The design mindset that gave Marktplaats the edge

Hike One - 7 June 2022

Marktplaats is the Netherlands' largest online marketplace for selling and buying new and second-hand items. Known as 2dehands in Belgium, and Kijiji in Canada, it's a fast-growing company with a complex user base, and is continuously looking to improve the buyer and seller user experience on the platform. 

As a large organisation with a wide variety of design needs, Marktplaats has been climbing the UX maturity ladder in order to innovate their product and improve design processes through research, design tools, work flows and infrastructure.

"Having Hike One as a strategic design partner has helped us to stay focussed on our mission by providing the right value for all of our users that love to trade on our platforms."Jeroen Vos, Design Manager at Marktplaats

Their strong vision and appreciation of good design has made working with them a very positive journey. As Marktplaats's design partner since 2013, Hike One has formed a long-term, strategic partnership with them, and worked with them to develop their product and processes, as well as grow and nurture their design team. As well as conducting research, we've supported them by quickly finding the right talent for a particular project, advising on strategic decisions, and providing training for their designers. Marktplaats can always rely on us, and we will continue to work alongside them to improve what they do. 

Digital design is a fundamental part of any e-commerce platform that has a complex user base, such as with Marktplaats, whose goal is to invoke trust in both seller and buyer during all stages of the user journey. Transactions and the listing process must be intuitive and seamless, and the design must reflect the brand ethos. The backend and frontend must ensure that both sellers and buyers flow through a safe, secure, easy-to-use and reliable ecosystem. All this while staying ahead of the competition, such as Facebook Marketplace or Vinted.

A truly important factor in the success of Martkplaats is their long-term vision and appreciation of design. They are open to experimentation, exploring tons of new ideas, and aren't afraid to look at ways of improving either. They understand the need to prioritise where the low-hanging fruit is, and how we can make things better by using design. This creates a happy, experimental and innovative working environment for the ultimate level of quality they seek.

When we first joined Marktplaats, our assignment was to conduct lean experiments to identify and validate underlying assumptions for new or existing solutions to redesign their product. In that time, we conducted bi-weekly tests where we validated a high number of assumptions over a period of a few weeks. We also carried out monthly usability tests.

UX Research

The research needs of Marktplaats have been a major focus throughout our time together, which naturally resulted in Hike One providing a UX research team to carry out ongoing work for them. The aim of the team was to conduct, scale and promote the role of research within the company. 

We also organised a new concept called 'Customer Tuesdays', where the team could present their findings and demonstrate the value of research, and created workflows and easy-to-replicate processes for conducting research. This allowed the research team to focus more on strategy. We work in a fast-paced agile way, with exploration, design, and implementation cycles.

Illustrations and visuals

We played a key role in the way Marktplaats looks and feels. As well as providing them with illustrations for their app, which were used in the onboarding flow on the buyer side to welcome them into the marketplace, we also created animations, how-to videos and visuals for marketing campaigns. 

During a visual design challenge we held with Marktplaats, we created a tailored illustration style and a complete animation track. This added a great deal of value to the company because it gave Marktplaats a relatable identity, as well as a platform on which to communicate tips and tricks on how to advertise on the site, and communicate Marktplaats information to clients. 

We've also helped them with:

  • Strategy 
    As a company that has been climbing up the UX maturity ladder, implementing strategy has been paramount to achieving the sort of design success Marktplaats have envisaged. Our role within this is to define the user journey from the seller point of view, as well as validate ideas and propositions via prototypes. We've also created ads and analytics dashboards for the seller side. 
  • Continuous UX support 
    Marktplaats are always looking to improve what they do, so we offer them ongoing UX support in the form of both long- and short-term contracts for talent integrated in the design team. These personnel fill in any skill-set gaps, and provide an extra pair of hands for the design work where needed. These individuals also support the ongoing improvement and iteration of the product, such as integrating new functionality, testing new concepts, etc. 
  • Stakeholder management
    Hike One has also provided a stakeholder manager role to manage and communicate with anyone on the team that has a say in how the product looks and works. This further keeps the company aligned on all design efforts. 
  • Talent and personnel 
    Hike One supplies Marktplaats with the right talent for all manner of design roles to assist Marktplaats in climbing the UX maturity ladder. We understand what they need and have the right people to hand to cover all topics and project requirements as necessary. 

Looking for a long term design partner?

We are the chosen design partners for this large, complex organisation, and provide the talent, resources and tools for them to grow as a design team and develop in terms of DesignOps maturity - ie, the activities and talent that keep the design team functioning at the highest efficiency possible.

Since working with them, Marktplaats as a company are now leaner, more user-centred and more research-focused, conducting more user validation. They have a growing team, which we will continue to educate, train and scale, as required. 

Get in touch

Discover how Hike One can help your business connect better with users, optimise services, and much more. Contact us today for a chat - no strings attached. 

Get in touch directly with David van Duinen (Partner & Sales Director)

+31 (0) 646243149



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