Through our on-site observations and interviews in small physical shops we got valuable insights about the needs of storeowners regarding their problems in digitalization and logistics. In the following phase of ideation we collected our observations, sorted different underlying problems in clusters and found and refined solutions. Our most significant question was:
„How might we support retail owners to share knowledge, experiences and properties among each other?
Our solution to this issue is the website RetailRescuers, which creates a network among retail shop owners. Thus, they are not only no longer completely on their own regarding managing their shop business, they also have a platform to turn to in case of questions or problems. This website comes along with several features to make a storeowner’s everyday life easier. In special chat rooms you can talk to either other retail shop owners and exchange trends, experiences and advises or trained support staff, which tries to help you with their best knowledge and conscience. The community is also able to host networking events for its members to connect with each other in real life to establish mutual trust. The tutorial section offers a multitude of online tutorials about commonly occuring problems of retail shop owners. One of the most powerful tools of RetailRescuers is the store sharing option where shop owners can offer parts of their store space to others in order to share rent, costs and manpower and increase the customer base.
Our next steps would be presenting the website and video prototype to the aimed user groups and gathering their feedback. With the obtained information an over-worked and now usable prototype would be developed. Then the user groups would be observed while working with RetailRescuers. In this way, hidden or unrealized problems would be identified. There is still a long way to go but if our vision comes true, we’re sure it will make the life of retail shop owners a lot more comfortable.