My role in this project is Lead Designer and Front-end developer. I defined the design language for Trada, then used that design language to develop their marketing site and the core product, which is an e-commerce website, along with all the admin required. In addition to that, I also did front-end development for the marketing website and product.
Shopping local is a noble idea, but as with all things in life, it comes with its own set of problems. Local brands (also known as makers) are often having a hard time getting discovered while shopkeepers (also known as retailers) struggle to find new unique products to stock their shops with.
Trada Marketplace was first launched in Australia, where the maker culture and shop local movement is already strong. Traditionally, this problem is solved by attending physical tradeshows, where makers and retailers can mingle in person. Makers can show off their unique products and the human behind the brand, while retailers can discover more products to stock in their store.
However, tradeshows generally happen only a few times a year. They are not the most efficient when brands and retailers are spread across the country, especially one as big as Australia.
Enter Trada, a dedicated marketplace for makers and retailers to discover each other, at any time of the year.
When a good friend of mine approached me with the idea of Trada Marketplace, we knew aesthetics would be one of the key factors of success.
In order to grow the marketplace, we need to attract the right type of makers to list their products on Trada. We soon learned that these makers, though diverse in nature, have something in common: They have a keen eye for design and are selective where they list with.
So, we needed to look good from the get-go in order to win their confidence.
As the lead (and only) designer of Trada, I was responsible for the end to end design: from setting up the design language of Trada, the marketing site, the product experience from both maker and retailer perspective, as well as the back end admin side of things. I also helped define the look and feel of Trada's social media and marketing collaterals.
In order to attract the desired type of makers, the look and feel of Trada needed to match their aesthetic. At the same time, it needs to be neutral and versatile. All kinds of brands and products would need to look good when displayed on Trada, without being too overpowered. To tackle this, I came up with neutral tones and clean design elements which became the overarching design language of Trada.
The product experience of Trada can be divided into three experiences: 1. Public experience, 2. Retailers experience, and 3. Makers experience.
The public experience of Trada starts from the marketing website, where visitors can learn about Trada. We prioritize the marketing site experience for potential retailers, in line with the growth strategy where makers are actively signed up through offline efforts. But if there are Makers who came to Trada on their own and interested in signing up, we have a section called "Sell with us" where they can learn about Trada and the benefits of signing up with Trada.
We let anyone browse Trada for makers and products, but the public experience ends on product page, where we require them to sign up to place an order - upon which they are converted into a retailer.
On the retailer side of things, the product is an e-commerce website where retailer can shop for different products from various makers. They can filter based on the values they want the makers to have, as well as minimum orders or location.
Each maker who signs up with Trada has their own store where they can showcase products and brand values / stories, so that retailers can learn about their values before making their purchase decision.
The retailer shopping experience includes a checkout flow, which is slightly more complicated than your usual run-of-the-mill shopping cart experience. It needs to cater to having multiple makers in one cart, and each of them would have different minimum order value.
Shopping cart can be previewed without disrupting the shopping experience through a sidepanel that can be opened up anywhere on the site without having to navigate away.
Once an order has been placed, retailers can look back to their order and review its status - whether the order is awaiting acceptance, has been accepted by the retailer, or shipped.
On the Makers side, makers would need manage the orders received from retailers. As makers tend to be selective about who is selling their product and where they are selling, we include all these information in the orders page, so they have everything they need to make their decisions quickly in one place.
Makers also require product management, which is heavier on admin features. Makers must be able to add and delete products, define prices and upload images corresponding to the product, among other things.
In order to help Trada build presence on social media, I created templates for social media marketing collateral (in this case Instagram stories), to be used on paid marketing outreach for brands and makers.
I created icons styles to illustrate makers values we wanted to show off: made in Australia, eco-friendly, handmade, women-owned, sold on brick and mortar, social responsibility, all natural, animal-friendly, and fair trade.
On the design management side of things, I built a Sketch library to define all the colors, design elements and components used on Trada. In the future if we have another designer joining, it would be easy to implement existing components and add new components. I also made sure each component is responsive and that all states of the component has been considered.
Within the first few months, Trada managed to convince 130 high quality makers to list their product with Trada. Trada website experience also received glowing reviews from makers and retailers alike. Snippets from customer testimonials reflect how they feel about the Trada design language and website (customer names have been anonymized for privacy):
"I love the site, it's clean and easy to use"
- An Accessories & Apparel maker from Adelaide, Australia
"The Trada portal is easy to navigate and all the information you need can be seen on one page"
- A natural skincare maker from Australia
To see how Trada is doing today, you can visit the website here.