NOTEWORTHY
I've built this product entirely from a mobile-first approach. Every page is compatible for mobile, tablet and desktop. Feel free to play around in the live version at www.plentific.com

THE PRODUCT

Plentific has a clear purpose: to help you find the perfect professional and local tradesmen for your home services needs. 

Scenario: let's say you are rebuilding your bathroom. You will need a builder, an interior designer, architect and a moving company. If you enter plentific.com, you can search manually for i.e. a builder in your area. Browse by rating and find the best rated professional near you. Make an enquiry and start a conversation with the builder.

Alternatively, instead of browsing yourself, you can click "Post a Job" and answer a quick form which will go to a team of expert concierges that'll find you professionals that will evaluate your enquiry and send you a quote. Chose your favourite professional and they can start building your next bathroom.

“Plentific targets customers at the early stage of a homesearch and connects them with us when they are ready for a mortgage – perfect.”

- Andrew Montlake, Mortgage Broker at corecogroup.co.uk

The parts of the sum

I will now explain each part of the platform. The different parts of the platform are:

1. The front area
Where customers browse our site to find their next professional

2. The B2C dashboard
Where customers creates an enquiry, sign up and manage their enquiries

3. The B2B dashboard
Where professionals sign up and manage their business

The front area - Getting Customers to post a job and signing up

To make customers be able to find professionals, we scraped 55,000 professionals and gathered their logo and basic information in our list view. The customer can now browse tens of thousands of professionals for their next home project with detailed information about what services they provide, previous customers' reviews and other relevant data. 

So we built a list view. It looks like this:

 

 

There's a lot of information that needs to be showed and prioritised. We learned early that posting a job through our form was the best way for us to convert enquiries into jobs, hence making a huge banner at the top promoting this feature. Underneath, one can see the featured pros followed by the list results. The left hand side column consists of benefits of using our platform. Just like AirBnB provides security with an insurance for people who rent out their home, we provide an insurance for people who hire pros through our site. We do this to make the customers want to use our platform throughout the whole process and not going outside of the platform once contact has been made. If they do, we lose our cut of the deal.

INSIGHTS

• We've been optimising this page a lot. Showing SEO related content to the left, removing SEO content to the left due to the clutter of information that flooded the page. Even though SEO is very important, we work with SEO optimisation on multiple places on this page and could afford to let some go. 
• At first, we only had a small banner with the Post a Job feature, but decided to put a bigger block with image to attract people there. That helped, but not enough. So we're adding benefits of Posting a Job, the three circles with checkmarks in them to assure the customers of the benefits of posting a job in our platform. This is in our upcoming release.
• We've made the top part shorter and shorter. At first it took to much of the top part, hence not results until the customer has to scroll a lot to get there
• On mobile, we had the search boxes look just like the desktop version, but due to the search boxes taking to much space, we've rebuilt the search component for mobile to unfold once a user clicks it, to show the results higher up than before.
• We've also removed some content inside each company card on mobile to fit more cards in the screen than what all the information from desktop would show (like the three icons with info, the company description).

On to the next one. Let's say the customer finds a professional interesting, they would then click on their name and come to this page, where one can find detailed information about the professional

 

 

INSIGHTS

• We had a lot of information in the right hand side column, but had to move it to the left - main - column due to users not seeing it as primary information, although it was. 
• We've added the Verification Details section to ensure customers which pros are securely checked. This has built trust and we see a large increase of enquiries sent to these pros that have this section filled.
• We removed the hero picture on mobile to save space but also to be able to be smart with the development and be able to reuse the component from the list view here.

On to the next one. And then the customer can contact the pro. There's an alternative way of find a professional. That is through our post a job form.

We've collected relevant questions for 56 categories. Let's say one is looking for a handyman that can assemble IKEA furniture. One would click "Post a Job" and come to the form below:

 

 

INSIGHTS

• This form is actually the one that we have optimised the most. Sending an enquiry through this form is our most benefitial way of receiving leads so hence we've tried to optimise this a lot. What you are looking at here is a new version currently in development. 
• Through SEO recommendations we've been requested to make more questions visible when visiting the page, so instead of showing one question at a time, we now display smaller cards with each question.
• Making each question a card each was vital due to each category having different questions, so when the first question ("What service are you in need of?") the following cards vary depending on what the customer answers on the first question. Placing everything in one card made it messy, hence one card per question.
• We've made the buttons smaller for each release, at first at 52px height, but now 34 at some places and maximum 40px due to taking to much space.
• We've also changed the name of services, so there's fewer services making it easier for the customer to quickly answer and not having to look through 30+ services before finding the relevant one.
• Currently 56 categories have the same questions. We've realised it takes to much work for the professionals to figure out the details, why in our upcoming release each category has specific questions to make it easier to quote faster when the professional receives the enquiry. And we've learned that the sooner the professional sends a quote, the more likely the customer are to return to the platform.

 

The customer would at the end click "Book a handyman now" and enter our B2C area, where they can communicate and receive quotes from multiple pros and select their favourite. This is explained further  in the chapter below.

The B2C Area - Getting Customers to select a professional and pay

After posting the job, the customer would come to their dashboard. This is the place where they can write reviews, chat, receive quotes and call professionals. They'll receive 5 quotes per enquiry and may select their favourite and start the project. This is a look at the dashboard overview:

 

 

There's a place for notifications, where new quotes appear. Once clicked they'll get into a conversation with the professional that sent the quote. In this view, the customer can chat and call with the professional, as well as be reminded about their enquiry details and a summary of the most important information about the professional that they're chatting with:

 

 

Hopefully they'll find their professional and begin their next home project with ease. They usually do.

The B2B Area - Getting Professionals to sign up and stay

To make customers be able to find professionals, we had to build a platform that would be interesting for professionals to sign up to. We built a B2B dashboard where they could upload their services, logo, header image, years in practice, projects that they've done, branches they have, team members.

The dashboard is where they log in and receive enquiries. It's easy to access through a mobile, tablet or desktop.

Here they can start conversations with customers, call customers, get support from our concierges, respond to reviews and edit their company information. This is where they edit their name, service area, services, logotype, awards, description, etc.

 

 

They also have a overview of their ongoing business:

 

 

When they receive new leads, they can access the communication page and build custom quotes with our quote builder and send to the customer, as well as call or chat with the customer:

 

 

And this is the quote builder functionality:

 

Next feature: payments

Well, that was a super quick run through of the website. Feel free to explore it yourself, live at www.plentific.com 

Below I've shown the next steps for Plentific. This is what I've been working on which is in development right now. Payments. The whole payment flow from start to end. It's been a massive UX and UI exploration which took months to build. These are some of the pages from our mobile view of the platform

 

Next-next feature: custom built CRM system

At the moment, our concierges have a pretty crappy CRM system to manage all the enquiries that comes through our platform. So what I've started working on is a custom made CRM platform for our concierges to handle all new business. It's a massive project and in the early stages right now, but this is after some iterations, post-its, meetings, a first draft of the CRM:

 

Then there's everything else...

Working with a startup is fun. A lot of new features to build at a rapid speed. And changing the product everyday. And trying new features. Adding those features. And some delete. There's a lot I've built throughout my time at Plentific that I'm very proud of, that we never had time to build. Here's just a random collection of some of these things.

everything-elseeverything-else

Thanks

To all the developers and designer (Ines Alves) that were part of the whole, or some parts, of this journey. I've been a UI & UX designer throughout this whole process but have also created marketing materials for social media, prints for exhibitions as a designer at a startup does.

Our team consisted of about 6-10 developers at all times, a sales and support team of about 20. We've been 2 designers for a year, and then I rode solo from May 2016 and fourth.

I've built this product using Sketch by Bohemian Coding.

Thanks for reading, and don't hestitate to contact me at william.bengtsson@me.com