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Vanika is an online high-end business tool developed by OjaExpress to promote cross-cultural online grocery shopping. OjaBI helps grocers sell their goods online effortlessly. This initiative was undertaken to support small, ethnic local grocers with no digital presence to increase exposure. Vanika offers vertical integration to decrease cost and increase productivity.


Project Overview



Vanika was started to give small-scale business owners an easy way to maintain inventory online. Small family-owned stores don’t get an opportunity to work with big distributors, they generally have poor record-keeping and lack a proper inventory management system.

Vanika was designed as an all-access portal that helps distributors and suppliers work seamlessly.



1. Implement a Design Process

2. Improve usability across the platform

3. Establish a standardized design kit

4. Establish a standardised Design System



Product Designer

Product Strategy, Visual Design, Prototyping and Testing


July 2020 - Ongoing



Design a Business Intelligence tool for grocery distributors and retailers



Figma, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe XD, Procreate

Design Process


Retailers have limited buying power. Most of the time their order volume isn’t high enough to place an order with the distributors. They are often forced to indulge in group ordering activities which they’re not always comfortable with,
Manual phone calls and paper methods are the norms.

This results in:
1. Paper invoices
2.No tax maintaining tools
3. Poor inventory management system
4. Products are bought in a very ad-hoc manner from smaller suppliers
5. Delivery cost is high
6. Managing ordering is difficult
7. Frozen food is difficult manage
With the existing distributor relationship, the Retailers don’t get bulk discount prices.



Understanding the users of OjaExpress

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In an attempt to understand the needs of the user we recruited and contacted a few distributors and retailers. The interviews were conducted virtually through zoom.


By asking open-ended questions I understood how the relationship between distributors and retailers works, their current business scenario, the tools they’re familiar with etc. 


This helped me form a general idea of:

- What works well today

- Opportunities for improvement

- The ideal state



"Publishing the product catalog onto the website is always a time consuming process"

"Frozen produce is the hardest it needs to go fast, so updating inventory gets tricky"

"Usually all the invoices are handled at the end of the month, we still use paper, it can get very messy - but I haven't found an alternative that works"

"A clean and easy way to keep track of inventory that's something I look forward to"

"Maximizing the delivery time and pace is most important for me, I would prefer my truck full"

"All orders are taken via phone, we sometimes do miss a few products that way"



I decided to use an empathy map to synthesize all my research findings from the user interviews. This led me to discover few key insights and helped me uncover some key patterns.

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  1. Understand new product offerings and increase engagement

  2.  Understand how I can get people interested in a particular cultural grocery type and connect to a set of grocers that can serve them

  3. Product recommendations to increase margins

  4.  Featured products, marketing within the product

  5. Analytics are key, product recommendations based on big sellers

  6.  Simple is meaningful - revenue, margins

  7.  Printable reports

  8.  Summary of orders - simple

  9.  Integrated with POS - more in-depth data, start with pulling from PoS but could be two-way

  10.  Comparisons to others in your area, nationally

  11. Reporting by community groups/store types

  12. We want to be the brains of their business, business intelligence tool

  13. Culturally appropriate, translation buttons


Based on all the interviews I conducted I created a user persona.

Defining Problems




After identifying my target user, I had to understand the problems which I’d aim to solve. To define the problem statement I made use of the insights that I’d gained before.



To narrow down on the features that we needed to implement, I clearly defined the goals that we are trying to meet.

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Based on the research findings I created a list of pages and add-ons our website would feature. Oja had a large assortment of pages that needed to be designed. I also had to map and put the pages carefully, making sure the users would find it easy to navigate throughout the site.

Ideating Solutions




After deciding on the user flow and the site architecture for the community, I started sketching out a rough design for the screens. The sketching was based on the design patterns I found while researching similar sites.

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Once basic sketching was done I had a fair idea about where each element of the screen would go. To present my idea to the stakeholders I developed some medium-fidelity wireframes. To make the layout responsive and fluid I worked on the different screens simultaneously.



Since I already had a style guide that I had created for OjaExpress, I kept that as a guideline and came up with the following visuals.

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Product Marketplace Catalog.png
Product Detail.png
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I made a simple prototype of the screens that I'd designed on Figma. This prototype was used to present to team members and stakeholders to get early approval. I also used the prototype for usability testing to get early validation from users. 





The same participants used in the initial research process were brought back for testing with the following as the major objectives:

1. Test to see of the users are able to perform the tasks in a satisfactory manner

2. Observe users' interactions with the product

3. Assess areas of improvement for future iterations

& Next Steps

To keep monitoring the trends in the  food industry particularly the grocery side. To see if any changes impact the distributor retailer growth. To gather data on Vanika's usage, to understand how users are interacting with the product.





1.Design Version  1

These are the very first designs we've come up with for Vanika. Tests will be conducted and changes will be made accordingly for Vanika 2.0


2.Design Handoff

The Designs have been finalized, documented and  handed off to production. 


3.Product Launch

The product has been launched and is currently being used by several retailers and distributors.

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