Case Study

Empik - Functional, UX

About the company:

Empik.com is the largest online shop and cultural portal in Poland. It offers customers a unique mix of products: thousands of books, CD’s, movies, games, stationery and accessories, board games and tickets to various events. Each month the shop records a few million to several million hits.

Empik.com is not only a bookstore, we like to broaden our scope. There are cultural products and new categories: baby, toys, home and garden, interior decoration, health and beauty, and even electronics. Our customers are looking for such products, and we strive to give them a place where they can see all the articles and add them to their shopping cart. On our new site we have more information that our customers look for like recommendations and videos. The site has also changed aesthetically, and has been modernized.

Szymon Bujalski Director of E-commerce at Empik

In March 2017, a fresh Empik.com e-shop launched new products and categories. Empik.com has significantly expanded its offerings by adding the ‘click & collect’ option. The changes were also made on the mobile application and to the My Empik loyalty program, which, as of June 2017, is used by upwards of 2 million customers. According to the data, in 2016, Empik.com recorded an average of 8.5 million visits per month. By December, the number of visits exceeded 14 million per month and the average duration of a user’s visit had increased to 4:31 minutes, and the conversion rate also increased by more than 10% in the past year! By taking advantage of the opportunity to refresh the site, Empik dramatically enhanced their users’ experience resulting in more traffic and a higher conversion rate.

Starting situation:

In 2016, Empik decided to redesign their online store. The goal was to modernize the site, meet the needs of customers and increase the conversion rate of the sore. As Ecommerce director Szymon Bujalski said:

The old version of the site operated for 7-8 years, and we found out that we needed
to refresh it a bit and make it easier to manage. We have several hundred thousand
products on our platform and we decided to build everything from scratch and to do
it internally with the help of our developers.

Empik decided to work with us inthree areas:

  • Research with users
  • Support for designing a new version of the online store
  • Functional tests

Challenges:

 

  • Analyzing the problem
  • Understanding the needs and expectations of customers
  • Analysis of the existing site
  • Identifying areas where we could improve the intuitiveness of the site
  • Collaborating to create templates and prototypes of the new site
  • Verification of the designed mock-ups and prototypes using user-friendliness tests,
    analyzing the results and working to find the best solution
  • Achieving the main goal of optimizing the purchasing process
  • Verification of services by professional testers
  • Functional tests on various devices and browsers

UX Process Execution:

Step 1: Tests with users

During the first stage of designing the first mock-ups of the new store with the Empik team, we decided to verify them with usability tests. For the test we invited 32 people, including 16 who were regular customers and 16 who never had any contact with Empik.com. The study took place in a remote office with the help of moderators. The task of each tester was to go through scripted scenarios on both the desktop and mobile versions.
During our research we utilized loud thinking, which consists of continuous expression of thought by the researcher. This helped us to identify the main concerns of potential customers, and also to observe moments that had a negative impact on user experience.

Step 2: Design support

The first tests allowed the screens to be modified so that they were more user- friendly and understandable. Then, as we proceeded to the next step of redesigning the shopping cart and screens in the shopping process. Finally, a fully clickable, advanced prototype of the desktop and mobile site was developed, which we reassigned to the users for evaluation.

Step 3: Final review with users

We conducted another usability study with 32 users, under the watchful eye of a moderator. For this review, we created a pre-made, clickable prototype of the site for both the desktop and mobile versions. The prototype allowed users to go through the entire checkout process – from dropping the product into the basket, entering a discount code and placing an order.

Results:

On our collaboration with Empik.com, we delegated a team of 6 UX specialists: 4 UX researchers and 2 UX designers. Specialists spent a total of 550 hours working on the project. Based off of our utility studies, we provided more than 300 pages of reports and 120 recommendations for changes. Our cooperation was a success. Navigation and the architecture of individual pages were improved, and the transition to the purchase process has become much easier and user-friendly.

Implementation of the QA process:

After concluding the UX testing with the Empik team, we immediately started to perform functional tests on the production environment. A team of 10 professionally certified ISTQB FL testers conducted the tests. The testers test the service on 6 of the most popular Internet browsers and more than 20 mobile devices (Android, iOS, WindowsPhone) also with dedicated system browsers.

Results:

The testers spent more than 200 hours performing functional test using the exploratory method. As a result, they found more than 100 functional errors, including 20 critical errors. Repairing the bugs we discovered allowed customers to seamlessly shop in the new Empik.com store.

Working with Empik.com was an organizational challenge for us and another experience in implementing a completely different buying path with addition functionalities. We are glad that we could meet the high standards that Empik set forth and that we were able to flexible adapt to their needs.

Szymon Chruscicki Project & Business Manager