• Darren Cody

The Rig Hut Case Study - Marketplace For Truckers To Find Parking Solutions




Introduction to Marketplace Studio

Marketplace Studio is a boutique agency that specializes in designing & coding custom social marketplaces. We focus on the Pre-Development steps by methodically using Design Thinking to build prototypes and validate with potential Users before any code is written. This allows us & Client to stay flexible and move quickly.


Introduction to The Rig Hut

The Rig Hut is a Florida-based startup tackling the Trucking industry by bringing a safe & effective platform for Trucking companies to find flexible parking and storage solutions for their rigs.


Pre-Development Package Description

Marketplace Studio partnered with The Rig Hut for Pre-Development & Development packages utilizing Sharetribe Flex for the following 9 services over 3 months of effort.

  1. Inspirational Market & Competitor Research

  2. Target Persona Profile Development

  3. Brand Evolution

  4. UI Design System

  5. Storytelling Product Development for the Availability Booking Calendar

  6. Payment Integration Requirement Documentation

  7. Technical User Stories

  8. Full Stack Development

  9. Manual Quality Assurance


Inspirational Market & Competitor Research

Researching and defining what companies currently exist in the market, and what companies (direct or indirect) you aspire to become, is an exercise we perform to get a deep understanding of the problem a marketplace is solving. It allows us to see the potential TAM (Total Addressable Market), how SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will play a part in scaling the business, which problems have existing solutions, and so much more.


Target Persona Profile Development

In a marketplace, it is typical to have at least 2 personas, 1 for Supply, and 1 for Demand. It is then a business decision to determine which persona you initially target, and which will gain your focus later. If a marketplace is offering its products or services in multiple categories, it is also possible to have more than one per parent or sub-category. Understanding whose problem(s) you are solving creates a more consistent product and gives the Marketplace Studio creators the context behind what they are designing and developing. These personas are heavily relied upon in the Pre-Development & Development stages, ensuring everyone is on the course the Founders want them to be on.


Branding Evolution

Branding for a marketplace is often more important than in a traditional business model due to the challenge online platforms face in building and conveying trust to its Users. Branding helps set the tone and create memorable first impressions. It is more than simply choosing which primary & secondary colours you use. Marketplace Studio will guide you through creating a new Brand or elevating an existing one. We explain the whole process and define the jargon for you to educate you along our journey. From understanding what the 12 Brand Archetypes are, to choosing a colour pallet that passes the contrast ratio test.


UI Design System

Having a professional aesthetic to your marketplace platform will dramatically impact your bounce rate, conversions, and overall likeness of the platform. Designing & implementing a Design System solves those problems. It results in that uniform look you see at a franchise business that gives you comfort in knowing what to expect. The User Interface Design System is creating what your buttons, toggles, input fields, hover states, and everything else look like on your marketplace.


Storytelling Product Development

We leverage the popularized Design Thinking methodology combined with the art of Storytelling to design, iterate, validate, and document the solutions we are creating for your marketplace. This is a 13-step process that Marketplace Studio steers you through to uncover the true problems we are trying to solve and work out the details before any code is written. You can read more about it here.


Integration Requirement Documentation

Preparing to integrate with a new technology tool is not as always as simple as scanning API documentation and handing it to a Developer to resolve. You should document every single use case you need to achieve with that solution and even break the integration into phases to be able to release parts of it quickly to your Team or Users.


Technical User Stories

User Stories are a recipe, or a set of detailed instructions, for a team of Developers to code your solution according to the designs of the prototype / 3D mock. They help provide context to the Developers regarding what they are building, and ensure that you’ve thoroughly thought through your idea. Additional benefits include thorough documentation for new team members to read in order to understand your product, and test cases allowing a QA to test that solution.


The Rig Hut’s Requirements

The Rig Hut hired Marketplace Studio to join their Team to help document, design, and develop their Sharetribe Flex Platform. We addressed the following:


  1. Define Who Will Use The Rig Hut

  2. Create a Fresh Brand & Logo With a Design System

  3. Design & Develop a Custom Booking Process

  4. Document & Integrate into 3 Payment Solutions (Plaid, Dwolla, NCMIC)


Define Who Will Use The Rig Hut

Like many marketplace businesses, The Rig Hut targets two primary types of users. Firstly, Truckers & Logistics Companies operating in specific counties in Florida, USA and secondly, landowners with underutilized industrial land close to highways. We further defined each persona and put a name to use as a reference for the balance of our partnership. We researched and developed two personas based on in-depth research that resulted in 1 Demand Persona and 1 Supply Persona. We now have a clear understanding of the people we are designing for and what their problems are.

Create a Fresh Brand & Logo With a Design System

The Rig Hut Co-Founders decided it was time to level up the existing branding for their company. Marketplace Studio took them through an exercise of researching brands they personally love and the brands their Personas likely love. We built a new colour pallet, three logo options, defined a clear vision, and developed the personality of the marketplace. Once clearly defined, we were able to test the overall brand impression with people who fit the personas. You will be able to see the result on their Marketplace Platform.


Design and Develop a Custom Booking Process

Sharetribe Flex comes with an out-of-the-box booking process on its Sauna Time template for renting by the day or night. However, The Rig Hut believes that a custom one is required to solve the problem in a more friendly and efficient way for Users. We created a 1-to-1 Availability System that allows Demand to simply choose the number of spots to see if they are available on any given lot. One of the requirements was to have the booking form data be emailed to Rig Hut’s Admin so that they could manually follow up with the leads if they did not convert.


Document and Integrate With Three Payment Solutions

Flex comes with a ready-integration with Stripe as the payment gateway for a marketplace. In Rig Hut’s case, they were unable to use Stripe and required ACH payments to be the primary payment method. They wanted to integrate with Plaid to allow Users to connect to their banks, perform a balance check, verify their ID, and use Dwolla to send an ACH payment to Supply, or NCMIC (Authorize.net) for credit card payments. The three payment solutions were combined into a single customer-facing gateway that is intuitive and easy to use.


Testimonials


What do you think about the partnership with Marketplace Studio so far, halfway through?

We are overly impressed with Marketplace Studio’s performance up to this point. The level of effort the MS Studio team has put in to truly understand who our customers are, what problems they face, and how The Rig Hut can provide a solution is impressive. It indicates what kind of people work at MS Studio. The team is comprised of dedicated people focused on building a solution that works for the founders and their customers. We receive emails, slack messages, and text messages at all hours of the day, nights and weekends asking Jose and I questions to better understand our business. It’s comforting to know MS Studio truly cares and spends time understanding how to build the best platform possible within budget and timing constraints.

What were your expectations going into the Pre-Development Phase of our partnership?

We put a lot of time into interviewing development teams all around the world to help us build our platform. Most conversations left us weary as to timelines and budget, which were very important to us. After a few calls with Darren, we felt we could trust him and his team to develop our vision into a functioning site within our constraints. We expected timely responses and a team that was truly dedicated to building the best product possible, and they have delivered.

What benefits have you seen already in the partnership with Marketplace Studio?

See above – the entire team is dedicated to delivering a superior product. MS Studio is entrepreneurial and cares about the founder’s vision. They provide genuine feedback and are very knowledgeable in ancillary tools that could be used to make our business more efficient.

How would you recommend Marketplace Studio to another company?

I would recommend MS Studio with 100% confidence to anyone who is looking for a small entrepreneurial team to develop a marketplace.