Mobile web experience for influencers
Collabs Creator Side
When Shopify acquired Dovetale, redesigning the purchase was only half the task. The biggest challenge lay in developing a creator-facing side, where influencers could find brands and get matched with them. Dovetale, being a one-way street, didn’t offer much: as a brand, you’d find a creator you like and email them with the faint hope they won’t throw your letter in spam without reading.
My team was tasked with a mobile web experience for creators with a comprehensive brand and product search, convenient Collabs info, and easy automatic payments. A few months later we shipped the first version of the Shopify Collabs creator admin.
Original platform didn't have a creator admin. Merchants had to email or DM influencers in hopes of a response.
Creators didn't have a central place to track all of their collaborations with brand
Creators couldn't find brands who are interested in working together in a single database.
Creators had to demand payments from merchants, remind them to get paid, keep track of their invoices, and manage their payments themselves.
Full-fledged creator admin with all of their collabs at a glance, their affiliate codes and tracking.
Ability to look through a catalog of brands and products, find and apply to work with brands they're interested in.
Centralized payment system with tracking of earnings and automatic payouts.
We needed to make sure that both parties spoke the same language, so we developed a strict taxonomy and a mirrored information architecture to reflect the same menu items and terms that were present in the merchant admin. Inside the experience, however, we developed a more nuanced approach to language based on the research.
I ran dozens of user interviews with creators to gauge their use of various terms and preferences in interactions with brands. Based on the findings, I developed a creator-first part of the experience and introduced specific terms such as payouts instead of payments, brands instead of merchants and so on.
Similar to the situation with the merchant side, for a long time I was the only Content Designer (UX Writer) on the team, so the majority of content was written by me.
Creators need to get paid, brands need to keep track of who they’re paying. One of the biggest benefits of introducing a creator admin was that we finally get to design an internal payment system and not offload payments to an external provider with no control over the transactions.
We also had an opportunity to take the payment process out of the merchant routine altogether and automate all transactions based on tracked affiliate codes. To get it right, we ran a lot of user interviews on both sides, focusing on how creators get paid, what their biggest challenges are, how disputes are normally handled, and what system would be optimal.
We then developed a long multi-tiered roadmap that included an initial US-only MVP for just a few dozen merchants, and later launched internationally. From the MVP we learned that despite receiving a 3-page PDF with details, merchants still had questions about the automatic system.
Which is why for the general audience launch we needed to make sure that merchants are motivated to switch and have all the answers upfront. We decided to address as many questions as we can in an activation modal, while keeping it short for readability. We succeeded with 60-80% switch completion, depending on the moment in the journey when they’re faced with the modal.
Merchant-facing final UI
Payments was one of the most challenging projects I've ever worked on. Not because W9s, taxes, and currency conversions are a nightmare (what number should be displayed to a Korean influencer promoting a British brand when the payment was processed in USD?), not because Shopify is legally not a marketplace of services so we can't solve some issues for our merchants, not even because it's just a financially complicated area with a lot of regulations.
The biggest challenge was the ethics of payments and disputes. From research we know that the hardest part of being an influencer is proving you've done your job to get paid. We also know that merchants struggle with creators who demand payments when the requirements were not, in fact, met. There's a sea of grey areas and a lot of hurt feelings of both sides, so my job was to create a system with as much transparency, predictability, and honesty as I could envision.