Reimagining the future of retail
**due to client, and participant confidentiality, details have been left out of this case study
Mid July 2018 – August 2018 (6 weeks)
AEIOU, contextual inquiry, co-design workshop, research and immersion workshop
Ontario based beverage retail business
Project manager, senior insights consultant, junior insights consultant (me!), designer, two business consultants, architecture firm
About Doblin Deloitte
Doblin believes that design can solve the world’s biggest business problems. They are Deloitte’s innovation consulting arm and are a leading firm in innovation and Human-Centered design.
During my internship at Doblin, I was an insights consultant on a small team of designers, business and researchers practitioners. Insights consultant means that I was responsible for doing research to inform the design work for various client projects.
I worked on projects spanning retail, banking and the public sector, but this case study will focus on a retail re-design project.
Doblin was approached by an Ontario retail business looking to re-imagine their physical retail store experiences. The client had fierce competition and recognized that they needed to move fast in order to keep up. They weren’t sure what they wanted their future stores to look like or where to position themselves in the market. Is an experiential store the right way to go? or a grab-and-go, in and out, experience that prioritizes convenience? That’s what my team and I set to find out.
For the purposes of this case study, I am going to focus on the co-design workshop that happened during week 5.
While completing field research (contextual inquiries with retail customers and an AIEOU analysis of retail spaces) gave us some insight into our client’s customers and their experiences with existing retail spaces, we needed to shift towards understanding what the retail space of the future could look like. A co-design workshop involves designing with the people who will eventually use your product or service and would allow us to explore future opportunities. I assisted in the planning and execution of a 3-hour co-design workshop with 15 participants.
Assisted in the design of a workshop activity that explored people’s preferences around what our client’s retail stores should and should not offer in the future
Photographing and recording each activity during the workshop
Organized, digitized and analyzed all of the qualitative data that came out of the workshop
Identified actionable design recommendations for our client’s retail space
Identify orthodoxies (as perceived by target segment). Orthodoxies are a typical way of doing things (e.g. physical retail stores always have a cashier). Challenging orthodoxies can lead to some interesting ideas or design changes.
Determine value propositions of retail stores that resonate well with our client’s target customer
Get insight into how visual and written cues in retail spaces aid in product selection
Uncover attributes that enable personalization
Generate ideas on ideal retail experiences
The primary outcomes of the workshop were:
A set of themes, insights, and implications (written as HMW statements) for our retail client
Initial concept sketches of potential space re-designs created by our participants
Sifting through all of the data (recordings of each workshop activity, photographs and any notes that my teammates or I captured during the workshop) took a lot of time. I had less than a week to analyze the output of the workshop so it was challenging for me to find a balance between rigorous analysis and quick insight gathering.
I was eager to facilitate a workshop activity before my team felt I was ready. I learned to step back and learn from others before jumping in and trying to take the reins myself.
This was the first time I ever experienced a participatory design research method. The workshop opened my eyes to the power and possibility of researching and designing with someone, not for someone.