One of the biggest department stores in Baltic countries (Stockman) has set up a goal of improving customer experience in their most famous and loved department – Herrku, located in the heart of Helsinki. The name Herrku, from Finnish means something very special related to food, and inside the mother store, there is a big food department with specialties ranging from organic berries to most exclusive fish products visited daily by thousands of people. This project was part of the EIT Summer School themed “Smart Spaces”. It had a focus on real-case business idea development using best entrepreneurship and human-computer interaction practices.
It all started with gathering the information about the client, identifying their current concerns, the available technologies at hand and the goals. The entry point was client’s willingness to make use of newly implemented indoor positioning system for raising customer experience inside the store. An ethnographic research combined with unstructured interviews performed at the store made it possible to gather a broad set of insights about the customer experiences during shopping.
The collected information was used for creating personas that would represent common types of customers and give an understanding of who they are and what they need. Besides this were constructed empathy maps that visualized the data gathered from the interviews about what do customers see, hear and feel during specific routines performed inside the store. Further followed the ideation and brainstorming about various concepts that would fruitfully fit in the context.
The identified opportunity was connected to queuing inside of the store while ordering additional processing services (cutting, slicing, packing etc.). The existing solution used by the store was an electronic queue system that would provide each customer with a numbered ticket, and require waiting until served. Depending on the time of the day the waiting time varied. In the rush hours, this was causing negative customer experiences.
Solution and Business model development
After multiple iterations, we come with a concept solution that combined available technologies (positioning system, loyalty cards and queuing system) into a new experience – interactive shopping carts. These would represent upgraded carts, enhanced with a digital screen that would allow customers to order additional services while shopping. The positioning system would track the location of the card inside of the store and inform timely when to collect the orders. By scanning a loyalty card, the system would provide on the go recommendations based on the preferences of the customer.
Among with the concept development a special attention was given to making the new service or product sustainable from an economic point of view. In other words, design a strategy of returning the investments made for building it and turning it into a sustainable and profitable technology. For this purpose was used the Business model canvas. A tool that helps structure and cover the core aspects of a business from value proposition to revenue streams.