On Developing A Shopping Assistant App:
Should I Buy The Bag?

Or the story of how I make my friends getting addicted to being in a shopping crisis.


Avril 2018

With that very superficial introduction, I’d like to share the story of this app, created last summer after a friend came to me with that very annoying question “Should I buy this bag?!”.

First, it was a fashion blog

During my Digital Marketing years, I was writing a fashion and travel blog which, long story short, was sharing tips and great advice to shop smart and on a budget.

I’ve let the blog died when I started learning web development but I kept good shopping habits. When, last summer, my friend asked me whether she should buy that Furla bag, I couldn't help but thinking of those years blogging about shopping advice. She came to the right pal.

I drew her a flow chart, one of those I’ve learned to draw during my studies in development and posted it on Instagram. Another friend commented on the post and asked if she could use it to design it. And it hit me:
I can develop it too.

should I buy the bag flow chart

The Gaming strategy

One of my former Master colleagues was really into gaming and his dream was to join the Ubisoft team or one of those huge gaming company. I was also aware of gaming as part of UX design and marketing strategy: Tinder, Uber, all using gaming design to make users stay or return on the app

I wanted to try something. I wanted to apply strategies I’ve learned and got the opportunities to develop another project.

When, end of July 2017, I had this conversation with my friends, that was it, my gaming app.

Then came the app

As I started building the app, I first thought of how I would lead a user to get an appropriate answer to the question “Should I buy the bag”. While I was a blogger, I invited shoppers to ask themselves useful questions such as “do you really want it?” “Can you tell at least one occasion you will wear it?” “Is it good quality?” “are you going to wear it more than once?” and so on.

The questions needed to be asked in the correct order: first of all, the most basic questions to ask oneself and only later, a bit more specific ones.

I also believe that as far as you go in the test without answering wrong, you quite have it right regarding the item and the last questions are more strategic: money questions.

should I buy the bag

I wanted to build a very easy app to use, with the little knowledge of UX I had from my readings, listening to podcasts and attending Meetups.

I used the UX of Tinder and the strategy of BuzzFeed quizzes: the addiction of wanting to know what’s next by just tapping on a button.

As I organized the question and give a straight no answer to every wrong answer, I figure user might want to retry the test. Why? Well, either to get further in the test, discovering the other questions, maybe to get a positive answer, by boredom or amusement, to see the whole concept or last but not least, to keep playing.

Just like those BuzzFeed Quizzes: "Which Disney Prince are you?", "Tell me what you drink I'll tell you which city you should live in". We have so much better things to do of our time and yet, we keep playing to get a ridicule answer about who we are. Should I Buy The Bag test is meant to give the same feeling.

buzzfeed-quizz
buzzfeed-quizz

I, therefore, collected every answer from every test to understand the users, their shopping habits and how they would answer the test.

With 180 tests taken so far, more than 50% took the test, at least, twice. Someone even 10 times in a row… Game on!

With a hint of attitude and laughter

During my blogging and digital marketer years, I figure that the best way to get traffic is to make people talk about your site, your product, service. If you have something that amuses or interest people, they’ll tell their friends.

Having an attitude in this test and in the rest of the site was my way to get attention. Being slightly provocative, tenderly harsh is part of the game.
Don’t we all love Gordon Ramsay?

And a good laugh. Using the gif as an answer to say yes or no is, first, a popular tool to amuse but also the right mix of pop culture, video and media to share on social networks.

As we turn to our friend for shopping advice, I use Zapier, an automation tool, to catch any tweets with keywords "Should I Buy The Bag" and reply with the link of the app. If they don't find the app by themselves, I'll come to find them, even in the changing room!

tweet-should-i-buy-the-bag
tweet-should-i-buy-the-bag

Curiosity and reassurance

With all the data collected while the tests were taken, I gather enough information on how the user's shops. I figure sharing the statistics will be interesting for the users to compare themselves and nourish their curiosity also called voyeurism, a classic behavior heavily nourished by social media these days...

From there, you can found out if you are part of the majority of people who cherish an addiction for shoes more than a bag. Also, place yourself in the online shopping team or the outdoor shopping one. Finally, find out how many reasonable and smart people took the test and receive a positive answer: the ultimate approbation by Queen B or the sweet sweet advice from Aziz Ansari in Parks and Recreation: Treat Yo Self!

Life is short buy the bag!
Treat yo self!

To conclude, I would say that in the shopping cart for a cool app should be: 1 gaming strategy, 1 provocative narrative and popular gifs to spread the love on the internet.

An addiction to shopping is a must.