specific car. To compensate for this, we introduced different interactive elements that would help the users to both get a feeling of the spaciousness of the car model as well as getting an honest introduction to the used car.
High quality - yet honest! – media elements of the actual car were used to make users feel comfortable and secure. Besides the regular images and video, we added "listen to the motor" as a humorous detail
Unfortunately, we did not win the project (due to price, I believe). However, the platform has since been created by someone else with a lot of overlapping elements from our pitch both in terms of UX principles and graphic design.