The following experts have contributed answers to this edition of Ask UXmatters:
- Ronnie Battista—UX Practice Lead at Slalom Consulting
- Leo Frishberg—Product Design Manager at Intel Corporation
- Adrian Howard—Generalizing Specialist in Agile/UX
- Jordan Julien—Independent Experience Strategy Consultant
Q: What do you see on the digital horizon that will impact retail UX strategists in a big way?—from a UXmatters reader
“The far-reaching changes brought by technologies that are just starting to emerge from labs will have profound impacts on products, services, and business models in the next five years,” responds Leo.
“With the decreasing influence of the desktop metaphor as a primary means of interacting with digital systems, the approaches that businesses take to delivering on their promise will be fundamentally based on user experience. As a result, businesses will be looking for mature, seasoned designers who are familiar with not only the ever-changing landscape of user interface technologies, but also with the business implications of these changes. These business impacts include the cost of implementing world-class user experiences, the potential for differentiation from their competition through the use of user interface technologies, and the ways in which these technologies can promote delight. All of this will continue to be the provenance of UX design.”
Retail UX and Mobile Technology
“There are two things that will soon affect retail experience design in a big way,” asserts Jordan:
- “mobile integration—Various retailers are already exploiting massive mobile integration opportunities. This is happening now; it’s no longer on the horizon. Many retailers are already accepting mobile payments and mobile coupons. Mobile loyalty programs are also becoming more common. In-store wayfinding via mobile devices is starting to take off, too. While Google still doesn’t have a solution that really fits the masses, a handful of solutions already exist that make this possible. However, I think there will be a rise in contextually relevant, pushed notifications. The length of time a customer spends looking for a product might trigger an alert to a customer service agent. Once that agent helps the customer, he might generate a virtual coupon to encourage that person to make a purchase decision.
- virtual shopping—The connection between online shopping and in-store shopping will become stronger. Users can already browse a product catalog online and pick up their purchases at a store and vice versa. I believe retailers are going to start re-examining the retail shopping experience as a whole and figure out how to integrate virtual shopping behavior into the retail shopping experience. Stores like IKEA, with their huge showroom footprints, will be able to reduce those footprints by allowing users to shop virtually while in a store. I’ve already seen some examples of how this can work. An IKEA pop-up store allowed users to sit in a café-style environment, using an iPad to browse virtual showrooms, then see hard goods when they were ready. Another early example is the fitting-room interactive mirror that the Forbes article ‘Dressing Rooms of the Future’ described.”