An iOS app featuring limited-time, limited-quantity deals is hard to pass up for the outdoor enthusiast. Loyal Steep & Cheap (SaC) customers love the iOS app for it's 'Current Steal' notifications. This flash sales approach showing one deal at a time offers the best available deals to our customers in real time while achiving goals for the business to move aged inventory and turn it into cash.
Historically, apps in the Backcountry suite were outsourced. In 2013, the Backcountry product team decided to bring it's high performing apps in-house to allow for easier updates and control on performance. After the product group completed the redesign of the Backcountry iOS app, the time was right to assess the advantages of doing the same with the Steep & Cheap app.
Although the traffic to the SaC app was lower than traffic to the Backcountry app, research showed SaC users were more engaged. On average, users The redesign also included an easier way for customers to navigate the site, as well as five times as much available product. The only way to get notifications on the 'Current Steals' available on Steap & Cheap is by way of the app.
I took a very iterative approach to the app redesign. This phase required quick prototyping, usability testing, iteration, more testing, etc. Testing was performed in a local climbing gym to reach outdoor enthusiasts as well as in the Backcountry Retail Store. Users in the retail store tend to be aware of the Backcountry family brands.
With our team doing a recent redesign of the Backcountry.com app, I was able to incorporate past learnings from the app with learnings from testing into interactions quickly.
The business required the team to put the app out on an extremely fast timeline. Barring any outstanding bugs, the app will be submitted to the App Store on March 29. This serves well as an MVP, however from user testing I've discovered items that will be added to v2 of the app. The work of an in-house designer is never over.
The home screen of the app was designed to resemble the site, featuring collections with our best deals. Due to the quick timeline, Nick (Product Manager) and I made quick decisions based on gut feelings. One decision was to list products on the home screen to start users into the shopping flow immediately. After user testing, I found the homepage was overwhelming and confusing to users. Showing collections and products immediately upon launch was out of context to the user and was causing some serious confusion. I quickly started iterating and testing v2 flows to better give the user context and a path through the shopping funnel.
After a few conversations with the developers and merchandisers, I found all of our collections are tagged by category or activity. This allows us to give the user some context and split our collections into specific category based pages. Categories with no collections will not show on the homepage. This also will help with performance as collections will be split into different pages instead of all loading on the same screen. Check out the iteration below.