Reimagining the in-store experience

Product Design, UX Research

With the rise of e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and Amazon, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are losing relevance as more shoppers turned to online shopping. SHINA was created with the aim to reimagine the in-store experience and help physical retailers regain their competitive edge by growing and leveraging their customer footprint.

As the UX designer and researcher, I conducted a literature review into the e-commerce space, crafted surveys as our primary research, extracted insights to inform and prioritize design decisions and created a final prototype using design and code components in Framer X.

Motivation & target audience

Recognizing the rapidly changing nature of retail technology, we are interested in reassessing what it means to visit a physical store and design a service and system that not only enhances shoppers’ experience in the physical store but also enables stores to stay competitive with their purely online e-tailers.

Our literature review shows that retail companies are increasing their effort to attract more millennial customers, who are believed to drive much of the future growth as they increase their disposable income and adopt new lifestyle priorities. Also, contrary to popular beliefs, millennials are 50% more likely than baby boomers to visit a store to research a product. Given that millennials account for the majority of in-store shoppers, it is essential that retailers create a seamless shopping experience that addresses their common pain points. This solidifies our decision to choose millennials as our main target users.

Findings from surveys & stakeholder interviews

55% of consumers visit physical stores before purchasing online, emphasizing the idea that high-touch physical and seamless omnichannel experiences are pivotal for modern retailing.

Our literature review also revealed a strong relationship between the in-store and online shopping experiences. To validate these patterns with our target audience, I conducted a survey among millennial shoppers. Our survey reaffirmed our findings from the literature review and further illuminated customers’ motivations, goals and current pain points regarding shopping in-store, as well as factors affecting their purchase decisions. Most important findings include:

1. The in-store experience starts online: before shoppers go to a store, they do their research online. While they are in the store, they do even more research online.

2. Major motivations to go to a store include the ability to try on clothes in person, the ability to obtain a product without having to wait for shipping and the experience of shopping with someone else.

3. The most common pain points of shopping in the store include not having the item in one’s size, having to wait for fitting rooms and spending lots of time browsing but not finding anything one likes.

Design rationale & Ideation

For ideation, I identified and prioritized two core user scenarios. We then prioritized our ideas and features based on the four core design values and the major insights gained from the surveys as well as our interviews with store associates.

SHINA design values

Four core design values for SHINA

Major features

We prioritized features based on value and feasibility, and identified the following as the core functionalities:

  • Browse/search products
  • Book store visits and fitting rooms
  • Style diary

Designing for user scenarios

Scenario 1: “As a casual shopper who is in need of a specific clothing item, I can search for the item, browse its availability and reserve the item for an in-store try-on so that I can make an informed purchase decision.”

SHINA scenario 1

Scenario 2: “As a casual shopper who is new to this clothing store, I can try out the store’s selections, share style photos with friends and determine if I want to make a purchase later.”

SHINA scenario 2

User flows

Based on two core user scenarios, I mapped out the following user flows for the MVP application.

User flows for the application

Prototyping with Framer X

Since millennial shoppers are our target audience and the application will be used both at home and while in the store, we decided to focus on crafting a mobile experience.

I prototyped SHINA's core interactions and features using design and code components in Framer X. The search functionalities were implemented with hardcoded data.

Personalized recommendations and offers

Upon opening the application, users are able to see personalized deals and ongoing sales tailored to their location or previous purchases.

Personalized recommendations

Book store visit with items to try on

SHINA allows customers to plan their visit to a store by selecting estimated time/date of visit, and items to try on in their sizes.

Style diary to share and make purchases

Users can take and save pictures of their outfits to share with friends or keep for future reference. The tagging feature lets customers scan clothing items and tag them to a style photo.

For next steps, we are looking to implement the social aspect of the style diary which allows users to share their photos through email or text message.