In-Store Digital Experience Design

I recently had the opportunity to work on an assignment for a large retailer that focused on bringing new digital services into physical store locations.  This is a significant area of focus for retailers today as they try to meet the ever-changing shopping habits and expectations of connected customers. While I have worked with a number of retail clients, most of my assignments have involved a mix of digital marketing and e-commerce—increasing customer traffic to stores and transactions online.  This was the first time (for me) where the focus was exclusively on the in-store physical environment, and it was a really interesting challenge.

As part of this assignment, I came to appreciate a number of specific nuances to designing in-store digital experiences that I thought I’d share:

  • It can never really be just about the store.  So much is done by customers through digital channels before and after visiting a physical store. It is important to understand these larger cross-channel patterns and design in-store experiences to fit within them.
  • Never let technology get in the way.  It is critical to respect what customers appreciate about in-store shopping today, and not introduce friction into their experience.  This goes double for the in-store staff and management who need to support any new service. 
  • Great experiences can never stand-alone.  In-store digital services need to provide a unique proposition that integrate with other related channels and services.  It is crucial to not only understand how to integrate with retailer technology, but also how to potentially integrate with customer-owned technology like mobile devices and wearables.

Over the course of this assignment, I sketched out a framework that helped me get my head around many of the important dimensions to in-store digital experience design.  I wish I had this at the start of my project, hopefully you will find it useful at the start of yours.