Veloce - A Reimagined Platform for Vintage Car Ownership
Role: Co-Founder and Product Design Lead Team: Art Director, Product Manager, CEO, Creative Director, VP of Business Development
My friend and I started Veloce, a classic car sales listing website that walks vintage car enthusiasts through the buy/sell process. It was an opportunity we identified through our own experiences with current sites, our network of friends and family's frustrations, and understanding the future economics and technology of the industry. Through the partnership with Petrolicious, we were targeting premium classic vehicles and focused on the higher end of this market- a market of people who appreciate a great story, good design, and possess a deep bond for these cars.
GOOGLE DESIGN SPRINTS
We were heavily inspired by Google Ventures' 5 day design sprint. The curriculum includes a grea deal of guidance and content on how to properly sketch and research several of our questions and concepts, decide on which ones to prototype, and how to test our final hypothesis. We ran this sprint more than once in order to really understand our market, validate concepts, and narrow down our options for an MVP product.
Buyers and sellers currently have five venues to enter or exit the market; online classifieds, Hemmings, dealers, auction houses, and brokers. This recent boom in car sales has seen interest as capital investments as well, where financial trends are being applied to vehicle purchases. The HAGI Top 50 index shows rapid growth from 2010-2013. This industry is outperforming other collector asset markets significantly with returns of 257% in the last 7 years. Considered a “passion” asset, this industry benefits not only from an investment perspective, but also has buyers who purchase these cars based on their hobby and interest.
Buyers and sellers currently have five venues to enter or exit the market; online classifieds, Hemmings, dealers, auction houses, and brokers. Our research showed that less rare cars are found on online classifieds and rarer cars generally require a broker. Our Product Manager and I visited several different vintage car auctions and venues in order to understand the customer journey better:
Our business revolves around three phases of the ad cycle; listing, sale, and post purchase. The diagram at the bottom shows how each of our services add value to the car buying process. At each junction we will offer the services shown in the grey circles. Bringing all of these features together with seamless UX is how we plan to set ourselves apart from the competition.
On the sell-side, we help prepare cars from years pre-1980 with high resolution photography and a reimagined ad system designed for this market. On the buy-side, we offer inspection via mechanic, handle transactions of the sale with an escrow system, integrated shipping system, and file transfer platform for improved security and efficiency.
We concluded that by positioning ourselves with the service quality of a broker, the car quality of an auction, and the convenience of an online classified would truly separate us from the pack. Coupling this with a more robust vehicle application and sales driven fee structure will make us a compelling venue for motivated sellers:
BUYER AND SELLER FLOWS
Through initial research and positioning, we understood the user journeys of buyers and sellers to be different in terms of goals, priorities, and overall demographic. Based on research, sellers valued a user-friendly approach to the registration form and application of their vintage car, as this took them on average of 45 minutes to complete on competing websites. For buyers, their goal was to experience transparency of the potential cars they're interested in. So, the first step in producing basic flows was to understand all aspects of a the car that both parties are interested in:
From there, we had a clearer understanding of the buyer and seller journey, so we connected this basis of user preferences in context of other features and opportunities on the site:
BUILDING AN MVP
Researching the market and our audience was a major step in the design process. Building a minimal viable product to test our hypothesis, our research findings, and business model was the logical second step for us. Dissecting our product spec and shedding unnecessary features was crucial to building a product that could test our main hypothesis: buyers are willing to spend more on vintage car listings with higher transparency, safety, and online convenience.
Reflecting our process of ideating an MVP in our designs was challenging. There were core features that we had to leave out, such as shipping and escrow payment systems, in order to truly narrow down our product definition and effectively test our main hypothesis.
The visual identity reflects a much more luxurious and selective feel than our partner, Petrolicious. We purposely wanted to create disparity between the two products in order to distinguish the two different target markets and overall impression of the cars we are listing.
Despite that, our standard listings page, photo grids, and content templates resemble that of Petrolicious, with the goal of making the two experiences feel similar. High quality photography and transparency of information was a major design goal for this project, and it is reflected in a lot of the UI decisions and strategy.
Because of development costs, lack of time, and company priorities, we realized that in order to truly minimize the scope at first, it was beneficial to develop the product within Petrolicious and its CMS. This offered a reasonably inexpensive and lean approach to testing our hypothesis, various business models, and overall audience reception. Because of this change of course, I designed the form in context of Petrolicious' branding, UI elements, and overall framework.
The future of Veloce will now be within the context of Petrolicious' framework and business strategy. The ultimate goal is to keep it as a standalone product, but there are too many pending questions and hypothesis to test for that to be a reality.
My position as a Designer for this project was to set it up for success regardless of how or where it's implemented, keeping in mind our audience needs and market opportunities.