PayPal Sales Insights


PayPal for Business helps merchants manage their business on the go with features like Invoicing, money management and customer lists.

I designed "Sales Insights", an interactive section of the app that provides sales trends information to merchants, helping them make better decisions critical to their business operation and finances.



Sales insights existed on the PayPal website since 2016. It was created for desktop and with large enterprises in mind.

In our annual UX study "Merchant on the Go" where we analyzed habits of Small business owners (SMB), I found that:

1. The No. 1 request for PayPal from SMB's was a way to see sales trends in mobile, in order to make business decisions on the go.

2. SMB owners either ignore the existence of sales Insights on web, or download the sales report 1-2 times a year.

This derived in three key objectives for this project:

How might we incorporate Sales Insights into the business app to help merchants make better financial decisions?

How might we make a sales report more engaging?

How might we make it easy to understand and explore?


Finding opportunities and learning what to build

By showing our users a hypothetical "Sales" section in the app, I was able to confirm our hypothesis about the need of sales information in the app, and by running interviews with them, I found opportunities for improvement:

1. SMB owners check their balance and activity as often as 5-6 times a day to get an idea of how much they are selling. (Hypothesis confirmed!)

2. High interest areas for them are: Total sales over time, good and bad sales periods, and learn the average value of an order. (We'll include this)

3. They are less interested in: Sales by country, best customer list. (...and set these features aside)


At the end of the research phase, I sat down with my project manager to set some principles that would guide our product decisions:

Focus on small business owners
Be where the merchant is
Provide dynamic and visual information, take advantage of mobile

Interaction and Visual Design

Visual and Content Concepts

Our principles drove a series of experiments and prototypes that I created with the help of 2 engineers, a researcher and a content strategist. I did a variety of design treatments to find opportunities on how to engage users with data visualization, and show the right amount of information.

Every week I showed these designs to merchants in the usability lab.  I soon discovered that merchants didn't think about sales using retroactive time periods (30, 90, 120 days) Instead, they break time like accountants do, using calendar periods.
Also, they don't need to visualize everything. Sales are important, and for the rest of the data (average order value, best and worst sales) they need to see the numbers, and compare.

With this in mind, I created a tabbed navigation to encourage comparison and showcased straightforward data at the bottom of the screen (view iteration 6)

iteration 1
visual sales and avg. order
iteration 2
scrollable nav
iteration 3
change to calendar time periods
iteration 4
integrate compare mode
iteration 5
tabbed nav + compare and explore
iteration 6 (final)
integrated comparison

Designing for time: Use cases

I brainstormed several use cases, where data would be visualized in different ways. For example: What would the user see when comparing an incomplete year, Vs. the previous year?

INCOMPLETE time period
zero sales
tap on plot point

Getting the point across with prototypes

These videos show some prototypes I made to demonstrate how users would interact with the graph to move across time (left video), and how to dynamically change the graph view when a user activates the Compare view, that shows the current and past year (right video)
Not only these prototypes served as tools to test how users interacted with the interface, but also as a reference for implementation.

graph movement across time blocks
compare view activation

Final Design

In the final the user can discover Insights by tapping on a card in the home screen showing the sales for the current month. Once in the sales insights section of the app, the user can tap on the plot points to see the sales for a specific time period, scroll sideways to move the graph to future or past periods, and activate the compare button to visualize trends during the same timeframe in a previous year.


Analysis and the future

The app has a 4-Week Retention average per week of 49 > 42%
63% users stay around 1 minute in the month tab, 55% explore changing tabs or swiping and the rest leave.

Users who tap on the info bar often want to see Best / Worst sales details. Such behavior tells us that our next step will be add transaction details when tapping on these two concepts. Internationalization is also an upcoming project. This will affect the way we present data.

Get In Touch
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