Sam's garage is the app that allows associates to easily search tire, battery and wiper options for our member's vehicle. The app has replaced the company's 26 year old system and revolutionize the way we purchase tires today.
Role & Duration
Senior product designer 2018 - 2020
Discovery Mid-fidelity wireframes High fidelity designs Prototypes
Tablet - iPad
To completely digitize over 600 tire and battery centers at Sam’s Club, from a primarily pen and paper process into an app . The main complexity of the project is to bring together the tire industry leaders like Michelin, Bridgestone, Perrelli and many others in a giant effort to standardize the otherwise neglected tire and battery industry.
Number of websites an associate would user to serve one member
Annual Tire and battery center revenue
Average waiting time to start service
Our main objective during the discovery phase was to visit different clubs across the country and understands how associates are serving our members. We knew we wanted to replace the primarily paper and pen workflow into a digital experience but before we can can do that it was really important to understand the habits and process our associates had evolved over the years.
We need a standardized operation among different clubs in the same market. We have no way of pulling up member information, this makes it really difficult to serve members, especially when they are returning to the club after a long time. - Sonny Tire and battery center team lead
Since we were building the system from ground up, our main objective was to identify the key pain points that our associates were facing. During our research we conducted interviews with over 40 associates across 12 clubs and identified 3 main pain points.
Service time 30 min
Our associates were using between 3-5 tire websites to find the right tires for member'e vehicle and additionally using Sam's website to order the tires if they were unavailable in the club. This was the biggest pain point and usually took around 30 minutes.
A lot of the note taking process was on pen and paper. There was a lack of digitization and it was clear we were losing a lot of valuable insights in the process.
Sam's club comprises of thousands of employees and a suggesting the perfect tires for a vehicle came down to their individual experience in the business. One of the business goals was to standardize the process so we can always provide member's with the best suggestions for their vehicle every time.
Now that the whole problem was laid out the objective was to create a system which was intuitive enough for our associates to start using with limited training. We initiated development process by conducting workshops which involved car rental companies, club associates, member’s and designers to understand the overall business scope. I then lead experience workshops to brainstorm design ideas and best experience for our associates.
It was important to understand how associates can serve our member's in the best way possible and for the user flow needed to account for a process which is quick. The idea was to introduce a concept of garage where member's vehicles can be stored along with all the vehicle related information. This would allow us to find the best fit for the vehicles easily.
The wireframe stages were very fluid and iterative. I visited several clubs across Vegas and Florida to get associate feedback and iterate while keeping business goals in mind. A a few days of these iterations I was able to reach a very concrete direction.
A sample of wireframes to order tires
I started by designing ideations in the form of wireframes and performed usability testing on a regular basis to ideate and refine my designs based on associate feedback.
During the product release we realized that sometime it was hard for associates to scan the membership card outside due to glare and weather conditions, So we introduced a new way to lookup member by using any combination of phone number, name, zip code or email.
Finding member's vehicle tires was the biggest pain point we are solving for. We wanted to go a step further and also preserve their vehicle information, and so we introduced the concept of member's garage. Now member's vehicles can be easily saved along with all the service information and a really intuitive and easy way to find tires, batteries and wipers. The questionnaires in this flow proved to be a great way to find best options for member's irrespective of the associates experience .
Some of the considerations while purchasing tires are driving style, weather conditions, time on the road and most importantly price. We wanted to narrow down the tire search but also wanted ability to compare and find the best tire for member's based on their needs as well as key tire metrics.
All the placed order show up on the order list page. Here associates can pick up orders they want to start working on, set up member appointment and write notes. There are also status updates when the tire orders are delivered in the club and when they are paid for. This helps associates plan their work easily. A log view contains all of this information in a clear and accessible way.
Sam's Club as company was undergoing a big digital transformation. We did not have a design system for tablet and I had the responsibility to formate design patterns for the company.
Icons and illustrations
Some of the final app icon explorations
Final App icon for Sam's Garage
Navigation and member driving preference icons
App update illustration
New feature update - Associate comments
3D marketing video
This animation was an experimentation I did in Cinema 4D and After Effects. When I shared it with the team the marketing and business teams loved the concept and used it as a marketing video during Walmart's annual tech summit.
In July of 2019 Sam's Garage was release to the Florida market across 15 clubs. This was our test release and our goal was to observe any breakdowns or usability issues and iteratively fix them and release to the market. The associates had never used the app before and within the first few minutes they were able to order tires.
Associates from 15 Florida clubs during app release
Associates trying the new app the first time
After observing the app in the Florida market for a month we released the app to all 600+ Sam's club locations. Post launch I visited several clubs in the California and Vegas markets for usability testing.
Getting feedback from an associate from the Vegas Sam's club
Associates checking out the new app in California clubs
Over all Sam's Garage was a huge success as we had completely digitized the tire and battery system in less than 9 months.
Time to order tires reduced from 30 min to less than 4 minutes.
Total sale in the first 2 months of release.
Best tire sale day ever for Sam's Club after app release
During Walmart's annual shareholder's meet, Sam's Garage was one of the key highlights of Dough Mc Millan's (CEO Walmart) speech.