Project Context: Bracketing
Bracketing is a shopping behavior that has become more popular as more shopping is done online. Bracketing is a process of buying multiple variations of an item and returning the unwanted variations. Typically bracketing is implemented by millennials and most often they are affluent women. The purpose of this project was to design a return flow that is optimized for this type of user.
The Team
Just me! I designed and prototyped all versions of the app. I also carried out user testing and research that directed prototype decisions and changes to the user flow.
The Problem
One of the biggest deterrents to bracketing is a difficult or bulky return flow. Many stores and sites intentionally make returning items difficult in order to avoid the company covering the loss in revenue.
In order to increase revenue through encouraging bracketing, the return flow needs to not only be smooth and intuitive, but optimized to assist in bracketing.
Research Overview​​​​​​​
Return Flow Audit
Amazon is well known and loved for its simple and lenient return process. While Amazon's return flow is simple and streamlined, the single-item flow isn't the best option for our "bracketers." Their return flow has 4 main steps:
1. Orders - a simple list of all recent orders
2. Select Items - user selects which item(s) to return
3. Resolution - user selects if they want a refund or an exchange
4. Return Method - user decides how to ship the item(s) back to Amazon

The many options for return method and the easy process of resolving refunds make for a great return experience. The Orders and Select Items pages will need to be redesigned to be efficient for our bracketers.
Persona Identity
"Bracketing a purchase" means that shoppers buy multiple versions of an item to see which they prefer, with the intent to return the rest.
- This person has the money to purchase many of the same items
- They want to try the items out and return the items that they do not prefer

Potential Problems:
- Needing shipping materials to return the unwanted items
- It is difficult to complete a high volume return
- The user is unsure that they can return many items in one package
- If the return policy is not easy to access, it could prevent the user from bracketing their purchase
- The user is worried about when the refund will be given and if it will only be in-store credit
- How can the user do the bracketing if items are on sale? How will that be represented in the refund?

Pain Relievers:
- Reusable packaging ready for returns
- A pre-printed return label
- Easily accessible information about the return policy
- Ability for bracketers to monitor the status of their return and refund
- An abbreviated return flow
- In-store credit while the returned item(s) is/are in progress
Journey Map
My initial journey map is very similar to Amazon and most other e-commerce return flows. The user accesses their orders through their accounts page. Amazon's "Select Items" page wasn't optimized for bracketers, so I removed the page from my flow altogether. Instead, there will be checkboxes on the "Orders" page and the option to begin a return pops up once one of the checkboxes is clicked.
Usability Studies
I tested my prototype in person with 3 different users.

1. Access Recent orders
2. Select all sizes of a shirt except one
3. Complete the return for these items (reason, refund method, return method, confirmation)

- Very familiar with Amazon's return flow
- Initially tried to return items individually rather than bunching them together
- Wishes Amazon didn't always ask why she was returning an item

- Confused by the quirks of the prototype, specifically by the checkboxes
- Stopped on each screen to view everything
- Took a while to understand the concept of bracketing

- Confused by the prototype's animations
- Made it through the flow very quickly and intuitively
- Is a frequent bracketer and understood the concept and goal very well
Our user testing informed us that users preferred not to be asked why they were returning an item. This was removed from the return flow following testing. Smaller elements of the prototype, such as the checkboxes and animations, were refined and removed respectively.
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