The merger of Brazil's two largest real estate advertising companies.
Validate the impact of instant communication between clients and real estate agents.
Test an MVP with a controlled audience for future strategic decisions.
I was the specialist product designer responsible for the research and experience of the experiment.
With the acquisition of Grupo ZAP by OLX Brasil, we've analyzed the advertiser data from each platform and concluded that only 9% of real estate advertisers had ad plan contracts on both platforms. Thus, the hypothesis of a huge opportunity to increase revenue with the ZAP+ Plan is a bundle of Brazil's three most important cant real estate portals (ZAP Imóveis, VivaReal, and OLX) in a single package.
We categorized the advertisers into six groups based on the anticipated effort required from each audience, for the commencement of the ZAP+ Plan :
• Viva+ZAP advertisers with and without integration
• OLX advertisers without the chat with and without integration
• OLX advertisers with the chat with and without integration
Following the launch of the initial four audiences, the final group consisted of OLX Customers with Chat. To gain insights into the impact of chat on the daily life of these customers and make informed decisions about the roadmap's progression, I, as the team designer, took on the responsibility of seeking the answer to the following question:
The initial step involved analyzing the data provided by the OLX business unit and conducting user surveys. It is important to note that these surveys were biased due to the generic nature of the chat feature, which is designed to cater to various types of negotiations. Additionally, the model of boosting ads favored its usage.
I organized meetings with all the project stakeholders to develop a CSD matrix (Certainties, Suppositions, and Doubts). This matrix served as a guide for my discovery process, and it became evident that my exploration would focus on assessing the efficiency of the chat platform as a negotiation tool. Furthermore, I aimed to determine the optimal solution for offering the ZAP+ Plan to these customers.
With the support of the research team, we determined that the research would be conducted in two phases: qualitative user research to understand behavior patterns, followed by quantitative user research for confirmation. Once the research planning was developed, the main challenge was to comprehend the research process and the areas of expertise within OLX.
I conducted qualitative research with ten customers from different cities around Brazil to bring diversity and plurality to the research.
The qualitative research with users showed very similar patterns and perceptions regarding the way they interact and use the Chat as a work tool, some insights that became evident:
One or two people initially handle the first contact (usually in the office), answering main questions, collecting the interested party's contact information, and passing it on to brokers who are in the field.
Most of the questions asked about the property were already addressed in the ad description.
Clients only share their contact information after receiving answers, and advertisers can identify those who do not share their contact information, indicating a lack of interest.
Users initiate conversations through chat, but advertisers aim to obtain the contact details and shift the conversation to WhatsApp or phone calls.
Email is rarely used for initial contact due to its lack of real-time and fast response capabilities.
Chat is frequently compared to email as a faster, more dynamic, and user-friendly communication tool.
When asked if the chat feature was a decisive factor in subscribing to the new plan, it was unanimously stated that having the chat did not influence their decision to purchase the package. Since there were no significant differences in the behavior of the interviewees, we decided not to proceed with the quantitative interviews. As a result, the recommendation for the next phase was to test the sale of the Zap+ Plan without the chat feature among a controlled number of OLX customers with chat and monitor its performance for a few weeks.
However, a decision was made at a higher level not to adopt this recommendation. Instead, we communicated it to the team as a confirmation test, and we proceeded to implement the chat feature in the ZAP+ Plan's lead acquisition platform. In collaboration with the product manager, we defined the roadmap, including the MVP deliverables and their respective versions with functionalities.
I downloaded different apps and visited websites from diverse industries to test the chat tools.
• Notifications or signaling that messages have been received are necessary for those who are performing more than one task.
• For negotiations, signaling that the property owner or interested party is online can speed up the negotiation
• One-sentence preview of the last sent or received conversation to situate yourself on the subject/user.
In partnership with the product managers involved in the Chat's MVP, we defined the functionalities that would guarantee the minimum for the Chat to be functional and be able to capture the data from the metrics we've defined as success. From this point, I designed the flow of possible actions within the Chat.
To deliver the screens to be developed, I followed the design patterns used by the Canal Pro platform and created new components because some didn't exist in our design system.
After a few months, cross-referencing data from interactions with the tool and the inventory of properties, we concluded once again that the chat was not a tool to increase sales, so we abandoned the idea of creating a new robust communication tool that would demand a lot of effort and expense from the company's budget.
When we experience top-down situations it is common to get angry, but at this moment we need to breathe and understand that some decisions have been taken at a layer that sometimes we can't see. Resilience, in this case, is the key.
Working with a cross-business unit team requires alignment of expectations and clear communication for everybody needs to be on the same page.