Jumbotail wholesale marketplace
Wholesale food and grocery app for local convenience stores in India (also called kirana stores)

About Jumbotail

Jumbotail is an early stage startup with the vision to organize the food and grocery ecosystem in India. The company is currently building an online marketplace for food and grocery, targeted at wholesale buyers. I was one of the core team members at the startup, the first designer and set up most of the design processes and culture for the organization. Here I worked on multiple products end to end including the customer app, last mile app, warehousing and inventory portal, customer delight portal as well as the corporate website.

Understanding the context

Over a period of 1 year and 8 months at Jumbotail, I interacted with 200+ kirana shop owners and multiple wholesale sellers both on the field as well as by inviting them over to our office and conducting research sessions with them. Here are some of the interesting observations from the field to establish context on the nature of the target audience and their context.

AT THE CENTRAL MARKET

Kirana store owners who travel to the central markets to procure agricultural produce, often end up having to manage their own transportation.

The central markets are often crowded with goods trucks occupying most of the space making it difficult for smaller shop owners to move their goods.

CHOOSING PRODUCTS AND QUANTITIES

A ₹1 hair oil pocket that can be bought only in entire strips of 108 pockets in each strip.

Oil pouches that typically are bought in boxes but can also be bought in loose.

25-50kg rice bags that can be bought in any number as per their requirement.

TRACKING ORDERS AND PAYMENTS

Most kirana store owners maintain multiple notebooks for taking orders from their customers, tracking credit given and owed and tracking when to restock.

Local languages mixed with English was most commonly used.

COMPLEXITIES IN CHOOSING PRODUCTS

Local brands that look extremely similar to more popular brands but are lower priced and have higher margins for the store owners.

Quality of rice is generally understood by the shop owners based on how it cooks, amount of water required and the texture and color of the cooked rice.

Understanding perceived groups for information hierarchy

Card sorting exercises were conducted with the kirana store owners in their own contexts at their stores to better understand how they perceived the different groups of products and brands that they usually buy. To initiate it as a continuous process, I personally visited 11 different stores to conduct these card sorting activities while also training some of the folks from the cataloguing team to conduct this independently in order to scale the process.

Card sorting with kirana store owners

Categories for product discovery

Based on the above research learnings, following are some of the categories and their respective labels that emerged for product discovery on the app.

And more...

Co-creation Sessions

Conducted multiple co-creation, brainstorming and design thinking sessions for the team to capture and explore multiple ideas quickly.

Some of the co-creation sessions in action

Wireframes and sketches for initial ideas

Initial ideas and wireframes were mostly hand drawn in order to move fast, get feedback and narrow down on the right set of concepts.

Initial wireframes for the customer app

The Jumbotail app

The what and the why behind key design decisions

1. Home page with both brand and category based discovery

The context
Kirana store owners exhibited mainly 2 types of mental models in browsing what they wanted to buy. Those that they associate with distributors, companies and brands. And others that they associate more with the type or category of products.

Brand based discovery
Popular brands are listed upfront for customers to be able to get to those products quickly.

Category based discovery
The categories as derived from the multiple card sorting studies helps customers discover other products that are not primarily brand based.

2. Easy access to all brands

All brands in one place
Discovery tab with an all brands listing for quickly finding products with a brand recall.

3. Category experience

Only some brands of rice have recall
Only select brands in the commodities segment have a brand recall as most other brands in the market don’t remain active for too long.

Subcategories discovery
Almost all kirana shop owners sell rice in loose form. Hence there is a strong association of buying by the type of rice as these are not packaged products.

4. Browsing brands via their parent company or manufacturer

Brand and offline distributor associations
Companies and brands have a strong recall value as the kirana store owners deal with the company distributors on a daily basis. In this case, if a kirana wanted to order Maggi they would first think of Nestle as the entity selling it.

Visually heavy on the brand
The store owners often had smaller devices and typically kept their phones at the lowest brightness levels as they keep using their phones throughout the day. Hence the decision to keep much bigger brand logos with accentuated brand colors. The guidelines for these were provided to the cataloguing team.

5. Browsing product lines within a brand

Stronger brand recall than manufacturer in some cases
Some brands have a higher recall value than the company or distributor supplying it in the physical space. E.g. Parachute as a brand has a higher recall value than Marico which is it’s parent entity.

Visually emulate product line graphics
Product lines within branded products often had visual cues that customers would refer to like ‘the orange one’, ‘the pink one’, etc. Hence the design guidelines for representing the product lines focussed on using the packaging graphics and accentuating them for better recognition.

6. Product listing with all SKUs of a product line

MRPs as a way to quickly find the right SKU
The store owners were pretty well versed with MRPs of each SKU and used that as a way to identify products even in the offline space.

Margins as the data point for decision making
We observed during the initial studies that customers did not look too much at the actual price but rather the margin.

7. Product details with multiple volume based pricing

Quick quantity selections based on volume pricing
Store owners are pretty familiar with volume based pricing that they get offline as well. Usually these volumes refer to the quantities that are packaged within a box or a bundle. Leveraging this knowledge helped us design a scalable way to have volume pricing across SKUs irrespective of whether it came in a box, a bag, a strip or just in loose.

8. Checkout

Summary before confirmation
The cart shows a summary of the order totals along with the delivery fees.

Quick actions
On the cart, the customer can also quickly make some quantity adjustments before placing the order.

Further Explorations

Tweaks to the product details page

Tags for identifying nuances
Some product packaging would look very similar and lead to incorrect SKUs being ordered. This shows an example of a tag calling out ‘Thick Flakes’ as the same product line comes in both thick and thin flakes variant.

Popup bubble for quantity change
While interacting with the plus and minus, it was noticed that the user’s fingers often covered the area which calls out the amount. Hence a popup bubble was introduced to momentarily show up during the interaction for assisting in the right selection.

Best value highlighted
In case of volume pricings, customers needed to go through multiple pricings to understand the best value. The ‘Jumbo value’ tag was introduced to assist in quickly identifying this.

Exploration for depicting quality of rice

Raw vs cooked rice
A common way to judge the quality of rice in the offline space is to cook the rice and check it for yourself. Ideally customers would like their rice not to turn out sticky.

Water absorbing capacity
Usually all bags of rice indicate how much water is to be used with one cup of raw rice while cooking. This exploration looks at graphically representing this against the catalogued version of the cooked rice.

Prototyping and usability testing

Prototypes for different interactions were created using Proto.io. During usability testing, Lookback was used in order to capture the screen as well as the customer reactions and comments. Usability tests were carried out both in controlled environments in our office as well as in the customer’s context at their store.

Here are some videos from the usability tests.

A summary of more of my work at Jumbotail

Bolt - Inventory Management

Bolt is a web based product used by sellers in the Jumbotail Wholesale marketplace to maintain and track their inventory that is being sold on the Jumbotail app.

Dexter - Customer Delight Portal

Dexter is a web based product used by the customer delight and customer success teams to understand the customer’s context and resolve their issues.

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