Meet Zoe, Kacie, and Cat — Coupang Design
Meet Zoe, Kacie, and Cat who are in charge of Coupang's various products design.
As Coupang is a fast-growing service, Coupang Design has more opportunities to design various products and improve the customer experience.
Introducing the leaders of the design team at the heart of Coupang's diverse products.
We met with Cat, who leads the customer experience of the Wow Membership service, Kacie, who designs the purchasing experience for global customers, and Zoe, who is responsible for the overall purchase journey of categories in the Coupang app, to talked about their goals.
Hi, please introduce yourself.
Kacie: Hi I am Kacie. I am overseeing the Coupang Global Expansion UX team and leading the efforts to design experiences for global customers. With the launch of the Taiwan e-commerce business, I am currently focusing on building the first purchase experience for Coupang Taiwan customers. Before joining this team, I worked with various products like fresh bags, logistics, deliveries and CS that encompass end-to-end customer experiences. Before Coupang, I designed B2C and B2B UX for a recruiting portal, UI for mobile payment and UX for a news app.
Cat: Hi, I am Cat, leading the ‘Wow Membership’ team. My team focuses on acquiring and retaining Wow members and looks after the overall experiences of Wow members. We work closely with teams like business, marketing, engineering, brand, design system, and legal, striving not only to tackle the immediate challenges but to build mid- and long-term strategies to offer better customer experience. I am also focusing on setting the standards of good ‘Wow Membership’ experiences and building the necessary work culture, processes and environment of the design team.
It’s been seven and a half years since I joined the company, and I have been driving design changes across multiple services here. I had opportunities to be part of projects like Rocket Fresh, Coupang Flex and Coupang’s transition to an open market platform, driving the efforts to define the initial UX for customers and sellers, and implementing the design to finally launch the services. As a design manager, I also led the design strategy and planning team which set the mid- and long- term design strategies for services and the product design teams.
Zoe: Hi, I am Zoe, and I am managing the Categories UX team. It’s been around 6 years since I joined Coupang, and I have worked on many projects like Rocket Wow, dawn delivery and trade-in service that improved shopping cart usability. I now lead the team and help design the optimal experiences for customers by solving problems across the purchase journey.
All three of you are leading different teams. What is the most memorable project you have worked on?
Cat: I’ve led the design construction, launch, and post-launch upgrade of the Wow Membership. In this process, there have been several cases where I realized why it is important to find the customer's 'real problems' through “5 Whys questions” and the importance of how to make improvements for those 'real problems'.
For example, to improve the membership dropout rates, we searched for reasons why the customers dropped out. By asking several questions, the real problem was found, and the lack of information on benefits for the membership at the time was identified as the real problem. As a result, we created a clear guide for benefit information in the customer's key from signup, exit, to overall purchase experiences, and the metrics were significantly improved.
It is important to know how to solve the ‘real problem’ of customers. They respond sensitively to small and large changes in information location, order, size, color, amount of information, and content on each screen. Additionally, their reactions to a change may differ depending on the situation they are facing.
Kacie: Among the various projects I took part in, I would like to introduce the global expansion project which our team currently focuses on. The global expansion project proceeded in stages, initially focusing on quick commerce in Taiwan and Japan, and then expanding to e-commerce launches in Taiwan. For Taiwanese customers to understand Coupang’s service, even when they first used it, we had to focus on the purchase journey of the first customer. We researched and found the channel that most people used to land on Coupang and encouraged the download of the app for customers who come through those channels and designed smooth flows into downloading the app after customers’ first purchase on the web.
The experience after downloading the app was also very important. To raise awareness of the Coupang service, we added an onboarding screen and introduced benefits exclusive with Rocket Jikgu and Rocket Delivery. On the home page, we reflected the need of Taiwanese customers to introduce recommendation widgets and various types of product widgets by stages, factoring in Taiwanese customers’ voice.
We also considered the Taiwanese situation when implementing delivery type and customs formalities on the Cart and Check-out page. Taiwanese customers use nearby convenience stores (CVS) addresses half of the time for their orders as the parcels might not be delivered safely to their home address due to the residential environment.
Therefore, we allowed them to choose either their home address or a nearby CVS store. Also, considering the customers’ context of choosing CVS delivery, we introduced a feature where they can find a nearby CVS to a specific address. As a result, in a usability test, we were able to hear customers’ feedback and that it was easier and more convenient compared to the general CVS delivery experience in other Taiwanese services.
In terms of customs formality, Coupang adopted EZ way clearance verification process on the Order/Payment stage. Unlike the Korean app on which you can simply input a PCCC (Personal Customers Clearance Code), the Taiwanese app required the verification process, so we designed UX for this additional step on the Order/Payment page.
It was certainly a special experience that I could only gain from this project because, we did not simply apply what were good at in customer experiences with Coupang Korea service to Taiwan but, we dived deep into the problem and designed a solution that would be required to make the best first experience for the Taiwanese customers.
Zoe: Many projects abide in memory, but I would like to introduce the ‘Rocket Gifting & Coupang Gift Card’.
Rocket Gifting is a service that allows you to give a gift with one’s contact information, even if you do not know the address of the recipient. After the launch of the service, I remember doing a lot of customer interviews and data analysis to increase customer awareness and usage rate of the service and deep dived into customer problems, leading to good results.
Rocket Gift also supports Rocket Delivery and dawn delivery, and Coupang Gift Cards can also be a good alternative if you need a good gift idea. In this era of pandemic, I hope that anyone can convey a warm heart by sending a present using Rocket Gift service as there are more opportunities to send contact-free gifts.
What do you think are Coupang’s unique qualities that ensure the success of its projects?
Zoe: I’d like to talk about Demand Excellence, one of Coupang’s Leadership Principles.
Demand Excellence means constantly raising the bar to achieve goals at an outstanding level, going beyond mediocrity. All organizations at Coupang put up a united front and move quickly to achieve a set goal. To achieve the goal, we set the goals to focus on with Ruthless Prioritization, another of the Leadership Principles. Based on these leadership principles, we have well established processes and good collaboration, so we can build high quality products. Everyone serves as owners, gives careful thought, and does not settle for passable work. Sometimes we hold intense discussions, strive toward creating the best customer experience possible, realizing the vision to have customers think ‘How did we ever live without Coupang?’
Cat: I believe it’s in ‘speed’ and ‘step by step approach’.
It takes a few months or sometimes, more than a year for some companies to proceed and launch a project. Whereas Coupang moves with urgency if a project does solve customer problems. Everyone is well aligned with the importance of the task, and everyone focuses on it by prioritizing it.
Instead of spending a long time to release a perfect product, we quickly build and launch MVP and check customers reactions and feedback to see if we can bring in meaningful results. Such customer feedback is actively reflected in the process of product advancement. This step-by-step approach can reduce trials and errors from early on, as well as many types of risks.
Kacie: One of Coupang’s leadership principles is ‘Company-wide Perspective’, an attitude not to hesitate for the sake of best customer experiences. Most Coupang employees have ownership of their projects and have open-minded discussions. Such discussions result in meaningful ideas for the success of the projects, and I have experienced that it has a positive impact on the success of the actual business. Also, we are active in learning for business as well as personal growth. We try to learn by ourselves or even learn from each other and continue to grow. This empowers Coupang’s fast execution and success.
Since we have a culture to respect such ownership, I can feel almost no barrier to share grounded opinions on the gray areas in the work of a product owner, engineer or designer. Sharing business and engineers’ perspectives during discussions helps to better understand each other and find streamlined and effective methods. I did experience that, if the outcome of projects where we worked on in that way is good, it naturally creates a virtuous cycle. Now that Coupang is getting bigger, many processes are adopted for better efficiency. Still, Coupang is seeking to keep the balance between lean culture and large companies’ processes, which I find positive.
What is the most defining difference of Coupang in terms of work style?
Cat: I believe that ‘synergy based on collaboration’ and ‘the environment that allows easy access and utilization of data’ are advantages at Coupang.
We come up with a variety of ideas and build on them through collaboration between PMs and designers. Designers and content strategists work together to provide better quality service taking both the design and the phrasing into consideration. Furthermore, collaboration among designers also allows them to share various perspectives and learn from one another.
We always are provided with a customer pool who helps the usability tests and interviews any time, allowing us to collect qualitative feedback. In addition, we also have access to all the results of past or on-going A/B tests so that we can refer to them for our work. This is an environment in which designers can present logical and well-founded designs, based on quantitative and qualitative data.
Kacie: In addition to the data use, the biggest difference is that we build data systems and have processes to run usability tests by ourselves. Designers are given access to directly check funnel data and can get insights derived from collaboration with data analysts. Global usability tests in other countries can be conducted in Korea remotely with the help of the local researchers and the customer recruiting process. Since launching Q-commerce overseas until now, with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, we continuously have been supported by research infrastructures.
Coupang’s design organization actively promotes members’ growth as a leader. We say, “The UX owner is OO,” to refer to a project’s designer because we want designers to feel a sense of ownership and drive the designing of customer experience. The manager or the design lead is responsible for overall quality control, but all designers are encouraged to disagree and suggest better solutions. All team members exchange opinions in a horizontal manner at regular meetings, helping designers come up with a better design based on diverse opinions. Such open culture and effort to grow leadership are what make Coupang’s design organization strong.
Zoe: At Coupang, everyone runs for a common goal at a very fast pace. Instead of trying to deliver and test a perfect product from the beginning, we develop an MVP by focusing on what is most important while minimizing the risks, and then scale and improve the product through iterations.
Numerous decisions must be made in order to conduct tests swiftly, and at Coupang, everyone engages in discussions with a sense of ownership and makes reasonable decisions based on Coupang’s Leadership Principles.
We are not afraid that the test may fail, and even if it fails, we don’t criticize anyone. The belief is that it is more important to apply the learnings from failures to be better prepared for the next test, this enables everyone to run toward their goals without concerns.
What is your goal at Coupang?
Kacie: I’ve set goals as a project lead and as a manager. My short-term goal as the project lead is making our global customers also think “How did we ever live without Coupang” by improving the customer experience. In the mid- and long-term, I want to help build the global standard for the globalization of Coupang’s e-commerce based on close collaboration and discussion with other teams including the design systems team.
On the other hand, my goal as a manager is to be a strong advocate for my team members in achieving individual career growth while preserving each person’s uniqueness and diversity. I want to be evaluated as a manager who gives sufficient freedom and helps in times of need. I realized that there is more room for my own growth as well while talking about these goals.
Zoe: Moments like when we first launched the Rocket Wow service are unforgettable. Coupang still has lots of growth opportunities and diverse categories with different kinds of problems to solve. My goal is to keep tackling the problems in many different categories, setting new visions and keep on creating innovative experiences for customers.
As a manager, I still have opportunities to grow and learn. I will support team members for their career growth and become a good leader contributing to the team process and culture.
Cat: I have three goals: 1) helping “Wow Membership” service grow 2) investing in my team members’ career growth and 3) becoming a leader who can help many people.
I believe that some of my most important tasks include defining what makes “Wow Membership” a good experience and building work culture and environment for translating that definition into actual experience.
I will also actively invest in and support the career growth of my team members. I would like to support them to identify and achieve goals in a way that everyone can be satisfied with.
Lastly, I would like to grow to be a leader who can positively influence the organization both culture-wise & work-wise and help many people.
Finally, please share a message with those who are interested in joining Coupang’s design team.
Kacie: At Coupang, a designer can easily see the business impact a UX he/she designed brought to the company. Designers get directly involved and see the visible results of a project closely, instead of watching the accomplishments from a distance. This kind of environment helps designers achieve real career growth.
I am open to anyone who might be interested in solving problems by putting customer experience as top priority or in experiencing global e-commerce as part of their career growth. I look forward to many of you who want to be part of Coupang’s design team that continues to grow.
Zoe: Coupang provides the right working environment and process for creating good customer experience through customer research, interviews and data. It is a place where you can work with excellent leaders and colleagues. It provides an optimal environment that allows designers to influence others and contribute to customer experience and the business. Coupang’s UX team is hiring for different roles. We are looking for people who want to grow and take on new challenges with Coupang.
Cat: At Coupang, being Korea’s largest retailer, designers design the customer experience of millions of people. Designers at Coupang can see with their eyes how their design influenced the lives of tens of millions of customers. Join us on the journey where we can improve the experience of our customers.
Coupang is actively hiring various positions including UX designers.
It is an opportunity to directly design various products which are used by tens of millions of customers. Apply now.