Sarah Huang: contributed to write-up
Ace Haidrey: contributed to write-up
Jordan Wong: contributed to write-up, interviewed at flea market
Huini Xu (Whitney): contributed to write-up, interviewed at flea market
In order to get a sense of an environment where prices weren’t set and customers were free to bargain for goods, our group sent Whitney and Jordan to the Berkeley Flea Market to interview some of the people there. The specific people they encountered included:
Brazilian girl currently traveling in the Bay Area for 1-2 months; likes flea market, because she could get old stuff which she couldn’t find elsewhere.
guy who always held flowers; loved talking with vendors in flea markets, and sometimes he tried to see if they could trade items
lady always looked for stuff she needed in flea market first
When travellers visit another country and decide to purchase items from the local markets, they find that at certain locations, prices aren’t set and can be negotiated. Wares can often include knock-offs that are priced more highly than they are worth, and vendors will play upon the desires and ignorance of foreign customers. Often this sort of back-and-forth in a game of purchase requires some skill and time to master. Skilled hagglers will spend an entire day at a local market, comparing prices, getting to know vendors, and cutting down prices. With the haggling app, travellers are able to save time by viewing a seller’s merchandise, reviews of the products, and the prices that previous travellers have purchased or negotiated for the item to get a better sense of how much items are worth and how low vendors are willing to sell certain items. However, knowing the lowest price a traveller purchased an item does not necessarily mean an inexperienced haggler can obtain the same item for the same price. In addition to a listing of various prices at various vendors and markets for different items, our app caters to novices by offering a “buddy system”, allowing them to pair up with a native friend who has more experience in the local markets to give them advice while they attempt to bargain for the price. This alleviates the awkwardness of appearing like the foreigner who is ignorant at haggling with a friend on the side constantly arguing about the price, and avoids rudeness since the friend can remotely advise the user by sending notifications via smartwatch.
The first interviewee was a girl who was looking for rings. She walked around to see if she could find any styles she liked. Then she walked to a booth, and picked some rings up to look at them. She tried two of the ones she liked. Then, she asked the price of her favorite one, and the vendor told her that it was $15. She asked, “What price could you make it for me?” The vendor thought for a few seconds and said $13. The girl then asked if the vendor could make it $10. The vendor said that it was really a good ring. The girl said she knew, and took out a $20 bill. The vendor asked if $13 okay, but the girl insisted on $10. They finally made a deal. The girl then wanted to find a recorder. She saw a big booth with all kinds of old devices and found out they had some recorders. She asked how much was one of them, and it was $25. The recorder looked very old, so she was concerned that it would not work; therefore, she didn’t buy it.
Our next interviewee was a man who always held flowers in his hand. When we interviewed him, he was talking with a new vendor. He asked if the vendor needed flowers or flower seed. He was willing to trade these with the vendor to get some good deals. The new vendor liked his idea and agreed to trade with him. The man then told us about how he traded before. He would bring some flowers or seeds to a plant vendor at the flea market. The guy who sold plants would give him half off on the items he bought. He was very enthusiastic as he explained this to us.
Our last interviewee was a lady who was searching for the stuff she liked in the flea market. She talked to us for a long time. She said the reason she came to the flea market was because she cared about the quality a lot. She thought the things they sold in IKEA, for example, could not last long at all. That led to another thing she really cared about, which was the environment. She was so upset about people chopping down more trees for the wood to make “disposable” furniture. She said she would definitely teach her children and grandchildren to do the same thing as her, so that more people were aware of how to protect the environment.
1. Who is going to use the system?
The system is tailored to both beginning hagglers and expert bargainers. International travellers who want to get a preview on the prices at local marketplaces will also find this app useful.
2. What tasks do they now perform?
At the moment, our users can look up popular marketplaces to haggle online, travel there to browse the merchandise, and physically ask the sellers’ prices for goods they want. They can also attempt to haggle if they have the skills, and some can even trade goods instead of using purely money. The user can also use online currency converters to determine the worth of an object in terms of a standard they are familiar with.
3. What tasks are desired?
The buddy system requires a friend more experienced in haggling or more familiar with local marketplaces, so that while the novice user tries to haggle with vendors, the friend can remotely advise them by sending notifications from the smartphone to the smartwatch. Users can also quickly look up the range of prices for items at a local marketplace, so they don’t have to spend time asking different vendors. They can also quickly find out the lowest price a vendor is willing to part with an item.
4. How are the tasks learned?
Inexperienced hagglers simply need to keep trying in order to gain experience. There are tutorials online for how to haggle, and friends experienced in the area can always give advice. At the end of the day, however, individuals just need to get out there and give it a try.
Within the context of the app, the tasks on the app are learned by tutorials given by the app itself on the initial run-through. The buttons for different controls are also clearly denoted.
5. Where are the tasks performed?
Haggling is usually done in marketplaces; within the U.S. this would be done at certain flea markets, but bargaining is certainly more of the norm in foreign countries.
6. What’s the relationship between user & data?
The “data” in this case refers to the prices that a vendor will be willing to sell particular goods for, as well as the set of all comparable prices for similar items from different sellers. It exists in the real world, and the user can only access it by physically asking a vendor for their prices. The app simplifies this by allowing this data to be compiled in one place.
7. What other tools does the user have?
The user could have information from the Internet about particular locations, blogs and travel posts giving tips on how to haggle, as well as friends who could haggle for them. In the app, the user can use a currency converter and the location services to quickly convert between currencies and find local marketplaces.
8. How do users communicate with each other?
Users with the app can share their purchases, location of purchase, and prices with each other. While using the buddy system, the watch and phone are synced so that a friend can talk to the user to advise them on the haggling process.
9. How often are the tasks performed?
The tasks are not performed unless the user is traveling or in the vicinity of an area where they can bargain for goods. Once they are in that environment, however, depending on the purchase, they could be haggling with several different vendors for the duration of the day or even their entire stay.
10. What are the time constraints on the tasks?
To search for locations or items, or to use the currency converter, this task should only take at most a few minutes as the information the user needs should be received instantaneously, so that they can decide on a place to try their hand at bargaining. For individual instances of haggling with a single vendor, the user will need to stay for several minutes -- especially with vendors that drive hard bargains -- in order to get a good price.
11. What happens when things go wrong?
In a real world environment, if the haggling goes wrong (the vendor is offended, the price isn’t right, etc.), users can just leave the store and choose not to purchase.
You’re in a foreign country and you have no experience haggling. Your friend, however, knows a lot about the prices in the area and refers you to HaggleMaster. The app allows you to find a specific good you want to buy, compare prices with merchants in the area, haggle for a certain price and share your purchase! While you’re haggling, your friend can send messages via smartphone to your smartwatch, on which actions you should take when dealing with the vendors. Score! You just got spices for 3 pesos!
User Interface Description
You want to buy spices at a foreign marketplace, but you have no experience haggling! Your friend introduces you to HaggleMaster, where he can provide tips for you when you haggle for the spices. Alright! Got the spices for a cheap price!
You’re in a foreign country and you want to search for nearby luxuries, but have no idea where to find them. HaggleMaster allows you to find local marketplaces that sell the good.
You bought an awesome item, but you want to share it to the world! HaggleMaster allows you to share purchases.
LIST OF COMPETITORS:
Allows the user to find the best restaurants.
Check your scores and understand how valuable you are to restaurants.
Quickly and easily Haggle for a personalized price.
The higher your scores, the better chance you have of getting a bigger bargain.
Serves as a medium where online shoppers and vendors can reliably buy and sell goods.
An online community where users can communicate with each other in a streamlined manner.
The app for haggling. Negotiate a discount on every item listed - anything between 5% and 50% off the opening price
Target User Group: Haggle appeals to restaurant aficionados, while our application will appeal to shoppers in foreign haggling marketplaces.
Functionality: Haggle offers bargains to people that visits restaurants regularly, and gauges the importance of specific customers to restaurants, while our application will serve as a guide to new and foreign bargainers about prices they should aim for when haggling for a certain good.
Usability: Haggle is very easy to use as the user only needs to check-in at restaurants and like/comment on social media, while our application would require the user to search up a specific good, send messages, and share their purchases. We designed our app to be intuitive as much as possible to avoid usability problems.
Target User Group: Yardsale serves as a medium for communication for users who want to buy and sell their own products, but don’t want to face the problems that come with anonymity (spam, unreliable people). Our application serves more as a guide to new and foreign bargainers about what prices they should aim for when haggling for a specific good.
Functionality: Yardsale offers users a community where users can buy and sell goods reliably, while our application offers users the lowest prices for specific goods in their area and the tools to haggle for optimal prices.
Usability: Yardsale excels at creating an intuitive interface that’s very much like Craigslist’s and users who use online marketing services would be comfortable with Yardsale’s interface, which allows the user to buy and sell products online. Our application utilizes a similar concept, except the transaction doesn’t take place online. In our app, users can search for products in their immediate location and haggle for lower prices at different shops.
Target User Group: Profr could find services, sports or other stuff online and it is in the UK, while our app will focus on travelling shoppers who want to visit local market.
Functionality: Profr offers negotiation with sellers through messages, while our app will provide other users’ experience about the same product and haggle with the shopper face to face.
Usability: Profr has its website. For the webpage, it has clearly shown the categories for users to search. The search bar appears big for user to find. It can also filter the deals based on the distance within 25 miles. Since it is on the website, it needs users to input their location. While our application mainly uses smartphone to search items. We will provide hashtag for users to make their searches easier. For our app, we will make it show all the marketplace in the city users visit. The range might be bigger. As for location, the smartphone can automatically get the user’s location.
In the above section, we evaluated three apps: Haggle, Yardsale, and Profr. We found that all three applications serve to improve and introduce user experiences surrounding the sale and purchase of services and goods. Each app has set target user groups and tailors their functionality according to their audiences, while making their interface as intuitive as possible. We hope to capture the aspects of intuition and seamlessness in our final product design. The unique aspect of our application is that it requires two people for the application to work fully and provides a whole new experience to beginner hagglers. As our app is right now, one person interacts with the phone (the expert, usually a native friend who knows prices), while the other interacts with the watch (the novice, usually a foreigner who doesn’t know prices). The expert with the phone sends messages to the shopper with the watch, concerning what the novice should do in a given haggling situation. The novice is exposed to the beautiful art of haggling as a result of this experience that the app provides.