Rauh Vinyl Records. The Online Shop

Site redesign for a second-hand vinyl shop in Berlin

Photo by: Florencia Viadana

This is a case study of how the site redesign for the Rauh Vinyl Record shop was created.

The brief for this Ironhack project was: “In one week and in groups of three, find a store that either has no e-commerce shop or has one that is in need of a redesign.”

I worked with Maximilian Stoll and Daniela Okamura, fellow Ironhack students. Music being a common interest amongst us, we decided to choose a record shop to make our focus for the project. After some searching around Berlin, we found Rauh Vinyl Recordstore in Prenzlauerberg

We used the Design Thinking method to guide us through the project. Starting off the empathy stage with a business analysis, in order to understand what the business’s needs and goals were. This way we would be able to create solutions that will deliver value and trigger the development of a quality product that will offer services to fulfill the desired goals.

To get this deeper understanding, we got in touch with the stakeholder and organized an interview. Due to the pandemic, only one of us could conduct the interview in person, so Max went out to the field and got some insights.

Rauh Record Shop Berlin

The shop is owned by Thomas Rauh who runs the shop by himself. It is a pretty small shop where Thomas usually likes to connect with his visitors and talk about the great finds he gets in his shop. He likes to advise people about new music based on what the customer is looking for. Unfortunately, during corona, this was no longer possible. Giving the website a homely feel was something to keep in mind whilst doing the UX.

A Rauh Vinyl website does already exist, but no sales are made online. It is currently only used for informing customers of their services and some background information on the shop.

To identify opportunities and threats in the current marketplace, we did a competitive analysis. This way we could focus on improving what already exists and save us time and energy for this shorter project in reinventing the wheel.

A feature comparison gave us insight into what services/features other companies are implementing on their site and the success rate of each feature. Inventory, best-sellers, filters, guest checkout, request form, suggestions, song preview, vinyl condition, merch, information were what we focused on. The e-commerce shops we compared were eBay, Amazon, Discogs, Record sale, and one shop that also has a physical shop, HHV.

Next came a brand comparison to get a comparison on how competitors are branding themselves. We looked at their value proposition, offering, target audience, and brand personality.

Next, we evaluated the specific qualities of Rauh and found it a place on the market based on its qualities. This way we can identify where it lies in the market right now to where we want it to be. We can also identify gaps in the market that we can take advantage of and turn into an opportunity.

Moving on to user research. We needed to hear what people would need to make them future possible users of Rauh online shop. What would draw them to use the site, what would they need to build trust and also return to the site. So we set up interviews and put together a survey focusing on talking to those who already actively buy records, whether in stores or online.

A lean survey canvas kept the structure and focus on the most important questions we would need to ask giving us the best insights.

8 people were interviewed. All living in Berlin, 4 DJs, and 4 vinyl enthusiasts.
We asked questions such as:

  • What the experience is finding new music online
  • How do you prefer having stock availability displayed?
  • What factors are important to you when buying second-hand vinyl records?
  • Do you focus on the album art?
  • What criteria do you use when you search for used records?
  • How important are reviews and pictures of the record’s condition?
  • Are there any problems when buying records online?

Here is some feedback that we deemed quite valuable:

  • “If you have a small shop, you can not compete with Discogs. you will need to do something more original, if I go to a shop I would like to speak to someone to give a feel for the shop, hear about the background”
  • Likes creative categorization on websites, so more insightful category, a bit more added value, also shows the person who is selling, is a connoisseur, original categorization, getting inspired…
  • Websites have too much badly organized information
  • Track preview often only plays certain 10–15 seconds, which often do not give enough detail
  • Condition, delivery options, shipping and editor picks are crucial
  • Artwork can make a difference when ordering

We also sent out a survey on Google Forms. Here are some results we got:

Doing user research teaches us the motivation and needs of the user. It saves time and eventually money by getting it right in the development stage rather than learning about iterations after the product is already on the market.

To help us organize the results from the research, we made an affinity diagram.

From here we were getting a good understanding of our users. To solidify the target audience, we created a user persona, giving us not only have more direction but also making sure our personal bias doesn't take over when making decisions.

Our user persona is Riley Cooper.

To further define the product's main objective, we worked on some problem statements. A problem statement is a clear and concise description of the issue we are trying to solve. To come up with these problem statements we focused on the pain points our users revealed during the interview.

Further developing the problem statement into a hypothesis statement:

Finally, we have defined the problem. Now we can focus on the ideation stage. Based on the user research we did, we could decide on the features for the website. To help organise our website, and again not decide based on our own bias, we set up a card sorting. This allows the users to decide where they would most likely expect certain features to be placed on the website. Using a hybrid method, we gave 4 categories where the tester could place 20 cards with different labels into.

Now we had the features, categories, and labels, it was time to do the information architecture. Using the results from the card sorting, we could create a sitemap to help us.

Then we sat down and went to the steps a user would go through when using the site. focusing on two alternative user flows, one of a registered user and one of a new user. Both would conduct a search and purchase a record. User flows allow us to see how many pages we need, if we need any error pages, login pages, etc.

Now, finally, we could start with the wireframes, testing, and iteratiting.