Evgenii Khomutov
Chemondis – one of the leading B2B marketplaces in Europe in the chemical industry
Role Product designer
Platform Web/Mobile
Year 2023-ongoing
Product Chemondis is an innovative B2B marketplace platform specifically designed for the chemical industry. It caters to two user groups: suppliers and buyers. Suppliers have the opportunity to showcase their product portfolio, discover new business opportunities, and expand their sales channels. Buyers can easily find suppliers for the products they need. The platform boasts participation from over 10,000 companies and has facilitated trades exceeding €1 billion in GMV.
Context At the start, Chemondis aimed to be a one-stop platform for all user interactions. However, we hit a significant roadblock: users often preferred email for their conversations, leading to a noticeable dip in platform retention.
Research Realizing user retention was dropping because they preferred email, we started a research phase. Our goal was to find out why users chose email over our platform.
Problem After interviewing users about why they preferred email over our platform, we discovered two main reasons: Users thought email was easier and more familiar, suggesting our platform's messaging tools were too complex or inefficient; Users mentioned our platform didn't have features they needed for good communication, like sending messages quickly or discussing details in real-time.
In short, users want an easy and clear way to communicate with other companies on our platform.
Our current solution, failed all demands: The message field is tucked away in the request form, not easily seen by users until they attempt to send a request; Messages can't be sent without a product request. To ask a question, buyers must send a product request to suppliers, which isn't always needed.
Design phase After gathering feedback, we began to consider solutions for the current user issues. We explored various options, but only one seemed capable of addressing all problems simultaneously, so we decided to concentrate on that solution.
I studied chat processes in many services and found that chat interfaces are usually similar across platforms. My aim was to develop a chat feature that's both familiar and unique, leveraging our platform's strengths. I explored the various applications, asking: How can we create something similar, but enhance it with our unique components and functions?
Therefore, I came up with the following chat view: Independent chat not tied to requests for simpler conversations; All chats with companies are stored in one place for quick access; Inclusion of company contact details and information within the chat for context; The ability to see related requests and offers in the chat to aid in decision-making. I created an initial version of our chat feature for user testing. It was crucial to check if this version effectively addressed their communication problems.
After testing, There were several important findings: Users quickly understood and liked the option to start chats without needing a request first; They enjoyed how chats were organized by company, making it easy to find all relevant information, like past requests or offers, in one spot; Buyers particularly valued being able to talk things over before making a request, especially when they wanted to combine products into one delivery; For suppliers, the chat opened up a new way to find potential leads. However, after testing the prototype, we realized that the chat needs to better match the platform's overall design, as the initial version stood out too much from the rest of our site. Additionally, we identified several critical areas for improvement: The need for flexibility in modifying a product after a request has been made; The necessity to decouple chat from requests, making chats easier to start.
Following extensive testing and user feedback, we realized the chat feature significantly enhances communication. This feedback not only confirmed our idea but also highlighted improvement areas.
Delivery phase Kicking off the Delivery phase, we prioritized developing a comprehensive user flow for the chat feature.
Over two months, with design revisions, prototype tests, and teamwork with product managers and developers, we turned complex decisions into a solid design plan. For our MVP, we made the strategic decision to postpone certain appealing but non-essential features which allowed us to cut development time nearly in half, including: Messaging unregistered users; A spam blocking mechanism. The following images showcase the culmination of our efforts: the final design of our MVP chat feature.
Of course, these screens give a brief idea of what we did. In reality, there were many more screens, mockups, states and prototypes to test.
Result After launching the chat feature, we waited to see how it would perform. The data soon revealed not only an increase in user engagement but a significant decrease in off-platform email exchanges. It was a clear sign that we were not just meeting but exceeding our objectives.
total number of requests per day in daily active users reduction in Off-Platform Communication
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