design thinking innovation

The Design Thinking Association In Retail

Design Thinking has been successfully used in the retail industry by various institutions, from a German Butchery to large-scale retailer in USA such as Best Buy and Walmart.

Retail is being hit hard by the double blow of online shopping and the COVID19 worldwide shut down. Find case studies of companies’ working with design thinking and other thought-leadership articles on the application for design-based thinking within the retail industry in this article.


Netflix has been in the news for a while with its first film series “Roma” won the Oscar for the best film director. For those involved in digital design the most noteworthy feature of Netflix is the performance of its human-centered algorithms.

Around 10-12 years ago, marketers recognized that content is a crucial component of marketing and have been putting in a lot of effort to create content that can aid in winning the race for attention.

Netflix has developed algorithms that are excellent in suggesting content that viewers will like. It is able to do this because it monitors and processes the preferences of its viewers without hindering the streaming experience. The company claims that 80 per cent or greater of content users choose to stream is built on algorithms that provide recommendations.

This incredible combination of human and automated preferences is the main reason why Netflix’s revenues, $20.15 billion in 2019 increased by more than 30 percent every year in recent years. It’s also a great illustration of the effectiveness of Design Thinking.

Design Thinking, which is utilized by top brands like Apple, Google and Samsung is a focus on the human element of the user in the process of thinking developing, implementing and utilizing technology. It’s a way of thinking about the development of technology that any industry that is a consumer-related Chief Marketing Officer will be awed by.

In Design Thinking, smart digital-led technologies are only the starting point. Human behavior and emotions are the main focus. It is a Design Thinking process is highly iterative, and involves the use of experiments and continual revisions to test assumptions and redefine issues. It’s about finding new ways to improve the experience of customers.

Stories of success that have come from Design Thinking include smart user interfaces that offer customers the ability to customize their experience according to their preferences. Chatbots or voice agents that are automated and are able to understand text or voice and then respond in a human way.

An excellent example that is near you is Google Assistant, it actively sends you alerts about the status of your flight, traffic, delivery of products and much more without having to be asked.

Improved Customer Experiences Equals Improved Business Outcomes

The creation of a positive customer experience not just makes people feel great but it also provides real positive business effects.

Let us show you some examples of industries that are more traditional which employ Design thinking.

In Scotland the call centers of the water company were plagued with complaints from customers every winter. The cold winter months could cause old pipes to freeze , and then burst. Consumers in desperate need of help were calling call centers. The utility’s inability to deal with the demand not just aggravated the the anger of customers, but affected the utility’s reputation. The company also received with heavy fines by the regulators. The utility wasn’t able to alter the cold climate, nor could it change the water pipes of every customer. It could repair its internal complaint procedure.

The application with the aid of design thinking experts , they created an efficient multi-channel system for managing customer complaints through email and its website, and also via phone. It was driven by digital technology that could help automate service requests and dispatch repair crews. Customers were notified via text message on the repair progress. In addition, the application employed predictive analytics and allowed the ability to personalize customers’ experience. It also reduced customer complains by 80 percent in just one year. Additionally, the new system helped the utility save more than 12 million dollars.

Another case is that of a huge U.S. health insurer, Humana The issue was not due to a absence of digitalization. However, after digging deeper, they discovered it was due to an absence of Design Thinking when Humana added online components over the course of several years. This led to Humana was left with an array of digital properties, including more than 60 distinct websites. Humana determined to bring order back by establishing an integrated digital brand that can provide its users a customized and seamless service across every channel.

Utilizing a design-led strategy using a design-led approach, the company upgraded 5,000+ pages and merged 150+ elements on one digital platform. It made it simpler for the business to connect with customers via social media channels. The new system allows them the company to customize its communications strategy Customers would now get relevant offers at the right moment. The design-led enhancements allowed the company to expand its customer base by 18 %.

Customer Satisfaction is taken as a profit center

If technology-related decisions are based on an individual-centered Design Thinking approach, consumers are guaranteed to have a superior experience. An experience in which technology acts as an enabler rather than a deterrent. The data about customers that flow naturally through their interactions with products and services will give important data-driven information. These insights will help marketing managers quickly recognize the changing habits of consumers and respond quicker. or even anticipate consumer demands and develop new solutions to meet these needs.

To summarize, Design Thinking can help consumers by enhancing satisfaction of customers, but also increase profits. Just ask Netflix.

We spoke about the speed of change at which our world as well as everything within it is changing. This is a time for radical innovation and we believe that Design Thinking is the go-to method for achieving this. If you’re professional and are trying to figure out how to begin your journey into the area of design thinking, then you’re in the right place. You can begin by taking the Design Thinking Course in collaboration with Great Learning.

Design Thinking For Retail Innovation

After working in the retail industry from day in to day out, I’ve been able to accept the ever-changing nature of the place in the world. But, the advantages that are able to hold the attention of your customers are quality and quantity’, ‘personalization of the standard and the new, and an ‘innovative value’ out of the molehill that is an ongoing feature in the revolutionary shifts. Sometimes however, technology executives fail to ask the most pertinent concerns to business partners in order to have an efficient quarter.

1. Empathize:

Today, many companies, when developing a product, are prone to build features into their product based on the latest technology available. Take for instance recent developments in the mobile sector. The product being promoted is the ‘notch/bezel” vs. the ‘bezel-less’ experience but is that what consumers would like? These devices could garner some attention however, discerning customers might be wary of investing in this incremental improvement to user experience.

The first step is developing a product around the primary need of your customers. Be a part of their journey. Design Thinking framework reminds you to be proactive while ensuring that you’re always focused on the person on opposite end of the the product seeking a specific quality. It begins with an open and interactive conversation with the end-user. If a person in charge of retail insights would like to employ the model when speaking with his business executives they should be asking questions that can help them understand:

  1. What’s the most pressing issue they have to address? Why?

  2. Does the leader of the company have sufficient information about this crucial aspect, both from the 10,000-foot-level to that desired degree of detail?

  3. If there isn’t, then what’s not working?

2. Define:

Next, establish your problem’s definition. There could be a problem with the absence of crucial metrics such as aggregated views, competitor information, and so on. However, users need to be able to quickly make decisions and also provide relevant information for example, what notifications or alerts are promptly delivered, and with sufficient information backing, will allow preventative actions in the business process to improve productivity, control of costs, or profitability.

For instance, in retail scenarios some of the issues that an employee or a leader from stores could look for answers to are listed below:

1. Are there any customers with high value in the store right now that my associate at the store must be able to assist?

2. What can I do to identify my customers from my website in-store? How can I increase their shopping experience?

3. What are the reactions to my marketing campaign and the signage I have placed in my store?

In the same way, the head of the omnichannel or online channel might ask questions such as:

1. We are we reaping the needed ROI from our various ways of marketing using digital media?

2. How can I track my top-performing and most faithful customers?

3. Ideate:

In this phase of Design Thinking, you know the requirements of your final customer and it’s time to start brainstorming and collating ideas for possible solutions.

If you’re in the midst of an ecosystem enhanced by various layers of technology such as IoT, AI, big data, and so on it’s easy to get caught up and forget about the business needs. However, we need to remain focused on the end user and think about and develop the most diverse possible paths (good or not) to resolve the issue in the near future -to avoid the trap of ‘technology just for the sake of technology’.

For example, if you want to get ‘customer identification’ at the store in order to provide your customers with prompt recommendations It can be accomplished by following three steps:

1. Identify existing customer in-store

2. Choose most relevant recommendations

3. Make suggestions

Let’s talk about the initial step — ‘Identify an existing customers who are in-store because it’s the most important aspect to solving this issue. There are a variety of options to tackle this issue:

Approach A: A sales associate in the store could simply stand near the kiosk at the point of sale or at the entrance and clearly ask customers to sign in using their online user ID. In this way, they will receive more relevant recommendations according to their activity and online shopping habits.

Option B Approach B: A more technologically-driven strategy is to track customers via the mobile application of the store as long as it’s currently installed on the phone of the customer and accessible via bluetooth. Once the connection is established your customers will be able to view all of the personalized suggestions at the counter, similar to when they shop on the internet.

Although both approaches can be used, it all depends on the business stakeholder to carefully consider and pick one that is based on the company’s specific situation, its technology maturity, spending capabilities flexibility, and openness to change the time to market.

4. Prototype

With all the data gathered and after coming up with an idea for a solution that is feasible then it’s time to start some prototyping. When prototyping, you have the chance to create an inexpensive , scaled-down version product and identify loopholes, or gaps in your the current design. The first failure points let you know which element of the design requires more effort, and the time to go over the details. This gives you a realistic feeling of the feasibility of the solution , and also gives you an accurate picture of how the final solution will shape into.

For example, let us imagine the concept of “Customer identification in-store for timely customer suggestions as well as recommendations for customers using a kiosk approach (Approach A). The initial prototype could include an employee at the POS soliciting customers to enter their email addresses in the form of an Excel spreadsheet, or a computer tablet or physical notepad.

5Test

Now it’s time to evaluate the prototype with end users. Once they begin using it, you’ll be able to determine if they’re accepting the idea as meant to be and spot bottlenecks and points for improvement.

Returning to the scenario of ‘Customer identification in store We had developed a prototype kiosk system (Approach A) You could write down the performance of the kiosk over the course of the course of a day, and see how many customers were willing for sharing email address either via the Excel sheet or tablet, or on a the physical notepad.

This exercise will provide the impression of acceptance at the simplest levelfrom both the associate’s viewpoint and their readiness to request customer’s email address, as well as from the customer’s viewpoint of sharing the details. You can then identify areas that are failing from a cultural as well as a process perspective, and then devise methods to overcome the failure points within your solution.

As an avid fan and observer Design Thinking for some years and now, I have no doubt that the process is focused on the customer’s needs practical solutions, real-world applications and action-oriented techniques. It transforms the retail industry and allows retailers to tackle complex issues and concentrate on humanizing solutions. Take advantage of Design Thinking for solving your next retail challenge.

To find the most genuine value, it is essential to begin by asking the right questions.

There is no universal formula for success in the field of “new retail.” Rather every company or brand has to find their own edge that will attract their patrons and ensure they keep returning. “New retail” should be focused on bringing value to customers and not just adding teched-out bells and whistles simply for the just the sake of it. However, to get the right solution for your business you require a partner who can ask the right questions to discover potential and unmet needs. Frog offers a range and depth of knowledge across all industries and multi-disciplinary teams — from research and strategy to product, digital technology, service and space to assist our clients in finding the right solution not just the latest thing.

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