It’s been nearly 6 months now since we launched Smart Pages and we feel proud of the validation this product has received and therefore, encouraged us to build more on top of it.
Smart Page is an in-house idea of our top leaders, which is carefully built to solve the needs of our merchants who are looking for something very similar to an “ eCommerce website” yet different to serve their needs.
Designing Smart Pages – The origin
Before I take you through this journey of creating this beautiful product, let me please introduce myself. My name is Shyamal Rajput, a product designer by heart and also by role here at Instamojo. Being part of the product & design team, we try to work very closely with all of you to achieve and deliver the best functional, suitable & usable product there can be.
As a mental model for an eCommerce website, it is an online repository of all the products which a business wishes to sell to its customers. Each product has its product specifications, images and the price at which it is supposed to be sold.
Coming back to Smart Pages, the aim was to build a “proxy online store” which catered to a certain set of custom specifications which we have figured out over time. To dig more into it, let’s first understand some basic questions which can help us understand the foundation of Smart Pages better.
How do merchants sell online?
As a merchant or a seller who wants to sell online, they often look for online platforms where they can sell their products and make a living out of it. As this problem statement is pretty cliche now, we have massive eCommerce marketplace giants where you can go and start selling your own products.
Another medium for selling, that merchants take, is creating their own eCommerce website. However, it comes with added costs for designing, developing, maintaining and managing it.
What was missing?
Businesses which are product-focused and have a large inventory usually create an online store where they can showcase their products and eventually sell.
But, for service-based businesses which are generally providing a service like coaching, mentoring, counselling etc, an online eCommerce store does not solve the purpose. Similarly, a business or an entrepreneur which wants to sell just one product or just a service, will most likely not want to create an eCommerce store.
Let’s take an example of a career coach who runs a counselling business and wants to start online, will not need an online store because he will not have any multiple products to sell.
Thus, Smart Pages was discovered where we thought we needed to cater to such service-based merchants or businesses who are looking to sell their services online.
Answering the why, and defining the how
This is a very important step or rather question we try to always seek answers to do justice to whatever project we are trying to build. In context to Smart Pages, there were again 2 similar questions—
- Why is this required/ or why do we feel a need for it?
- How are we going to provide a solution?
As we answered the “why” above, the second part of the quest was how we can provide the best solution to such businesses.
Based on many user feedbacks and understanding of how the offline service-based industry works, we came up with Smart Pages where a business can build their landing page or one-pager website and showcase all their services/portfolio they want to offer to their potential customers.
“To add on top of it and keeping the online store ecosystem in mind, we built Smart Pages to become a one stop solution for all these businesses where they will be able to list/showcase their service and further collect payments towards it—having the checkout experience intact.”
How did we go about it?
Step 1: Defining user personas
For every problem statement, we try to work on, we try to draw out user personas for whom we are designing or solving.
In terms of Smart Pages, we figured out some primary user personas which were:
- Consultants/ Lawyers describing their profile
- Travel Agencies trying to create an itinerary & sell packages around it
- Event Management Companies hosting a single or multi-day event
- E-learning coaches who provide online ebooks and courses.
There can be many more personas, but we started off thinking about how can we help these sets of users sell their services online.
Related read: 7 Smart brands using smart landing pages to grow online
Step 2: Researching what already exists
As part of the research, we did a market study to see if there are similar products out there that are solving the same use case. We went through several single-page websites or landing pages and tried to understand the trend in terms of information which people generally showcase.
Step 3: As a merchant, I should be able to
While trying to look around different user personas and also researching similar products we tried to get into the shoes of the merchant and tried to understand what s/he will be needing to sell their service online.
As a merchant I should be able to:
- Let people know who I am as a business
- Communicate what I am here to sell/offer
- Elaborate+educate+convince customers why they should buy it
- Win customer’s trust around making the product/service look genuine and credible by using social proof and other similar elements
- And lastly, tell the customer how much it costs
For the first phase of the product, we figured out that if we could solve these 5 use cases, merchants will be able to position the business online impactfully.
Defining sections for the landing page
Based on the above use cases which we discovered and wanted to solve, we defined sections which should be part of the page.
Profile Section: As a business who am I
The idea for the profile section was for the businesses to clearly explain to the customers who they are and what they are all about.
Having a business logo, name and a proper profile section talking about the business makes the customer form up belief in the brand/business.
Page Header: As a business what am I offering?
Like any other landing page, this section was designed keeping in mind the main service that the business wants to provide to the customer.
Businesses can explain with a title and cover image what it is that they are selling.
Page Theme: As a business how do I want my page to look?
Page theme was an idea for businesses to customize their page based on their needs and taste. This feature gives them a whole lot of customization from selecting fonts, the theme colour and also choosing between light and dark mode.
The basic idea behind this customisation was to let businesses customize their page as close to their original brand identity as possible.
Pricing: As a business how much am I charging?
Once a business has started with the page creation and explained to their customers what they are selling, the next big thing to communicate is the price for that service.
The pricing card helped businesses to range out multiple pricing options which they might need for their services. For example, an entertainment company is hosting a 3-day event and they want to create multiple pricing options for 1-day, 2 days and 3 days tickets respectively.
Related read: How to set the right price for your product or service
Content area: As a business, I want to explain what I am selling?
Page content area is technically a rich text editor which can be used by businesses to clearly explain in detail about the service they are providing.
Taking an example of an event happening, the business might need to tell more about what the event is all about, who all are coming to that event, what are going to be the keynotes and so forth.
Page content area was deliberately made a rich text editor, giving the freedom to add more images and videos as well if needed for a business.
Additional Content: As a business, I want to show more relevant content?
While researching different products and single landing pages around services and events, we felt a need to bring in a section specifically which businesses can use for social proof by adding testimonials and also by adding key FAQs if there are any.
For version 1, we decided to just have Testimonials, FAQs and the Enquiry form but the aim for this section will be to bring in more elements which can help businesses create trust, empathy and social proof among their customers.
Page Settings: As a business, I want to manage my page
This is one of the most important sections in terms of business use because it lets them control many key aspects of the page.
As earlier discussed we were looking for an amalgamation of a landing page and an online store and so there were many important features we thought will be helpful as page settings for the businesses.
From collecting more custom information from customers, adding a discount code for the services to tracking page analytics, businesses can do a handful of actions from the page settings section.
What’s more to offer
What we discussed above in terms of sections for the page are the key aspects while a business is trying to create its own smart page.
To add on top of this, businesses have a bunch of more features like
- they can connect their own custom domain to their page
- can add social media links to increase more presence around their business
- manage the post-purchase experience as well for their customers
In conclusion, Smart Pages is not just an ordinary-looking landing page website, but a focussed product for businesses who want to sell something by systematically communicating and letting their customers know in detail what their service is all about.
Working on this product experiment and also a very interesting problem statement we have definitely come a long way and it won’t be wrong to say that the experiment has been a success so far and our users have been using it pretty actively.
Here’s a short video that shows you the features that comes along with a Smart Page Pro subscription.
I hope I was able to communicate what truly has been an overwhelming experience of designing such a powerful yet usable product (by the mercy of our users) so far.
We have a lot in our heads and on paper which we believe will take Smart Pages to greater heights and most importantly solve more for our user’s needs.
Till then, signing off—Yours truly Shyamal!
This article was written by Shyamal Rajput, a product designer at Instamojo. You can connect with Shyamal on his LinkedIn.