We developed Fern because of our mutual interest in plants and also our passion to help out local businesses. We also have relatives that enjoy gardening and sell a lot of plants from their homes, and have issues with marketing/expanding their business. Two of us have experience ordering flowers online, and they were both poor (bad customer service/response rate and no real-time tracking)
Building a two-sided marketplace was, to say the least, very difficult. We had to conduct plenty of user research on both ends (buyer and seller). Getting responses was hard, so we needed to continuously update our Typeforms (changed to Google Forms later) to make it easier for people to fill it out on the go. Two of us had full time jobs, so we could only meet up on weekends to discuss our project.
What it does
People can sign up as either buyers or sellers. Our plan is to help sellers gain more publicity, especially for those who cannot afford additional marketing or their own website.
Buyers are able to create a profile where they can list specific colors/flowers that they are looking for in order to curate their marketplace to their interests.
Sellers are able to list the generic location of their store/home (for privacy reasons their actual location isn't given until the purchase is confirmed). They can also create listings, adjusting pricing, and also view everything easily compared to selling via social media.
How we Built it
We drew out the user flow through InVision, then built the prototype through Adobe XD. We demo-ed our prototype to potential users to gain feedback and edit our features based off of that. All of our local businesses were found through Yelp, with the exclusion of family members.
What we Learned and What's Next
We all come from different careers: aspiring PM, consultant, and software developer. One big thing we learned was the basics of product development and the product development cycle. We realized how difficult it was to generate user research and to continuously reach out to people to gain more insight.
We plan to further develop this product, so we are currently researching back-end tools! We are also hoping to create something solid enough to pitch to investors :) Then, we can focus on more features.
View our pitch deck here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1WlfJK5_nZXeCm6kC9l7HBcJwQkodZ3wrxAQAzitJzl4/edit?usp=sharing
Pitch deck demo video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HP8uZ5sLp9QlCA9DLfiaRX_czSk0GDWS/view?usp=sharing