ABOUT THE PROJECT
This project was the final outcome of the class TMP 122: Entrepreneurship, which is taught annually at UC Santa Barbara. The main objective of the class was to learn how to start any type of venture (for profit, non- profit, service, sole-proprietorship), with a focus on high-tech ventures. We were divided into groups of 4-6 students, then spent the quarter together, planning and researching for a business pitch that would be presented in front of experienced investors at the culmination of the class. In the process of pursuing our ventures, each group was required to analyze new business opportunities, develop customer-centric value propositions, and finally—finance, market, sell, our product.
Our group's brainchild was a financial management app aimed at disrupting the emerging FinTech space. We called in Payperless.
At the time of conception, brick-and-mortar retailers were still reliant on paper receipts for managing and tracking customers purchases. Popular apps like Mint are great at organizing spending, but they lack support for one key component: returns. For this reason alone, customers are forced to keep physical receipts accessible. Our goal was to make digital receipts the new standard across all of retail.
My Role: User interface design, user interaction design, customer research
We approached the project in the same fashion as a traditional start-up: starting small and scaling up.
Since Payperless would first launch in Santa Barbara, we conducted hundreds of interviews among both local businesses and potential shoppers who were located in the nearby area. I created a wireframe mockup on Balsamiq in order to more accurately demonstrate how the app might work.
Defining the Key Features: The mockup focused on defining the functionality of the four major components of our product. These included the initial landing screen, a simple dashboard, an ongoing expense report, and a detailed receipt view, the last of which we considered to be a distinguishing feature amongst competing financial management apps. There was no app at the time that not only recorded the total amount spent during a shopping trip, but also allowed users to see the individual items that they purchased. This feature would integrate services like Venmo and make it easier for users to split shared transactions.
An All-Inclusive Experience: While there are several services that track your receipts, none of them track from all sources. This means that customers are left with access to only a portion of their purchases, and have to maintain separate apps. Payperless' holistic tracking ability is where it truly shines:
- Paper receipts can be scanned and uploaded easily via the in-app camera (these receipts are fully functional and can be used to return products)
- Email receipts are automatically detected in your inbox and are uploaded to the app
- BLE beacon technology allows for automatic receipt download when in-store shopping, without needing to print a physical receipt, hand over personal information (like an email address), or even take out your phone
Overall, designing an app from conception to fruition was a rewarding experience, and our product received positive feedback from both investors and our peers.
(The presentation slides used in our final pitch are shown above)