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Dropship is a tool that allows zulily vendors to ship directly to our customers from their warehouse or home. This is primarily due to the fact that some items are hazardous or too large in shipping size for our facilities to support.

Over the past couple of years, the number of vendors that use our dropship tool has increased exponentially; and our vendor specialists were struggling to keep up with change. Not only was our tool outdated, it was not reliable. In order to monitor our vendors to make sure all the correct items are being shipped, a redesign of the tool was desperately needed.

My role in this project was to recreate and fully redesign the overall tool. I worked closely with several vendor specialists and project managers to research, analyze, and design a dropship dashboard that catered to the primary user, the dropship vendor specialist (VS).

In my initial group interviews with the VSs, I noticed a common factor which was not being able to trust the data. This data includes everything from being able to track numbers, knowing when a purchase order (PO) is cut, and how long the vendor has to ship, and everything else that was necessary to do their job. But in order to understand the challenges they were going through, I asked them to hone in on a certain function or a specific data layout that they were unhappy with.

“Being able to prioritize the workload and have all information visible within the same page. One too many times do we have to go into multiple platform just to get basic information. We also don’t want to go layers deep in pages for us to prioritize which actions need to be taken first.”

“Dropship vendor specialists have limited resources. We need more power in our dashboard to fix the problem we see. It is important to see actions and tasks being marked as complete due to the quantity and variety amongst them.”

“Tracking number is a main functionality for us. It’s one problem not being able to surface the correct tracking numbers, but it is another to wonder if the tracking number is even correct. A history of tracking information would be helpful.”

“General data that is being pulled in is not running in real time. A lot of the times, when we complete a task, the dashboard won’t recognize it until it is too late. This is setting us up to do the same task multiple times. Now times that by 100.”

Although we cannot target all the needs and wants of each dropship VS, we highlighted certain goals that must be met in phase 1.

  • Tackle tracking information and know correct time stamps of actions surrounding it.
  • A sense of uniformity and rules that consolidates when to cancel or terminate an order.
  • Know how many times a VS is reaching out to a vendor for communication.
  • Create a dashboard that pulls all necessary information to organize workflow for the day.
  • Faster update for vendor and dropship orders.
  • Easily manager dropship POs with one source to reconcile all order of PO quickly and accurately.
  • Being able to add notes and email vendor at any level: vendors, POs, and orders.
  • Bulk upload and cancel selectively within vendors, POs, and orders.

The main user for this tool is the dropship vendor specialists. Although other vendor specialists may use this tool, it will never be at the mass quantity of the first.

  • Typically, each VS dedicated to dropship have around 300 vendors they need to oversee.
  • They must track communication with those vendors, whose products are live on our site.
  • Must be able to cut a PO when the vendor’s event is over.
  • Quickly track and have an oversight to when and what products are shipped.
  • Flag vendors who are not meeting timeline of estimated ship date.
  • Prioritize which vendors needs attention first verses others at the beginning of each day.
  • Increase the percentage of perfect orders for dropship.

To understand and analyze the challenges and goals needed, we engaged the VS in group activities to see what kind of functions they would like to see, how the layout would look like, and do a voting system of what came out in top.

This gave me a clear indication to how the VS would like to see their data structure laid out and to understand more about what they do for their daily work. It was also good for them to communicate with each other to see what common issues and successes they have.

From these activities, I would then go over the top votes and compare their layout and mocks with mine. Do I see anything in common or differences? Is the workflow going to work in a certain situation? Why did one layout get more votes then another?

Understanding and being able to answer these questions helped me tremendous in the overall process. Not only was I able to understand what information needed to be surfaced immediately, but I was able to create a workflow that would increase productivity and save time cross departments.

The sitemap created showed the direct link between each pages and the functions that were allotted for each page. To summarize, a dashboard would be the center-fold of this project. Here we would have a top five vendors who have missed the estimated shipping time, and top five approaching. It would also include highlighted key stats that would dynamically change to which VS is selected.

Below that would be a robust table that pulls in all necessary communication, dates, time windows, flags, and more. Filters and a search function will be the heart of this table due to the vast amount of information it will hold. This allows each VS to quickly research and validate any updated information they would want, whether the vendor is in their oversight or a peer.

From there, secondary pages are leveled off and dedicated into displaying more granular information and primary functions. Pages are regarded towards vendors, all purchase orders, each product ID and order ID. Functions would include bulk upload, bulk cancel, add notes, and email vendor.



Please expand to a larger screen to see a prototype.