Shop by Shopify

As a UX consultant for the Shop App, my team and I were tasked with researching the entire product discovery flow amongst their existing user base, identifying pain points in their existing on-platform UX, and developing recommendations to pivot the Shop app from primarily a purchase fulfillment tool to a product discovery platform.
Contracted Product Designer, Implementation Lead
September 2022 - January 2023
Esther Lee
Gily Yu
Joseph Casey
Shin Ning

Shop is looking for design explorations and recommendations to build Shop into a shopping destination.

Project Scope

Create novel product concepts to reposition Shop as a shopping destination, with a focus on converting their existing "power user" consumer segment that is unaware of the discovery options available.


Develop research reports, conduct primary research, and ideate and construct aspirational and ambitious feature recommendations to pitch to stakeholders.


Shop is Shopify’s hub for checkout, orders, and tracking.

They offer the highest converting, accelerated checkout on the internet. Shop has over 100 million users and is the 3rd most downloaded shopping app.


...but Shop is currently seen as a shopping utility, not a shopping destination.

The vast majority of users use Shop’s functionality primarily for its seamless, one-click checkout and advanced package tracking functionality associated with their high-sentiment "Shop Pay". Many don’t even know it exists as a shopping platform as well.


And Shop is meant to compliment Shopify’s existing services.

A complicated commerce community, Shop is meant to help creators, developers, and the entire Shopify ecosystem grow - not act as purely a consumer utility.


“How might we make Shop the go-to e-commerce platform for younger consumers (ie. ) given their product discovery habits and shopping behaviors?”


The shopping journey is increasingly nonlinear. Different product discovery paths emerge for various products, and the entire experience rarely happens all in one platform.

of survey respondents said that in-person shopping or DTC platforms are not their primary product discovery paths.
“There's this girl on TikTok who's like The Converse Girl ... I honestly don't follow anyone except people I know, but I watched her videos in full so TikTok kept putting her on my for you page.

She made a TikTok about Asos having baby pink platform Converse. they were like 75 or 80, but I found a student discount on the Asos app.

- Survey Respondent
of survey respondents report having the Shop app, but an irregular open rate demonstrates a clear emphasis on purchase tracking and order fulfillment, rather than a frictionless shopping journey with product discovery at its forefront
“None of those users think of the app the way Shopify describes it - they only see it as a tracking app, as evidenced by app reviews on the app stores. Its massive user base and relative lack of features hint Shopify doesn’t know what it wants Shop to be either. They all have platforms they already prefer.

- Juozas Kaziukenas, MarketplacePulse

Consumers have pre-determined platforms they utilize for specific products - and they rarely seek out new marketplace platforms


Buyers look to items, categories, and need states to get oriented — not brands. Further, the app’s value as a re-discovery tool is muddied by the lack of relevant and logical browse paths.

of survey respondents reported that they open the app less than once a week for the express function of searching or discovering products/"browsing"
“I don’t know what to expect. Having denim, fragrance, dog toys… I don’t know if I would shop like that. I shop in-store in aisles with direct, comparable products - not by brand.

- Survey Respondent
“The big benefit of using this app is that I know I’m supporting individual businesses and going to them directly, unlike Amazon. I’m much more confident that I’m supporting individual or unique businesses through the Shop app.””

- Steven L, Engaged Explorer

Users are broadly enthusiastic about the prospects of discovery within the Shop app — and find a uniqueness to Shop’s inventory and value props once they are aware of the product discovery features.


If we guide users through flows that drive trial of Shop’s robust product discovery offerings and encourage social interaction, it would naturally lead to increased perception of Shop as a product discovery tool.

Breaking Down The Discovery Flow

Our team began by aggregating our research data into key buckets relating to each stage of the discovery process across our predetermined user groups. This enabled us to hone in on key junction points that led to increased bounce rates as well as identify points of increased opportunity - where amongst the product discovery journey users find gaps. This was increasingly essential given our understanding of Shopify's unique product positioning: wherein they are seen as the preferred online retailer for small business - but this equity hasn't extended to the Shop app.

Target User Flow

To further gain an understanding of users’ shopping habits and purchasing rationales and contextualize our broad data, we created a journey map that traced the ideal buyer and anticipated "first adopters" of the shop discoverability ecosystem, categorized by Shop UX's team as "Savvy Searchers'" journeys from the stage of product discovery to an eventual purchase. We wanted to focus on factors such as social validation, organic relationships between buyers and social media content creators, and researching products through online platforms. This enabled us to identify the key motivations behind early adopters - specifically users that would have a high propensity of utilizing and purchasing within the Shop ecosystem and drive "power user" identification.


Ideating New Discovery Functionality to Integrate Within Shop's Ecosystem

We ideated over 20 ideas, spanning the entire discovery user flow, with a focus on integrating concepts that natively work in-app and drive users to the discovery functionality, whether that be from external interfaces or in-app.


Meet Personal Collections

Key Observation

While many websites and retail brands allow users to make accounts and “save” items, a more comprehensive solution that allows users to save items across multiple brands and storefronts doesn’t exist outside of platforms like Amazon.

How It Works

Drawing from Shop’s selected brands, users can “save” items to their collections (think of a playlist, but for items!) and title collections with different themes/priorities.


A Custom Webpage for Creators to Feed Into The Shop Ecosystem

With data demonstrating that referrals and WOM were primary drivers for both product discovery and product validation, a storefront page built both for creators and users to share their favorite finds with their followings encourages shareability and feeds into Shop's influencer product marketing strategy

More Than a Saved Folder

Enabling users to group, pin, and share collections groups and encourages product re-consideration in-platform. It also works to provide a launching point for more customizable merchant storefronts, folding back into Shop's ecosystem and supporting vendors


Meet Shop Maps

Key Observation

Many Gen-Z shoppers unknowingly use the Shop app to track packages, but the connection between its tracking function and shopping function is not clear to users.

How It Works

Every time a user tracks a package, photos of popular products recommended to them in their area pop up too. Clicking into a product reveals its details and the value of the app’s native shopping features.


Utilizing High-Performing Features for Discovery Opportunity

With a high utilization rate amongst the current user base, the package tracking feature presented a large opportunity to provide new discovery functionality for existing users. Natively integrating highly purchased products encourages product discovery outside of traditional flows.

Demonstrating Social Validation and Expanding Logical Browse Paths

Our primary research showed the importance of social validation and networks in moving users from consideration to purchase. Highlighting ratings of products and identifying nearby folks' preferred products subconsciously reinforces product discovery and consideration while adding new browse paths for merchants.


Explaining Shop Cash (Beta)

Now launched, we were asked to explore discovery features to integrate with Shop Cash, their proprietary Shop rewards program natively in-app.

Their Flywheel Thesis

Shop's Product team believed that a loyalty program was an essential system in not only increasing Shop retention, but also building the larger Shopify ecosystem and encouraging merchant adoption of the platform. This meant our goal was to meet them at the personalization stage with a focus on social sharing and higher conversion.


Introducing Cash Out

Key Observation

Users increasingly have a “choice set” of preferred ecommerce platforms. Shop struggles with having a key use case. However, we know that sales, deals, and specific vendors were key differentiating factors in making platforms such as Wish and Etsy become part of that preferred “choice set”.

How It Works

Utilize “Shop Cash” as a social feature that multiplies your rewards based on the number of people that partake in the purchase. Receive discounts as a group and inspire in-app loyalty while also cross-promoting the new Shop Cash product functionality.


Shareable Loyalty Programs and Clear Benchmarking

When building loyalty programs, having an inherently social aspect encourages user retention, with clear benchmarking of progress integral to user understanding and moving users across the loyalty chain.

Encouraging New User Adoption and Flywheel Growth

Creating a shareable functionality in-app encourages existing "brand catalysts" and power users to invite and expand Shop's user base, while also reinforcing on-platform checkout, folding back into Shop's Cash flywheel and introducing Shop Cash seamlessly and socially to existing users.



Product Context is Necessary

Understanding that Shop is only a small part of the larger Shopify ecosystem was crucial for this project. Shop was launched as a primary means to support merchants and increase Shopify's adoption as a SMB tool - not as a new revenue stream. Changing one part of the marketplace could have drastic effects on other parts so understanding contextually where this product fits and really understanding the key KPIs and considerations was vital.

Concept Validation is Key

Concept validation changes everything - and as good as a team feels about an idea, it doesn’t matter until you put it in the hands of a user. UX teams are not the end user! So trying to gauge user sentiment without demonstrating that with users already puts you on the back foot.

Thank you to my team and our amazing clients Jess Erickson and Josh Sucher at the Shop team!