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Vroom

Vroom

VP of Design
October 2015 – Present

Disrupt the billion dollar used auto market.

Vroom is an online direct car retailer helping consumers save time and money by bringing all three aspects of the car buying process; buying, financing, and selling – online, in a simple, smart and affordable way. In just under five years in business, Vroom has emerged as a leader in the online vehicle sales vertical by introducing a modern solution for car buying to an audience who is suspicious of the entire industry and its practices.

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Vroom offers high quality, late model, pre-owned vehicles that have been inspected extensively and reconditioned by hundreds of auto experts at Vroom’s Dallas and Houston facilities. Vroom helps the customer complete the transaction by also offering finance solutions from more than 30 different lenders, bringing competition into the process and maximizing affordability.

Automotive + E-Commerce + End-to-End Transactions
I am currently leading the product and marketing design team for the $300M+ backed automotive startup. I oversee the design and user experience of the Vroom brand, advise from the perspective of design on company vision and product strategy.

I manage and recruited the team of 6 designers building web products, in-house software tools, and brand marketing experiences. 

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The Problem: The Current Customer Journey of Buying a Car is Terrible
Vroom recognized that the traditional process of buying a car in a showroom is slow and daunting. Less than 0.5% of people are satisfied with the current car buying process. Vroom's model is to disrupt the way consumers can shop for cars by bringing the process online with nationwide delivery. 

Vroom's MVP e-commerce experience allowed search and discovery of vehicles, and for consumers to submit a credit application to be manually processed by our contact center. We all agreed this wasn’t fast or scalable.

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Solution
We partnered with Capital One Bank to design a real-time decision API to determine, based on minimal consumer input, the size of the loan available and what your monthly car payment would be. The pre-qualification feature also gave users the ability to search, sort and discover cars based on what they would cost them on a monthly basis. Through user testing and market research, we knew this was a feature and advantage for the Vroom business model. Users could pre-qualify for financing without making an impact on their credit history.

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A collaborative working session between stakeholders, product, design, engineering, data analysts, and legal was held at the Capital One Innovation Garage enabled us to identify our primary use cases rapidly. The Vroom design team led an initial design sprint to quickly prototype the customer experience and gain insights through user testing. This work led to a high fidelity prototype with marketing and legal language being usability tested at the CapitalOne lab in Plano, Texas.

In parallel with our partner, we began our build sprint cycles: Capital One developing and documenting the API while Vroom built the integration and refined the customer journey and user experience. MVP was completed over a series of four, two-week sprints.

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Results
The creation of a sophisticated back-end architecture to support a simple experience that allows consumers to select, purchase and finance a car in real time from their laptop or mobile device. Customers were also able to sort, compare and discover vehicles by their actual monthly payment.

Design, product, and engineering worked closely to address challenges collaboratively and efficiently. Due to the agile nature and close working relationship of both partners, we were able to get to market quickly, with a backlog of ideas from both teams maintained for the post MVP roadmap.

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Consumer metrics tracked in MixPanel and backend data merged into Looker allowed for close to real-time analysis of the success of the launch. The ability to A/B test in the market allowed continued iteration and improvement.

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Agile UX and Design Sprints
A design sprint is a methodology invented by Jake Knapp and Google Ventures used to validate ideas through design, prototyping, user testing, and collaboration in only five days. While it doesn't result in a finished product, it’s one of the fastest and cheapest ways to validate business opportunities or product ideas with real users. I have found the process offers a more structured and more effective approach to creative thinking compared to traditional brainstorming. 

The Vroom design team and I have facilitated over 15 design sprints within our squad's agile sprint cadences. Design sprints are a efficient process to get new products and feature concepts up and running quickly.

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As Head of Design for Vroom, I am assembling a best-in-class in-house design team to tackle the work of building a new kind of company. Vroom is disrupting the traditional auto dealership model. The design group and I are translating the in-person auto purchasing process to a complete end-to-end mobile-first digital experience.

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I am a big proponent of user-centered design practices and strategic thinking. I love working in concert with the product, engineering, and business owners at Vroom to drive the culture in which design is more than pretty pictures – it's about exceeding user expectations and delivering on our mission to “help people find their drive.”

All the of the work above was a Vroom Design Team effort.
A very special thanks to my pit crew; Amir Neiman, Akane Kodani, Elise Porter, and Kyle Welch.