A white-label platform for laundry service companies
At the beginning of the year, a friend asked for my help with the product design aspect of his new startup. The startup will provide a platform targeted to laundry services to automate their online retail. Small companies that don't have the money to invest into fully tailored solutions but would beneift from a white-label, easly customizable platform.
My task was to design an app that is simple and offers the basic services a laundries would need. The app has to look generic enough as a baseline so that it can be personalized by each client.
We started with the flows and wireframes and once we were happy with how it worked, I created an interface that's unadorned and generic so it can be adapted to a plethora of brands.
I want to explore four fundamental flows of the customer facing app:
- authentication & account creation,
- order placing,
- managing of ongoing or past orders and
- addresses management.
Authentication & Account Creation
The minimum necessary data we need for a customer to start ordering is their name and phone number and a delivery address where items have to be picked up and dropped off.
The solution takes the mobile first approach of authentication:
- a user only needs his phone number as their identification,
- the OTP acts as the password for the service,
- adding the delivery & pickup address is part of the onboarding flow.
In these three steps, a user can get their account set up so they can place an order immediately.
Placing an Order
Like any other ecommerce platform, the basic functionality is very straightforward. You have items, separated in categories, that can be added to the cart. Unlike a lot of other stores though, the number of choices are small and we can keep all the items on a single list, forgoing pagination, but still providing some small navigational affordances like jumping to certain categories and search.
There is a bit of complexity too. First of all, for each item, the customer has to decide what type of laundry service will be done to it. Secondly a customer should be able to have multiple same-type items to the cart, but marked for different services. Let’s say, as an example, you need to dry-wash two pairs of suit trousers, wash one pair of jeans and wash and press a pair of chinos. You have to add four trousers to the cart, but differently treated. To communicate these to the customer, we needed to simplify some interactions.
- The services are presented as radio buttons and we present the services as mutually exclusive. It’s the job of the admin to group jobs that are possible together. This reduces confusion in three ways: people see all the possible combinations, you don’t need to create special rules to handle incompatible actions (wash and dry-clean at the same time for example), you can offer a special bundle price for combined services and the math is easier for the customer.
- The same item can be added multiple times to the basket with different services selected for each one. And, more importantly, one can change the quantity of items and services attached to them without going to the basket page.
The other customer experience improvement is offering the option for the customer to select their pickup and delivery dates and hour intervals. This benefits both the customer and the business.
- The customer has agency of when to interact with the service.
- The business can communicate better the available delivery slots and their timelines and optimize their transport operations.
- There is a possibility for up-selling quicker turn-around times for customers who are in a hurry.
Orders are the heart of the app. The home page is divided in four areas placed by importance and proximity to easily reachable screen areas: offers, starting a new order, the status of ongoing orders and completed orders.
Knowing the status of your ongoing order and placing a new one should be obvious, learning the offers should be easy and seeing your past orders should be possible. This is why placing new orders and ongoing orders are in the middle to bottom part of the first screen fold; the prime real estate for handheld devices. The offers are at the top; highly visible but require a bit of a finger reach. And, mostly after the fold, are the past orders.
When the customer opens the app, they can start a new order and understand in an instant in what part of the process their ongoing order is, when is it due to be delivered and how much it was. All at the most convenient finger placement.
Address management follows best practices of other delivery & pickup apps when it comes to the interaction. It leverages Google Maps API to help customers place themselves on the map and provide details of delivery. These GPS locations will help the laundry operations to optimize the routes.
At this moment, this app has not been launched yet. I am very excited for people to start using it and to see where we can take this further.