The product team consisted of the CTO, 1 product designer, 1 FE engineer, 1 iOS engineer, and 1 BE engineer. My role as the product designer included identifying product opportunities, defining all user flows, providing UXUI solutions, design handoff & QA.
As the first to enable investors to access single-asset commercial real estate stocks, one of our challenges was to set ourselves apart from other fractional shares or alternative asset platforms. To gain the first-mover advantage in the industry, the LEX waitlist was designed to acquire and engage with our early adopters while we work on the core product. We spend Q1 2020 designing and launching our waitlist. By the time we finished our core features at the end of 2020, the waitlist acquired more than 6000 users organically.
This is the first case study of the LEX product series.
Read more LEX product case studies:
→ LEX Product 2/3 - Core Product
After we raised our seed round in late 2019, we finally had the opportunity to expand the team and bring the product we envisioned to life. At that time, the concept of fractional commercial real estate was just beginning to take off. Although there were already a few big players tackling commercial real estate investment, we were the first platform that was open to non-accredited investors and has no holding period. It was the perfect time to get our name out there and be known as one of the earliest players in the field.
However, it could take us over a year to build the necessary technology to accept sign-ups. By then, other competitors might have already launched products and gained the first-mover advantage.
This is when the idea of a waitlist product came to our mind. Sure, the waitlist could take us a month or two to build and will potentially delay our core product launch, but we weighed our options and decided to do it. The consideration was three-fold:
With only 3 upcoming properties in our pipeline, we needed a more unique way to present them so that our customers don’t run out of properties to view in a snap. Inspired by the infinite marquee (see example) and the infinite scroll effect seen in many designers’ portfolios, we applied the same effect on our browse page - we made each property into an individual card and displayed all properties in an infinite loop. The infinite scroll has no visual brake, thus creating a visual illusion of more properties, thus building a more professional and trustworthy first impression.
We were also a big believer that quality can win over quantity in the early stage. Thus, the other strategy we took was to encourage our users to spend more time on each property. We overlaid the property cards on the map that shows the property’s location. Customers can interact with the map, or can see property details by simply clicking on the card.
A typical waitlist product shows customers’ position on the waitlist, and that’s it. We wanted to make our waitlist a little more fun and engaging, that’s when the Indication of Interest comes into play. An Indication of Interest (IOI) is a non-binding show of interest in the upcoming properties that customers can make. Customers can not only browse the upcoming properties but also reserve their own shares before the IPO opens. This is an effective way to engage our customers and gives them a sense of participation.
There’s a Zeigarnik effect in psychology that postulates that people remember unfinished or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. The IOI is that unfinished task that they would remember, which would potentially lead to a higher conversion.
There are a few other considerations for bringing in the IOI feature. From a deal pipeline point of view, the IOI made by customers provides us insights into how well the property might perform on the IPO. From an operation point of view, our sales team is able to do more targeted sales calls and the marketing team is able to conduct more segmented email drips.
Since users are on the waitlist, it’s human nature (Yes, FOMO) to want to move up in the line. We created an interface that shows customers where they are on the waitlist and paired that with a “move up in line” CTA to prompt them to invite others.
We noticed some ridiculous IOI during the waitlist phase (like 10,000 shares). We didn’t think it was much of a bigger deal until after our first IPO. The trend we saw was that most customers tend to indicate numbers that were way higher than what they actually purchased. This could have a negative effect on the business, as it could give false insight to our sales team and cause confusion. Later on, we improved our IOI copywriting. The updated copy weakened the notion of “non-binding” and communicated the potential issues that inaccurate iOI can cause to the business. The new copy encouraged more accurate IOIs that reflect customers’ real intention on how many shares they want to purchase.
Instead, it was a great opportunity to establish our design system and build up tech infrastructure. Actually, most of our base design system components were established in the waitlist process. Later in the core product phase, we repurposed many of the designs & code in our core product, which actually shortened the expected timeline for our core product.
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