The first and only company of its kind, Oh Shirt Yeah offers users an interactive retail experience where they can both design and purchase customized apparel and accessories in-store…in an hour or less.
New-age programming paired with cool kiosks allow customers to be in total control throughout the design process—making the experience that much more incredible.
First and foremost, Oh Shirt Yeah needed a custom software that could handle the scaling and HD demands that come with the storing and prompt processing that came with serving and printing thousands of HD images on a daily basis.
Secondly, Oh Shirt Yeah needed a content management system that was both easily accessible and modifiable by the OSY staff—a simple, but intricate request.
Finally, the team needed a custom web design that articulated the awesome-ness of not only their products, but the entire OSY experience.
Once we laid it all out, we were able to itemize Oh Shirt Yeah’s needs into four specific areas:
As you can see, we had our work cut out for us. But that didn’t prevent us from the excitement that came with the opportunity to help bring this innovative new concept to market. Determined to deliver an entire experience, we honed in on the most important parts of the solution we wanted to offer Oh Shirt Yeah:
1. A system that could deliver on-demand customization
2. A solution that that was kiosk-centered, yet delivered on all the expectations its users
And a bunch of other good stuff like reliability, speed, etc
Our process began with a concept called ‘product/market fit.’ Basically, we needed to determine the smallest, but most viable part of the product that could be (1) brought to market, and then (2) continue through stages of development via user feedback. In Silicon Valley, this concept is commonly referred to as Minimum Viable Product, or MVP.
Achieving the MVP for OSY was not as difficult as one may imagine. There wasn’t really any competition or existing apps that offered the product or service that OSY aimed to offer—this served as our biggest advantage.
Because this was a brand new product, it wasn’t backed by years of experience, research, or trial-and-error that we could pull from. And that was okay.
Oh Shirt Yeah’s interactive experience wasn’t going to be limited to an app that users would download, or a website that they would navigate to while sitting at home. Instead, the software would be developed for a specific kiosk-based environment that delivered on the customization needs and time expectations of customers who visited the Oh Shirt Yeah retail location.
The concept was simple: allow a user to go into a store, interact with a tablet-based designer to customize their perfect shirt, iPhone case, and other apparel or accessories, and then pay for their customized product.
Once the check-out process was complete, the user’s design would be sent to the in-store printers for printing.
This next step is where our software really shined: the customer’s design would have to be scaled to the size of the product it would be placed on (e.g., a shirt) so that it could be properly printed as a template. That template would then be sent to a heat-press machine and used for the final printing process.
All of this needed to take place within the same store the customer walked into.
First thing first, Ballistic was tasked with constructing the application necessary to handle the workload of OSY. Our tools of choice were:
The primary goal was to provide an interactive experience for customers, and to enable strict guidelines for the designs to go straight to print without a ton of interaction with employees.
Because payment processing was to take place on the same tablets customers used to design their products, this meant that all data had to go through a PCI audit and remain PCI compliant at all times. This was non-negotiable.
With a new project—especially one as innovative as this one—it’s easy for ideas to outpace the budget. So we had to remind ourselves to remain levelheaded and focused on the goals set early on in the project. Even in taking extra care to do so, we ran into a few different obstacles.
The initial challenge came in using and serving so many HD and high-quality images and customized ideas that would make up version 1.0 of the software. As mentioned earlier, OSY needed a software that could handle the scaling and HD demands that came with not only storing, but promptly processing, serving and printing thousands of HD images.
We solved this issue through continuous testing, creating strict guidelines for the image uploading process, and the use of some awesome Azure resources. It was after the implementation of these things that we scheduled an invite-only testing session.
With the first version of our customized solution in place, it was time to test the waters and make sure we were on the right track. So, we staged a soft launch and invited around 100 excited locals in to use the designers. The soft launch was critical to the overall project for two reasons:
Observations and feedback from the soft launch helped us realize several things. First, we quickly learned that people wanted a way to send in their own images and not be limited to the designs offered on the designers.
To address this need, we integrated the software with Twillo. With Twillo, users are able send their own images to the designer through a text message. Pretty cool, right?
The second thing we learned from the soft launch was that the OSY staff needed to be able to update and control all aspects of the software quickly, easily, and at any given moment. This was really just a reminder of a need we initially identified upon starting the project.
We made it possible for the Oh Shirt Yeah staff to control the software by building in fail safes and validation checks that enabled such access and ensured that nothing went wrong during the process.
While the proof-of-concept was nice, there were still a few things we had to work on to arrive at the best end-product possible; this included: improving some of the updates and integrating the feedback we had received into the designer.
Working with OSY’s in-house designers, we buckled down on improving version 1.0. We were able to create a launchable new software within 6 months of conception, just in time for the team’s official store opening.
To bring the entire project full-circle, we created an SEO plan for Oh Shirt Yeah that included a hybrid national-local search campaign for the new store and the even newer concept.
Check out the final product in action:
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