Shopify Build Native
The Shopify Build Native Mentorship Program is our team's design solution to help lower the barrier of entry for Indigenous entrepreneurs interested in starting their e-commerce journey through Shopify.
Shopify 24-Hour Hackathon
March 24th - 25th, 2022
Team Lead, UX Researcher, UX/UI Designer
On March 24th, 2022, I led a team consisting of web developers, data scientists and one other UX designer for a 24-hour hackathon organized by BrainStation sponsored by e-commerce giant, Shopify. The purpose of the hackathon was to experience learning new concepts from peers of other disciplines, getting familiar with developer hand offs and constructing strategies with data scientists and digital marketers.
Our design solution is integrating a mentorship scheduling feature into Shopify's Build Native Merchant Spotlight to promote mentorship and networking for new Indigenous entrepreneurs.
Meet the Team
For this design challenge, the UX team chose to follow the human-centred design process but due to time constraints, we reduced the steps normally included in the process. The UX design team also had to ensure we got to the high-fidelity stage early enough for the web developers to code and for the entire group to bring it all together into a cohesive presentation for Shopify at the end of the 24 hours.
User Journey Map
Primary User Story
User Task Flow
Shopify asked us: “How can you imagine Shopify using its Ecosystem to help lower the barrier to entrepreneurship in entirely new regions, demographics, and business sectors?” This included merchant underrepresentation, barriers to entrepreneurship, obstacles for first-time merchants and new technologies in the e-commerce landscape.
Problem Space Discovery
Based on the provided problem statement, we decided to focus on underrepresented merchant demographics in the e-commerce market, specifically Indigenous people.
According to an article put out by RBC, Indigenous businesses have contributed $30 billion to the Canadian economy as of 2020 with projections of 100 billion by 2025. How can Shopify tap into that market by converting more aspiring indigenous business owners to start their journey through the Shopify platform?
I found an interview with Shopify’s own Lead for Indigenous Entrepreneurs, Jace Meyer states that educational support is one of the most important factors in growing the Indigenous economy. Meyer argues that education for Indigenous children is lacking and not on par with the education for non-Indigenous children, due to caps on government spending and a lack of infrastructure in Indigenous communities. This leads to the question of what can Shopify do, within its capacity, to help level the playing field and support Indigenous entrepreneurs who may not have had the same quality of education growing up as non-Indigenous entrepreneurs.
In another interview released by CPACanada, a female Indigenous entrepreneur expressed what is one of the keys to success: "Confidence is also a key factor. Having the knowledge that they can do it because they’ve seen it. It’s part of who they were, and it’s part of who Indigenous women are. One thing that boosts confidence is role modeling, and part of that is mentoring. You always need a mentor, no matter how successful you are."
Conducting Market Research
Looking at Shopify’s immediate competitors (Salesforce, BigCommerce, BlueHost, Clover, Commerce Cloud, and more), none of them offer any sort of mentorship for new users from successful merchants in the community - much less mentorship specifically for Indigenous or BIPOC in general.
How might we assist first-time Indigenous merchants learning to operate on Shopify in order to promote Indigenous merchant growth on our platform?
Using the data provided by our data science team and UX research, I developed our user persona, Ayita Swiftwater. Creating Indigenous crafts and goods became her passion and she is looking to monetize her products on an e-commerce platform instead of only selling at farmer markets and local communities.
Focusing on our user persona’s goals, I devised multiple user stories to determine which product functionality we should focus on.
User Journey Map
I developed a user journey map to show what the process of booking a mentorship session would look like and the aftermath; it important to see the emotional journey the user goes on while using our design as well as their thought process.
Based on our primary user story and task I ideated the design solution, the Shopify Build Native Mentorship Program. This would be a feature built into Shopify's current Build Native page which is used to highlight indigenous merchants as well as provide resources for indigenous entrepreneurs. This feature will allow prospective or new indigenous merchants to schedule a mentorship session with someone under the Shopify Build Native Merchant Spotlight section.
Primary User Story
As an Indigenous entrepreneur, I want to connect and receive mentorship from merchants that represent my community so that I can be knowledgeable and confident in starting my business.
User Task Flow
Based on the user persona and user story, I developed a user task flow that shows how our persona will go from landing on the Build Native Homepage to booking a mentorship session to getting a follow-up a month later.
For developing the booking UI, I procured inspiration from other known appointment/mentorship booking websites such as Calendly and ADPList.
We also used Shopify's Polaris Design System for our UI to make our design look like a realistic Shopify initiative.
As mentioned earlier, we decided to build this mentorship feature off of an existing Indigenous-centric space in the Shopify ecosystem, Build Native. We wanted our design to reflect that and have flawless integration - i.e., the colours, buttons, font style, sizes and radius.
Hi-Fi Prototype Screens
Key Business Considerations
To make sure Shopify stakeholders understood we kept the business in mind with this design, I further actualized how the mentorship program would help retain the Indigenous merchants and increase plan membership through mentorship session mockups and the timeline of it all.
Recognizing Inequality in Online Spaces
Before discovering the research for this hackathon, I was unaware the great disparity when it came to Indigenous representation in the e-commerce space. It encouraged me to think of other demographics or individuals who might also face such challenges in society but get overlooked.