How VendorTree Is Changing The World For Event Planners
VendorTree is designing a marketplace for Event Planners to efficiently and effectively source Vendors & Venues for events. There are some examples of this being done in the market, however, the VendorTree team is taking a different approach to the solution in Florida. They've partnered with the Marketplace Studio Pre-Development Team to design engaging designs focusing on the genuine problems that Event Planners have with existing solutions. The Founder, Patrick Green is actually from the industry and has experienced this pain time and time again with his past events in Florida.
How do you solve for not spending hours Googling multiple companies and then even more time calling and emailing requesting quotes? How do you create a unified workflow that will automatically distribute a proposal to Suppliers where they can respond if they can accommodate all or part of the proposal? How do Suppliers manage the quality of leads to determine who's most likely to become a paying customer? These problems go on and on, but we have found a solution, VendorTree.
The workflows that Marketplace Studio has been helping VendorTree create are:
- Signup Process
- Request For Proposal
- Supplier Proposal Response
- Vendor Profiles
- Search & Discovery
About The Design Process
The Marketplace Studio team is rigorously uncovering the problems that Event Planners have with current solutions or the old-fashioned way of sourcing suppliers for their events. We are creating mobile-first designs that elegantly allow Event Planners to craft proposals that are personalized to their events. We have done User Interviews to know exactly what are the most important details that Suppliers need to know to accurately respond without all of the back and forth or contract negotiations. Thanks to VendorTree's real-world experience, we have been able to prioritize the User Experience of the Event Planners while not compromising on the process for Vendors to respond and connect via a bidding process.
We start by understanding what solutions are existing in the market by either makeshift or old-school methods or by potential competitors. More importantly, by looking at businesses that aren't direct or indirect competitors, the companies that are aspirational with how they design solutions for their community. Inspirational research is part of the first step by understanding the full potential of designing a complete solution.
There are many ways to design a 3D prototype prior to development and many reasons why. The main reason why we know this is a critical step to forging a product that customers will love is that it removes assumptions and ego from the equation. We are able to create a hypothesis for each of the problems we are solving that will guide the primary and secondary research we conduct. Yes, we do make assumptions, however, these are informed by actual evidence or third-party data. Once we have our assumptions outlined, we can move to the User Persona development step. This is highly important for two main reasons, obviously understanding who you're solving for and communicating that through the product development lifecycle, but also to understand the level of complexity of the designs. Take for example Atlassian, they are the creators of tools such as Jira & Confluence. These tools are designed mainly for Product Development, so Product/Development Managers and Developers are most likely their main Personas. The result is a more technical and highly complex product on the configuration (admin) side but a seamless experience on the frontend because traditionally less technical roles are engaging when creating or reviewing tickets and creating or collaborating documents.
After Personas are defined based on research and real-world experience, we move into the next step, the Validation step, AKA, User Interviews by people to trial our previous assumptions. This is combining Storytelling and Design Thinking into a hybrid process. Testing the potential of our solution without the assistance of visual aids or designs. We can iterate a lot faster by changing our assumptions that influence the first phase of the design process when crafting our prototype.
We transition into what we refer to as 3 Dimensional Designs of the marketplace, or for the sake of keeping it simple, prototyping in Figma. This is certainly the most exciting part of the process because, for the first time, VendorTree is able to see the true potential of its future marketplace platform. We create a mobile version and a desktop interactive prototype as well. Again, by working backward, we begin at the end of the workflow (feature) and determine as a team what we believe is the best User Experience based on what we've learned thus far. Our Lead Marketplace Designer, Paige C, transforms the subtle ideas that we discussed into something that is simply beautiful. The result is an interactive prototype of the workflow that depicts the learnings uncovered so far and marries it with our branding while designing for the primary persona. This is no easy task but with Paige's real-world experience designing a multi-million dollar marketplace or previous clients, we are able to bring Patrick's idea to life. Paige is definitely an expert when it comes to marketplace prototype designs.
Q&A From VendorTree Team
What were your original expectations with the Marketplace Studio team? "I originally expected to have some general assistance with a marketplace website that I had been working for years to develop and had done so unsuccessfully."
Why have you agreed to continue our partnership with a third contract for designing the VendorTree Marketplace? "Having Marketplace Studio’s fresh perspective and thorough understanding of the marketplace landscape has opened my eyes to avenues I had not yet thought of or knew were possible. Having their team to work with and brainstorm every aspect of the website has been incredibly valuable."
What would you tell a marketplace Founder who's considering designing a marketplace? "I couldnt recomend working with them enough. With their experience, you’ll save a lot of time and effort and will give you confidence in your product."
As a first-time marketplace Founder, what do you believe is most valuable about our Pre-Development process? "The most beneficial part of the pre-development process is having a whole team that sees your vision and through meticulous research and prior experience, is able to expand on that vision, put it into action and make the final creation be the best version it possibly could be." - Patrick Green, Founder of VendorTree.
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