Hoopla supports local stores and businesses

With nowadays technology and online commerce, local businesses are struggling to make it and reach to their customers due to the multiple reasons; such as lack of advertisement and the tendency of users to search for what they want online primarily Amazon.

This problem will have a negative impact in future, would result in closing down businesses, employees go out of work, and unemployment.

I observe and note local stores deserve to promote their products and consumers need to know what they have on their shelves.

I walk in downtown Toronto, and I am amazed by stores that are beautifully designed, the unique personality they bring to the city. Those shops bring joy and life to our streets, imagine the city without them? It would be a ghost city without them! How come stores are vanishing?

I am one of those guys who enjoy a walk down the street and discover those unique shops/stores.

Opportunity

The idea began and started brainstorming how to make those businesses reach to the audience as much as possible to save and promote those local businesses and offer another medium to shoppers rather than having malls and online as limited options.

There is no way, we as users or consumers would check each store’s website even if each has one. I saw an opportunity to design a platform where stores in the city could find online.

Solution

Designed a simple platform categorized into three categories;

  • Clothing and accessories — Stores
  • Beauty and wellness — Stores
  • General, antique and gift — stores

Each category can explore with filtered feature location and price.

The second main feature is the ability to message/chat with any store this will create engagement and customer service.

The Design Process

Brainstorming stage

Research

I have conducted an online survey about mainly where do users first go when checking products.

The survey insights and information collected:

57.1% of people often search for products online it is the first place consumers go to check. the top sources are Google and Amazon than other online sites.

People also do go to physical stores for window shopping and if they like something they order it online or the make sure how is the product look in real life before ordering it online.

More than some are not aware of local stores in their city and mostly spend their time searching online, with this said the online shopping is not the best when it comes to experience and product, I find out that users have the following problems when shopping online:

  • the desire to have a preference filter when search online that contains prices, shipping time, colour and sizes when it comes to clothing and shoes
  • Poor describing of the products and delivery problems sometimes
  • Nearby search results
  • lack of :

1- Reviews from people who purchased the products

2- Quality images

3- Shipping fees

4- Colours and sizes

Designing Hoopla

The first version of hoopla before any usability testing:

When I have asked users to look for a store name they did not know where to start as the homepage was confusing the buttons were not clear, and descriptions were confusing as well.

I included other categories within the platform, it was too broad, and it doesn’t target the solution I am designing. I have pivoted to focus on three products that are related.

The second version of hoopla after usability testing:

With the focus on three main related local business industry and better user experience the user now can click on any of those three categories and browse through the stores that could be based on location and price range and chat with the store about an items/products.

Conclusion

Consumers are going online and to the mall to do their shopping, we are seeing small businesses are struggling to survive among advanced competitors with lack of use of digital marketing and technology.

Hoopla is here to support local businesses that deserve to be known and offer users variety of unique items and reasonable prices.

Hoopla is a platform for local stores to market their products and reach to large consumers a key feature is to provide communication between stores and customers. a future development feature is to add online stores.

Prototype

https://invis.io/2GJY022VACX#/294230379_RISQUE_Store_2

A product and business designer. Interested in startups, yoga, philosophy, and perfumes. Ahmed.abousuwa@gmail.com