Elastic Path Commerce
Product Free Trial

Launching a B2B SaaS Product in a brand new way


UX Design

Project Summary

Over the course of six months, I worked with a cross-departmental team in order to develop our first public-facing free trial of our eCommerce Product offering.

We researched, designed, built, tested and finally launched the free trial in September 2018.

The purpose was to create an automatic instance of our software that prospects could use that would advance them down our sales funnel. Coupled with a unique sign-up process.


One of the biggest challenges was the fact that Elastic Path never had a free trial before, so there was no basis for developing it.

The goal was to create a Saas-based demo of the commerce front-end system, that was publicly accessible and could be spun up as quickly as possible. Current technical challenges meant that days could go buy before a prospect was able to get their hands on the tooling.

My job was to work with Presales, Product, marketing and Sales in order to develop a low-touch trial that would entice users, engage prospects and help Elastic Path compete in the marketplace.

Research Phase

Initially, my job was to understand the problems more thoroughly, both from a company perspective as well as prospect perspective. I conducted two brainstorming sessions with the presales technical consultant to understand what a “five star” experience would be like. We looked at a high level systems view to understand the various touchpoints and which products would be involved.

Additionally, I looked at modern SaaS companies offering similar free trials, both for ecommerce as well as outside our industry. I mapped out their journeys on a high level, and identified what I thought were the winning aspects that enticed visitors and created more opportunities in the sales funnel.

I explored the web analytics and search words for “elastic path demo” to see what level of desire existed in the marketplace.

Finally, I worked with our product marketing, customer success and support teams in order to identify and solidify our Technical User persona. I gathered data from support requests, partner integrators, as well as chat conversations from our chatbot to create an empathy map and truly understand their needs.

Identifying Pain Points

It turns out that the current system of getting qualified prospects to try out the Product was tedious and required the cooperation of many people. It was time consuming and left room for human error. To help identify the key pain points, I mapped out a user flow and highlighted areas of friction.

Mapping the Customer Journey

As this project would encompass multiple departments, I wanted to understand what the complete journey would entail from an end-to-end experience.

Based on our target persona, we wanted to allow the user to experience both a user friendly interface, as well as have the freedom to explore the ecommerce backend and see how their input affected the system.

Over the course of two session, collaborated with six different teammates from support, sales and education by completing a white- boarding exercise. Everyone wrote down an element of the user journey that they identified as being important to the experience.

We then clustered the cards together based on similar characteristics. Those that were seen as beneficial to the user’s journey were written on yellow stickies, and those areas that highlighted possible friction were written on blue stickies.

Our six phases included:

  1. The Discovery Phase – the marketing campaign and ways to promote the trial
  2. The sign up Phase – capturing the user’s data
  3. The initialization Phase – where the user would introduced to the Product and follow the initial learning guides
  4. The Customize Phase – where the user would be able to change certain store items, adjust settings, etc.
  5. The Review Phase – where the user could take a step back and see their updates applied to a real-time storefront setting
  6. The Migration Phase – where, ideally, the user would want to take their “starter store” to the next step and migrate to a more feature complete trial further down the sales funnel

Wireframe / Prototyping Phase

To save time, I created the wireframes directly in Axure, because I wanted to capture more than simple screen flows. I wanted to convey the individual wireframes as well as the flow in the same prototype. I also wanted to prototype consistent variables that would be shared across the experience.

Working on the UI

After multiple rounds of feedback and testing, I art directed the work of an external designer to create the final look and feel of the dashboard, while remaining consistent with our newly created brand.

The Waiting Period

One issue that arose during the prototyping phase was the realization that due to technical challenges, the user would be presented with a static screen for 7-9 minutes while the instance was being generated.

We were concerned during user testing that they would potentially bounce during that period of time and the trial would not continue.

To mitigate that happening, I suggested we produce a quick getting started video that would keep prospects engaged on the page, and give them a preview of what they might expect once they gain access to the learning environment.

The technical development team also proposed spinning up pre-instances in a queing system that would be ready instantaneously. This would work well, provided we could manage the maximum number of signup requests per day. 

Time for User Testing

To better understand whether our process would work, I worked with our assigned Business Analyst and got to work recruiting several volunteers. over six weeks, we interviewed nineteen partners and one customer.

I created a testing criteria for an hour long user test so that we would be consistent with each participant. I also made sure to include a variety of participant experience levels and job titles.

I feel dropped in without a map.”

-Feedback from User

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