2022 Coupang Design CONNECT: A night for UX networking
Coupang strives to create the best possible customer experience through all our services, down to the very moment a customer opens and first interacts with our apps. On the evening of September 29, we held our 2022 Coupang Design CONNECT event at the venue People the Terrace in Cheongdam, hosting a networking party for user experience (UX) designers in Korea to connect with and learn from one another.
Over 80 UX designers from various companies attended the event, which also included sessions on how the UX team works at Coupang. The sessions covered three areas: design, product management, and engineering.
Session 1: Design – Coupang UX: How Simplicity Helps Us Scale
Coupang UX Directors Kim-si Nae and Rannie Teodoro
The first session, titled “Coupang UX: How Simplicity helps Us Scale,” was given under the theme “Simplify.”
When Coupang Eats launched in 2019, there were already several different food delivery apps out there. The question we asked ourselves was simple. “How do we create a WOW food delivery experience?”
While existing apps did manage to deliver food, customers often had to wait an hour or even longer for their meals during lunch and dinner times. This led to food frequently arriving cold, with delivery partners having to deliver many orders in one trip to many customers.
Coupang Eats simplified the overall delivery process, launching the “One Order, One Delivery” model to ensure customers could enjoy their food as the restaurants intended.
Coupang Eats apps for customers (left) and delivery partners (right)
So, how was this “One Order, One Delivery” model integrated throughout the entire UX? For customers, the UX team focused on the transparency and visibility of information, making it so that customers could check the estimated arrival time before even ordering the food. This predictability was possible thanks to the fact that orders were taken straight from store to door, without the multiple detours on other apps.
Meanwhile, the Eats app for delivery partners focused on the experience of the Delivery Partners, clearly displaying the store location, recommended route, destination, and expected income for the ease of the drivers. A clear design was especially important for delivery partners, who have limited visibility while driving, navigating traffic, and wearing helmets.
Thanks to this cleverly designed UX, Coupang Eats could kill two birds—fast delivery and safe delivery—with one stone. This is one of the reasons Eats was the most downloaded free app in Korea in 2021 (the second was a COVID-19 vaccination certification app).
Session 2: Project Management – Building Industry-Leading Products
Coupang Customer Experience (CX) Team Product Leader Nico Daudin and Product Director Yoo-jin Lee
In the second session, “Building Industry Leading Products,” the presenters discussed the three elements of creating a new customer experience, using the “receive together” function as an example.
Many customers order from Coupang several times a day. If the products arrive separately, they have to go through the hassle of dealing with packaging materials each time a package arrives.
One problem could have dozens of contributing factors, so it is crucial to determine the true underlying cause behind the others. The customer experience (CX) team identified the key issues through customer interviews, surveys, and usability testing. In this case, because specifying the delivery date for each product was cumbersome, customers would simply choose the default value, the earliest possible delivery date.
Coupang’s culture involves testing, iterating, and learning from the data rather than being slowed down by trying to find a single perfect solution. With this mindset, the CX team conducted A/B testing to verify the usability of their tentative ideas.
While it was not easy to change the design of the payment page because it contained a lot of important information, the team focused on executing and verifying quickly through experimentation. It watched the trends, such as increases in customer service inquiries, and adjusted accordingly over iterations based on what the data revealed.
At Coupang, the usability of the prototype is verified through testing, and the problem is redefined based on the results.
Through these processes, the team developed and launched the “receive at once” function, simplifying the user experience while addressing a big customer pain point. By looking at the same problem from different angles and conducting repeated tests, Coupang was able to help launch the next set of features and continue improving our services
Session 3: Engineering – Culture and Challenge for the Next
Backend Engineering Team Director Kyung-hoon Min
The third session, titled “Culture and Challenge for the Next,” addressed how Coupang’s tech teams worked with a quick execution mindset. Using Coupang’s global expansion as an example case, the discussion covered the process of these teams quickly creating and testing products, expanding services by incorporating successes into other products, and creating a sustainable business through operational excellence.
Quick commerce emerged as a new business model during the pandemic, in which “dark stores” roughly the size of local marts serve as logistics centers to deliver groceries and daily necessities to nearby areas. In 2021, Coupang decided to expand globally and launch a quick commerce app in Japan.
Because this was a new market, the quicker we launched an app, the faster we could learn from the data to empirically improve and expand our services. So, the project team asked itself, “Could we launch the app very quickly, say, in just six weeks?”
One of Coupang’s leadership principles is “Ruthless Prioritization,” and thus the project team took the time to discuss what not to do given the short deadline. Although the development team wanted their app to be perfect and incorporate all the latest technologies, they gave this up in order to test and execute quickly and launch the app within their goal period.
Because quick commerce could be considered as a model combining Coupang’s Rocket Delivery products being delivered by Coupang Eats delivery partners, the team created the app by applying as many of Coupang’s assets as possible, from the logistics system to the apps used by customers and the related backend systems.
This process embodied another Coupang leadership principle, “Company-Wide Perspective,” with everyone taking part to help achieve the set goals. While the project initially started with around 80 people participating officially, by the time of the app launch, more than 200 employees had joined the product to support its success.
While Coupang Design CONNECT was organized primarily to serve the UX design community, its organizers incorporated stories across the fields of design, project management, and engineering to showcase how important the culture of working together is to create a better customer experience.
“We are so grateful to everyone who helped make this event a success, providing a venue for us to learn from one another and connect,” said a representative of Coupang’s Employer Branding team. “We will continue finding new opportunities to learn and create the best possible experiences for our customers.”
Presenters in charge of the event: (from left) Kyung-hoon Min, Yoo-jin Lee, Rannie Teodoro, Si-nae Kim, and Nico Daudin
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