ECommerce Application Design
WithMe tasked me to update their existing application to be fully responsive, and fit a much more broad range of screen resolutions. The challenge was that we needed to keep the entire basic structure and design language and complete the process within a few short months.
Helping Small Businesses Advance
WithMe Business (Previously OrderWithMe) is an ordering and financial technology platform that helps small businesses work together with purchasing cooperatives to smooth cash flow and increase purchasing power. Many cooperatives in the United States are still using paper catalogs for their members to browse and build orders. WithMe changes all of that. A simple, intuitive platform that gives access to all of the catalogs, unifies communication and allows easy financing for large purchases.
Initially tasked to re-create marketing material for OrderWithMe, I quickly found myself working with the product team to do a responsive redesign for an e-commerce product. The catch: We had a short period to redesign, test, and implement the design. OrderWithMe was rapidly growing, and the design and platform had to be easy not just for our customers to learn, but for our employees as well. We fought the clock, and released a fully responsive redesign and feature set and met our goal in time for the largest cooperative conference in the US.
Features and Growth
What began as a temporary redesign turned into a complete overhaul. Our customers were delighted to have a streamlined design to simplify the most daunting and stressful aspects of their businesses. We implemented the ability for our users to split shipments and orders to multiple locations and finance their purchases directly within the platform. We used this platform and simplicity to onboard the largest franchise group in the country, leveraging the unique flexible payment platform and invoicing features.
Not Quite SaaS
When creating B2B apps, there are generally very few ways that are commonly excepted for small startups to go – giving your app away for free, or charging a monthly rate – but we decided that these methods wouldn't work for low-income small businesses.
With many of our users being bakers, bike shop owners, and high-volume low-margin businesses, we found a better solution to keep their costs low was a percentage-based model. This can be seen in the last of the 3 cards below.
This created interesting design and feature challenges to overcome during the imagination phase, and as a team, we discovered many diverse ideas to help increase conversions and complete sales. It was a much-appreciated divergence from the traditional SASS model, which allowed for new processes, observations, and interactions to be employed.
Lessons Learned – Small Teams Can Move Fast
At WithMe, our team was only about 20 people when I joined. The development and product teams combined were about 9 people including Quality Assurance. When we were instructed to rebuild most of the application from scratch I may have had some doubts on such a short timeframe and an even smaller team. There were many roles that needed to be filled to allow us to focus on our individual areas 100% of our time.
While working with a startup, payroll is often the largest burn rate, and hiring isn't always a solution. This means that everyone has to wear many different hats in which they may not always be comfortable. A UX Designer doing Quality Assurance. A Front End Developer writing Database Code, etc. The comradery that is created by working together in difficult roles in phenomenal, and increases learning productivity exponentially.
My largest take away from working as a UX Designer at WithMe, is smaller teams are often the ones to make the impossible a reality, and as we grow as a company together, the larger the company becomes the more you realize how much you have each grown in many different roles within the company. Small Teams may be the most efficient creators and learners, and the comradery that's created is often the same thing that helps early products become so successful.