Design: Photoshop, InVision
Business: Market Research & Strategy
This case competition had the very open-ended question of “How can Shopify turn aspirational entrepreneurs into successful entrepreneurs”, with an aspirational entrepreneur being defined as “anyone who has the interest to start a business, but have not done so yet”.
It was our job to research the problem space, identify opportunities while analysing the competition, and create a presentation based on our business/product solution.
Working in a team of 3 with Aniket Patel, Aaron Yim, and Victor Valencia, we conducted market research, ideation, design, mockups, and prototyping of our product, which we called Shopify Link. A presentation was also created and rehearsed, outlining our product and where it fit into Shopify’s business. This was accomplished within the case competition deadline of 5 days.
I lead the design ideation process, using personas and the Value Proposition Canvas to generate features which would eventually be displayed in the mockups. Later, I created the prototype in InVision and provided guidance on iterating our presentation.
Starting from a user centric standpoint, we listed all the potential steps between an aspiring entrepreneur and a successful entrepreneur. Next, we explored Shopify’s existing ecosystem, and mapped out which products corresponded to which steps, and which user pains.
From Shopify’s online storefronts to Shopify Capital, entrepreneurs have many tools to grow and execute their businesses.
However, there was a gap in the entrepreneurship “value chain” as we called it, particularly upstream in the ideation process. Aspiring entrepreneurs may have ideas and even product designs, but never execute because there is too much friction in creating it. Without a physical product they cannot use Shopify’s eCommerce platform to sell it.
A roadblock in the entrepreneurship value chain:
We backed up our findings with data, including survey results on the difficulty felt by new businesses when setting up their supply chain.
A target customer audience was selected, and a persona was created to help with the rest of the ideation process. Out of the types of entrepreneurs we classified, Shopify Link was made for the “side hustler”, a group of people who wanted to start a business on the side for some extra money.
It was determined that this demographic were the most likely to have an idea, but not follow through with it due to the complexity and friction of bringing their product to reality. Without a product, they cannot sell on Shopify, and Shopify cannot make money from their subscription and business transactions. The following user story was presented:
Using the Value Proposition Canvas framework, I lead the discussion on mapping out user pains and gains to our solution’s pain killers and gain creators.
These were translated into product and feature requirements, with the help of further research into standard industry practices (warehousing, drop shipping, service agreement components, etc).
Design and Prototype
Mockups were created based on discussed user flows and features. These were stitched into an InVision prototype, and displayed within our presentation at the event.