Hebbie: Your Personal Shopping Buddy

Hebbie—UX Design / 2018–19

Industry: E-Commerce
Company: ReCast Technologies
Location: Bangalore, India + Remote
Duration: Dec 2018–April 2019
Role: User Flows, Journey Mapping, Information Architecture, Wireframes, Hi-Fidelity Prototypes, and Style Guide
Status: Live

What is Hebbie?

Hebbie is a hyperlocal e–commerce app that connects customers to product and service deals within their vicinities. The app identifies shopping clusters that have clothing outlets, restaurants and other hospitality services, and helps them acquire customers by promoting their product offerings to potential customers in the area.

Context by the Numbers

  • 390 million internet users in India today, making it the highest in the world
  • 40 million users added each year on average, making highest velocity in user addition
  • Of the 390M users, only 40% (160M) transact online
  • Balance 60% of users (230M) go online for research and content but prefer offline transactions
  • Journey of Trust: Typical users take 3–4 months from internet usage to first transaction
  • Large no. of dropouts in digital journey: 54M users, stop online transaction post first trial purchase

︎Insight 01:

Transference of consumer trust from brick and mortar to online channels has not kept pace with the migration of goods and services from physical to online platforms. Users still value:

  1. Touch and Feel: Visiting stores to try and experience products in person
  2. Interpersonal Trust: Studies suggest a clear correlation between interaction with store executives and feelings of accountability (return of products, maintenance and repair) for customers, thereby increasing purchasing outcomes and loyalty

︎Insight 02:

However, with Amazon and other online retailers acquiring legacy brick and mortar outfits to increase market penetration and building consumer trust, several small brick and mortar stores in cities such as Bangalore and Chennai are seeing profits decline despite high consumer trust.


In a time of rapid e-commece expansion, how might we help small brick and mortar stores in India increase their sales and profitability?

Our Method: Brick and Click Customer Engagement

Partnerning with 30 local brick and mortar shops in the city of Bangalore, India, we set out to digitize their product offerings and promotions for customers to access from the comfort of their homes.
Challenges: The single biggest barrier to customer adoption of e-commerce channels is a lack of trust of online retailers. Hence, given our aim of digitizing local brick and mortar stores, a key question was, how might we ensure that these stores retain their customers’ trust while migrating to online platforms?

Trust Transference from Brick to Click

Our research suggested that creating a synergy between physical and electronic channels of customer engagement and sales was vital for brick and click operations to gain customer trust, affecting puchasing intent, and bolstering loyalty. In other words, it has become increasingly clear that “brick” operations positively affect decisions of “click” customers.

︎Insight 03:

It has become increasingly clear that “brick” operations positively affect decisions of “click” customers.

︎Insight 04:

In store interactions engender interpersonal trust, whereas impersonal trust is needed for click operations to work.

User Studies

01 / What did Shoppers Think?

Consumer Profile: Women (Ages 25–45)

  • The Women we met were a mix of housewives, working and self employed women. Some were working in IT, in HR companies and in ITES companies and one was a make up artist. 

  • Across the board, they were fitness conscious with regular Yoga, walking, and going to the gym. They also loved travelling to new destinations. 

  • Weekends were relatively easier paced and was often spent with the family. The young un marrieds, were out with their friends on Saturdays with Sunday reserved for family.
Quotes from the Focus Groups

“Weekdays are always rushed. Weekends are more relaxed to just get up a bit late and have a brunch!”

“Today social media has become the main way of getting ourselves up-to-date on the news,” 

“Fashion trends are accessible on Instagram by following Insta pages of the people or companies”

“Going for movies, pubs, catching up with friends is a big weekend activity for us,”

Women Respondents’ Attitudes towards Technology and Media

  • Web series, reality shows (singing/dancing ) have taken over from soap operas.
  • They also spenttime catching up on news in social media  FB, WhatsApp, Instagram.
  • Youtube seems a big source of information – on recipes,tips on dressing/grooming 
  • Many were followers of brand pages and celebrities on  Instagram – they got their fashion ideas from this medium

Observations on Women Respondents’ Social Habits

  • Many of these women socialized and shopped at malls with their friends and kept in touch through WhatsApp
  • A good deal of family bonding was done through shopping at malls and on high-street stores

Women Respondents’ Shopping Habits

  • Shopping through e commerce sites was quite frequent and rampant.
  • This is true across a whole range of categories – everyday wear clothes, Electronics, mobiles, and other high involvement categories.
  • Many had installed Apps of Flipkart, Amazon, Myntra, Shein, Club Factory, Nykaa, Voonik..
  • Many also were bargain seekers and checked the websites of clothiers like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle.
  • Some respondents talked about Vouchers which were to be exchanged by physically visiting a store as well.

“Some of these offers have hidden terms – can redeem it only the next month and on only a few days…” 

                               —Respondent, IT Professional

︎Insights on Respondents’ Views on E-Commerce:

  • Convenience of being able to purchase a desired item without much risk is the attraction of E commerce.  
    However, they are apt to make mistakes that they come to terms with (color and material not as per their expectations)
  • Consumers often buy small gadgets, accessories, low risk clothes like Tops, cosmetics, lingerie and handbags through E-commerce sites.
  • For larger gadgets, they would go to the store to get a “look and feel” of the product and may finally buy it online

“I went to Shoppers Stop and bought an Apple Watch—my husband looked out for and redeemed an offer—it felt so good as we got a huge discount!”

                                    —Respondent, HR Executive

︎Final Insights from Shoppers:

  • Distrust of Offers: Some also mentioned that there were “catches” in all offers (redeemable only after a certain date in a certain month all making it difficult for them)
  • There is a fair bit of “taking for granted” the money that gets loaded onto their wallets by Stores. Often, it remains unutilized, as consumers don’t seem to transact during the offer period
  • Visit and Redeem: Many talked of actually visiting a store and then taking advantage of emailed offers in situ
  • Shopping as a Social Event: Respondents visited malls and high-street stores with their families and friends as a form of bonding and socializing. In essence, a large amount of purchasing is done in physical stores.

Shopper looking at a Sari on Commercial St., Bangalore 

What does the Current Shopper’s Journey Look Like?

02 / What did Shop Owners Think?


  • We interviewed 15 shop owners on Commercial St., one of Bangalore’s most popular shopping destinations. These merchants predominantly owned clothing and footwear shops, accessories stores, and restaurants

  • A Family Business: Most of the shopkeepers we interviewed had run the business for at least 20 years, taking the shop over from their fathers, and ready to pass it on to their children

  • Every shop keeper on average spent 10hrs/day at their store, from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm

  • Most stores had some form of electronic billing system with a Windows OS computer and a printer

  • Some of the larger stores had 2 assistants/sales people who assisted with the billing, maintenance, and showing customers around
Quotes from the Focus Groups:

“I began working at this store when I was 16 and took over from my father when I was 28. I’ve seen Commercial St. during its peak,”

“I really can’t leave the store because I keep accounts and have to make sure customers see me when they browse”

“If I leave the store, my son is always here to manage the staff and make sure customers are getting what they want”

“Some of our neighboring stores have hi-fi computers that help them sell their clothes through websites as well.”

“Old customers continue to come because I can always get them items that want but I don’t have in stock immediately”  

“There has definitely been a reduction in customers after Amazon and Flipkart started selling clothes. People prefer shopping online. But Diwali, Christmas and New Year are better for us”

                                    —56 y/o Owner of Clothing Store

︎Final Insights from Shop Owners:

  • Inability to Invest: Owing to small budgets, and considering their modest operational capabilities, shop owners cannot afford to invest in technology to help market their offerings. 

  • Lack of Expertise: The average business is 40 years old, and despite a desire to keep pace with an ascendant e-commerce sector, most shop owners lack the operational know-how to grow their businesses.

  • Too Small to Attract Talent: Much like their inability to invest in tech, small budgets deter them from attracting sales and marketing talent

  • Low return from stand-alone websites and other digital marketing initiatives: Some of the larger stores had their own stand-alone websites. But besides featuring general contact and ownership information, these websites didn’t act as active digital counterparts to their physical stores where people could browse and transact.

  • Diminishing Foot-fall: With large swathes of former shoppers growing increasingly conversent with e-commerce, customer traffic in brick and mortar stores have diminished.

User Personas:

Introducing Hebbie

01 / Real–time Promotion:

An example of this feature would be an eatery in the shopping cluster, as a result of surplus capacity, sending a limited–time offer to customers through Hebbie to trigger footfall. 

Hebbie / Real-time Promotion

02 / Footfall Trigger:

Hebbie will alert the retailer of the presence of a potential customer or repeat customer in the area, and the retailer can then use Hebbie to message the customer to induce a visit to the store.

03 / Inventory Trigger:

Using a clearance sale like model, a movie theatre in the cluster, owing to excess capacity, can sell its seats for half the price through Hebbie as a way to liquidate excess capacity that is perishable.

Hebbie / Inventory Trigger

04 / Shopping Journey Curation:

Customers can use Hebbie to add promo–codes and coupons to their shopping wallets, and Hebbie will curate their shopping journey based on customer proximity to each of the stores in their cart.

Hebbie / Shopping Curation

Process / Wireframes:

Wireframes for the App

Process / Sitemap:

Process / Style Guide:

Outcome / Hebbie / High-Fidelity App:

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Copyright 2020 Mukul Chakravarthi, All Rights Reserved.