In our research, we observed that the sense of community has played a big role in why customers visit the store. That is why we conclude that customers have the need for social interaction and community. We asked ourselves how we might create a sense of community in every type of store. That’s how we came up with our Concept which is in this case for a bookstore. But it is also easy to translate that into other types of stores.
The bookseller creates a book exchange event in his shop on a platform. The customers get a notification through the app. The special feature is that the app displays which books the other customers offer for exchange. You can scan your own books and also offer them for exchange. If the offer appeals to you, you can participate in the event. For this you pay a certain amount of money for which you get a coupon. In the store you can now exchange your books and look for new books and buy them with the coupon. Customers have the advantage that they can see which books are offered and only participate in the event if they are interested in the offer. In addition, they can meet other book lovers in the bookshop and talk with them. For the bookseller, the advantage is that people will become aware of the store through the book exchange event and buy something from the coupon if they participate in it. The next step would be to introduce this concept to the user group to see how they like the idea. If a few retailers are interested, we can create a prototype and test it. Through interviews and evaluations, we can get feedback on the prototype and implement the feedback. This is an iterative process and can be repeated often.
After some User Research our team agreed that the sense of community is a good opportunity for retailers. We have developed some ideas on how to create such a sense of community. With some Design Thinking methods, we developed an idea that met our requirements.
With our app, booksellers can organize book exchange events. People who no longer want to read their old books can offer their books on the app, browsing through the available books from other customers. If you are happy with the book selection, then you can take part in the book exchange events for a certain fee. For the fee you get a voucher from the respective bookstore. You can exchange your old book in the bookstore and buy a new one with the voucher. During all this process you can meet new or old people and talk about the books.
While online shopping is growing in the market, retailers had to improve or change their concepts to attract customers to come and visit their stores. Our user research is all be about retail experiences and their opportunities and challenges.
Through five observations and interviews with different retail staff and manager we had a great insight in their working process and interactions with the customers. We wanted to know why people come to their stores and if there is something that can be improved in order to make a special shopping experience. There are always new challenges for the retail stores because there is much competition in this industry. As a retailer, you should be able to keep up with trends and the customer expectations. But people still value the personal support and advice that they get from the retail staff. Moreover, finding a good technology for the retail industry is not always easy and challenging, too.
We are really looking forward to the results of our project.