You need to only look at one statistic for appreciating the huge market mobile e-commerce has become, and that is; In 2015, Mobile Commerce accounted for almost 30% of all US e-commerce sales. Naturally, when Emeka Anen dreamed of creating an e-commerce community driven by the love of rare sneakers and street-wear, he instantly thought: Mobile.
Formerly, known as InstaSneaks, Anen knew the app wasn’t all that it could be. Realizing he needed a technical partner who not only understood his vision for the app, but could imbue it with his entrepreneurial spirit, he partnered with us.
He wanted better designs, efficiency, and above all, a cutting-edge forum where all sneakerheads could bond over (and profit from!) their passion for sneakers.
And, so we began by dubbing InstaSneaks, Throne!
What Does Throne Do?
Foremost, Anen wanted to build a forum where the passion of street-wear enthusiasts could be understood and accepted. Next, he wanted to build a secure platform where people could not only discuss, but showcase and sell their rare street-wear items. Users can use Throne to do several things, including:
Create their personal profile
around their own street-wear
Connect with others with the same interest in sneakers and street-wear.
Show their shoe and clothing collection by uploading high-resolution pictures.
Create a digitized locker to keep all their collections safe and secure.
Barter/Trade with each other over the items they love the most.
Use the in-built secure e-Wallet for transactions and other options like PayPal.
Our first challenge was designing a perfect, interactive interface that could support all the above features – and more – without compromising the app’s performance.
You could argue things were easier for us because there was a previous version of the app, InstaSneaks. But, that would be incorrect! We strictly stayed far away from that version and opted to completely revamp the app, because of one simple reason: It Wasn’t Good Enough!
The previous designs were, to put it politely, amateurish. That was the first thing Anen wanted changed. He wanted designs that were user-centric and hip yet regal (all traits that complemented the app name: Throne!). We created additional exciting features not offered in InstaSneaks.
First, we gathered information about Throne’s competitors. Because there weren’t any direct competitors that catered to this specific market; we focused on mobile e-commerce apps. We studied and analyzed their most popular features.
Next, we studied the best social media apps out there – because ‘social interaction’ was to be the soul of Throne. We picked the features that would excite our users; features that would make their experience as interactive and interesting as possible.
We started by making wireframes that accentuated Throne’s hip and regal look. Once we had the designs to base the app on, we started developing the interactive feature designs like the 5 RSS Feeds, Swipe-able Tinder-like App Walkthrough, animated splash screens etc.
We built features that beckon sneakerheads to share, trade, buy/sell, view and comment on each other’s street-wear.
Showcasing our streetwear collection in one place was a bit of a challenge. Comprehensive layout for displaying collection under one roof was achieved by incorporating scrolls and other add-on features without compromising the app’s performance.
Inclusion of this interactive feature of letting the users click pictures of their products was sure to add fun. But the task of integrating multiple windows for a single product was well received by users as it enhances UX creatively.
Gateway for payment must be easy to access and free from all errors. Driving sales through e-wallet was our prime task and we achieved it successfully without compromising UI.
Crafting Brilliance, Carefully
Our new intuitive designs for Throne simply couldn’t be supported by the sub-standard code of InstaSneaks. Our developers had to start from scratch. Like with all things development, we came across – and persevered – through quite a few challenges.
1. Creating the Referral Program
This was perhaps the most difficult and time-consuming challenge for our developers – to integrate referral program with e-wallet. The user community on Throne thrived using the referral programs and the different discounts offered within the app by referring other friends to join throne community via social media, emails and messaging. The mechanism incorporated for the same was to add up the reference bonus in terms of currency in e-wallet to avail discounts on next purchase for referring. To top it all off, because of its sensitive nature, the E-Wallet feature demanded a secure and safe solution. We used the Branch.io referral SDK and API.
2. Pull to Refresh
By integrating Pull-to-Refresh option we made sure that overall UX can be enhanced through ease of functionality. The purpose of pull to refresh is to update user with latest news feed through interactive touchpoint. So while user drags down the menu we grab our opportunity to convert the load-time into interactive animation for loading news feed.
3. XML Parser for RSS Feed
We wanted to give the users as much freedom as possible and keep them up-to-date with their favorite collections, users and brands they wanted to follow– we created a feature that would enable them to setup up to 5 different RSS feeds. Writing the code that would do just that was and exciting challenge for our developers.
4. Tinder-like Swipe-able App Walkthrough
Developing a creative app for building a long community always demands innovation. We led this innovation by deploying 9 touchpoints throughout the app which features swipe option for navigation. Doing this was not easy as we incorporated customized swipe-able options for social media integration which was not supported by SDK.
The unparalleled efforts our experienced designers, strategists, marketers and developers put into creating the app, naturally, bore fruit for Emeka Anen.
Appreciating Anen for carving a place for himself in a new market with Throne, the multi-cultural online community of creators and influencers, Blavity, dubbed him the King of Sneaker Culture. Emeka Anen praised Peerbits for its professionalism, experience and out of the box thinking and said, “Thrilled to have worked with Peerbits. They took this app to a whole new level, professionally.”