Adding value to international trading markets

With the recent slump in coal prices, I lead a team tasked with helping an international physical and financial coal trading company to improve their service offerings, client retention, communications, and up-sell.

Key facts

  • Industry: international trading company
  • Position: Account lead
  • Team: 3 full time, 1 part time
  • Year: 2015-2016
  • Tasks: User & stakeholder interviews, user testing, content audit, collaborative design workshops, wireframing,
  • Status: the site design is now live, and the communications’ plan is active for new, and lapsed customers


The client was suffering, they were feeling the effects of the global downturn in coal consumption, and by China’s introduction of levies on imported coal. But their core product, data and predictive analysis on the international physical and financial coal markets was still in demand.

But they felt the market had stagnated. Their customers were loyal, but slowly shrinking. They needed to understand their market, their customers, and their product better, if they were to thrive.

Because this is a niche, and highly complicated product, we began with an intensive two week research phase, during which the team learned as much as possible about international physical and financial trading, and international coal markets. Following this we conducted stakeholder interviews and customer interviews.

Client design workshop
Client design workshop

These user interviews were particularly difficult as traders are near-impossible to access during the day, and most were based in Asia and Australia. Most interviews were conducted during the candidates’ morning and evening commutes. These interviews led to the creation of core personas for the company.