What is FixMix?
FixMix is a digitally driven remote solution for repairing broken personal items (such as shoes, watches and leather goods) – it empowers people to live more sustainably, by repairing rather than replacing these items. Our solution is offered in two forms: either as an employee benefit, whereby office employees can deposit their items in the office and our courier collects them once a week and then returns fixed items back to the office, and as a service, whereby individuals can order a repair service – and again a courier collects from selected location and then returns the repaired item. We are in essence a black box for repairs: the end customer does not have the hassle of dealing with the process themselves and has a digitally communicated experience.
When a user browses the site they might think it’s simply an e-commerce website offering repair services but beneath it’s much more than that. It’s a sum of our learning from constant customer feedback loop insights we gathered from a year of hard work on many fronts.
When we launched our first summer pilot in Warsaw with bike couriers last year we had heads full of research and assumptions.
We relied completely on a third party SaaS online booking software which wasn’t tailored to our business model not to mention the unsatisfactory level of user experience. So we decided to do an upgrade and switch to another SaaS in October 2020 which we thought was going to be more suitable for our clients.
With help of social media campaigns, direct marketing and other guerilla methods we hit the open market and challenged our assumptions. And it was hell of a ride. Just to mention few of them:
- People want to repair personal items like shoes or clothes fast – WRONG. They rather wait for the decent quality within the reasonable timeframe.
- People want to schedule couriers to pick-up their items at an exact time spot – WRONG. Some of them actually do, but majority of our clients work from home so as long as courier doesn’t interfere with an important confcall it’s fine to have a longer timeframe of arrival
- People prefer couriers so they don’t go outside – WRONG. Actually, we got many inquiries about InPost lockers to be included as our clients prefer to send the items when they walk their dogs in the evening
- People want to repair single items – WRONG. If they order, they batch their things in one shipment to get more things fixed at once (even if it means going through the ordering process repeatedly)
We were constantly introducing new functionalities to our backlog and discussing if it adds any value to the end customer. So now with FixMix 3.0 is a sum of open source software solution integrated with various SaaS i.e. payment gateways, logistics aggregators, invoicing systems etc. There are a lot of changes that reflect what we learned so far. Let’s sum those up:
- Shopping cart – I know it might sound so simple and obvious but yes, we introduced ordering many services at once and we consider it a big step. Why? When you order a single repair an item can be shipped straight to the craftsperson, but when you order a number of repair services requiring various skills, it gets complex. At the moment we need to route items from a single order to many craftspeople, manage the repair timeline, batch them again and ship the repaired back to the customer in a timely manner. Does it sound a bit more challenging now? :)
- Lower prices – Yes. We constantly fight for having better offering for our users. We know that high quality service requires decent fee but we are here to automate things and look for savings through process optimisation. The more we learn and the more orders we process, the better pricing list we can offer to the end customers with no harm to the repair quality
- Order statuses – It was a hassle and a manual labor before to update users on the repair progress, now all is automated thanks to the integration between various IT systems. And the customer is well informed in a timely manner. Speaking of IT systems…
- Integrations – We integrated with major logistics operators, so the whole shipping back and forth is much easier and reliable for end users. Moreover we have higher level of automations with back office operations reducing the risk of human error throughout the whole process
- Transactions – We still use Stripe which we consider one of the best payment gateways but… we use redundant systems to store orders history. We reduce the risk of any order not be serviced to almost zero.
- Hosting – We know speed is the name of the game and we have a lot to improve in that department. But so far we switched from one hosting vendor to the other which offers services dedicated to our solutions and we see loading times to be improved already. We know we can do better than that, but we don’t have a dedicated front-end developers in our team to do that :) And yes, we are thinking of Cloud sometime soon.
The FixMix 3.0 launch was proceeded by many tests, including UX testing of course. So even at that stage we aware that there is a long way ahead of us to improve User Experience and that work is never over. With our limited resources we had to cut corners here and there to push the new website out to the world. We asked ourselves many times: are we ready to launch? Well, done is better than perfect. If we waited for the ideal FixMix website, we would never launch it and never really learn anything.
So the challenge continues and we are happy to pursue the dream of building the ideal personal items repair service with circular economy and sustainability mindset.