Garage Sale It

Community-purpose marketplace for on-line garage sales
Business Area:
  • Garage sale
  • Thrift store
  • Fundraising
Services:
Location:
  • Australia
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Garagesaleit
GarageSaleIt is an Australian marketplace founded by David and his wife Sara to hold virtual garage sales of pre-loved goods. A peculiarity of their platform consists in organizing the website categories by rooms and areas of the house for a faster navigation of visitors. Buyers can browse and buy from those areas of interest a high-quality second-hand item. The platform applies a subscription model by analogy with the Itunes app. You subscribe, and get access to checkout. Vendor onboarding is also clear and simple. Sellers know what they pay for thanks to transparent step-by-step plans and acquire a subscription according to their needs and capacities. Founders made all their possible to automate processes within the platform to make the life easier for their customers and vendors.

Challenge

  • Integrate Homepage design
  • Integrate designs for Become a Seller landing pages
  • Simplify vendor panels
  • Integrate Stripe subscription system

Implementing the Project

Design integration

The task was to redesign the desktop and mobile versions based on the UniTheme 2 skin. We applied the same styles and integrated the Homepage and Become a Seller page for GarageSaleIt.

Homepage design

The Homepage got a new header menu. By clicking on Menu or Search icons the Menu or Search bar, the user opens them horizontally. The header menu is displayed in the expanded form. For banners, we made it possible to add buttons and shadow banners when the cursor hovers over.

For the mobile version of the header, we used the standard UniTheme2 mobile layouts. We added the default Multi-Vendor search bar to the main banner and placed the elements on the Homepage in the compact manner.
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Vendor Pickup Calendar

Become a Seller landing page design
The website differentiates three types of sellers. A seller may choose either to be a one-time holder of a garage sale, either a fundraiser for a virtual event, or a regular vendor. To introduce all three types to the platform and facilitate onboarding of new sellers, Become a Seller page needed modification. So, we added a new section in the admin panel to tell potential vendors about opportunities they get with each vendor plan.  The process within every section is described with Steps for better representation. The pages with Steps allow the marketplace administrator to:
  • Create steps:
    • Add a name to the step;
    • Add a description;
    • Add an image.
  • Group steps.
The marketplace administrator can edit step description of any plan anytime and show the changes on the storefront without reverting to a developer.
All three types of Become a Seller page are editable in terms of vendor plans. The administrator can place different vendor plans on every page with different prices and conditions. For example, there was implemented such a functionality that allows purchasing a plan either with a one-time payment or by subscription for a predetermined number of days. Administrator can configure any page with plan options on his own. The full control over editing Become a Seller pages is now available right from the dashboard.

Auto approval of vendors

As we already mentioned above, GarageSaleIt provides new sellers with three options:
  1. Garage Sales that are usually held by mums and dads on the event basis one time;
  2. Fundraising option for sellers like schools or community clubs;
  3. Online thrift store that resembles much to a regular second-hand shop but with all ‘virtual amenities’.
By default, the administrator should manually approve vendors to allow them accessing their vendor panels. For the GarageSaleIt vendors, it is now possible to pay for a plan, get the access to the dashboard and start selling without waiting for an approval from the administrator. However, not all types require automated approval. If the vendor type is 1 or 2, automatic approval is in place as these vendors pay their fees one time to have an ‘instant’ access to the platform. For thrift stores that acquire a subscription on a recurring basis, we left an opportunity for the administrator to examine each request individually and manually approve it. After the successful approval, sellers get a pop-up:
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Then, a standard email notification with vendor login and password goes to the vendor’s email.

Vendor panel simplification

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Vendor panel is the tool that needs to be functional and powerful without distracting elements. The default CS-Cart panel contains lots of features, but that does not mean it suits each and every case. For GarageSaleIt, we reworked vendor panels to make them easier for perception, clean and clear. We renamed some elements so that even a newbie in eCommerce can easily track links between the storefront and the dashboard:
  • The “Dashboard” heading turned into the “Homepage” in the vendor panel. 
  • The “Add New Listing” menu appeared on the dashboard page. The link leads to the “Create a new product” page. 
  • We introduced the “Preview My Garage Sale” menu to the “Add New Listing” linking it with the vendor’s microstore on the storefront. 
  • We added the “My Profile” menu linking it with the Vendor editing page.
Some text was hidden or renamed in order not to clutter the vendor panel and make its interface more intuitive:
  • The “Website” menu was hidden.
  • “Products” were reworded to become “Listings”. Moreover, the marketplace administrator was given an opportunity to edit texts on the vendor panel by introducing a separate language variable to Administration – Texts & Languages – Edit texts.
  • We renamed the ‘SEO’ field into ‘Your micro-store link’ and added a URL to the vendor’s micro-store below this field in the form of domain + SEO name. Vendors now can copy the link right from the dashboard.
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Stripe subscriptions

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Any purchase on GarageSaleIt is made through a subscription model. That was made possible thanks to connecting Stripe payment gateway and its further adapting for the marketplace needs.  Automatic subscriptions are valid both for customers and vendors.

One-time vendor payments

With our modification, the administrator now creates plans both with subscriptions and one-time payments.  Here is how the brand owner described his idea about the payment mode:
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If you can think of holding a stall at a Christmas market. The vendor would pay to hold the store with a single payment and at the conclusion of the Christmas market, they would pack up and go home.

This concept was implemented for Garage Sales and Fundraising options. Vendors pay for a “stall” and once it is finished they simply go home. They will pay once with a single payment. For Thrift stores, it was envisaged to introduce a subscription model and make their payments on the recurring basis.

In other words, if it is a one-time payment plan, the vendor pays a fixed price for a chosen plan with a single Stripe payment to sell on the platform for two weeks, for example. After this period expires, access is restricted for the vendor and products become hidden from the storefront. 

But before the full expiration, an email is sent to the vendor stating that access to the vendor will soon be closed. 

We added a new input field to the settings called “Notify vendors of plan expiration before (days)”. The administrator defines for how many days the vendor receives notifications before the plan gets expired. To make notification automatic and timely, a cron script checks the expiration dates of the vendor plans with one-time payments.

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Stripe subscriptions for users
We introduced a new user group for customers – Subscribers. It was made impossible for non-subscribers to purchase an item without subscription. The subscription page on the storefront allows buying or renewing the subscription. This page  is available to users from the link on the registration form and the user profile page. When users register on the website or try to proceed to the checkout, they are redirected to the subscription page. After paying the subscription, they are automatically recognized as Subscribers.  We created a functionality to manage the subscription price and periods in the admin panel and introduced a trial period when subscribers have the free access to the store. The administrator can create subscriptions and specify their period and price. The cron script checks the subscriptions and automatically switches off the user group if the subscription is over. Users with an expired subscription cannot buy anything as the ability to create orders is automatically switched off for them by the program. It makes processing payments of subscribers almost automatic. The entire workflow became accurate like clock work.
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Stripe subscriptions for vendors

When vendors choose a plan and submit a registration form, they are redirected to a simplified checkout page that allows buying or renewing the vendor subscription. After completing the payment in Stripe, sellers subscribe to the chosen plan. A special script checks for the relevant plan for auto approval after payment and Stripe automatically charges off the vendor’s credit card according to the plan terms.

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Results

Beautifully designed functional storefront attracting new customers, great choices to cooperate with the marketplace and a simple dashboard for vendors. All of it functions in an almost automatic way implementing subscriptions for customers and sellers.

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