The retail wonderland

How many times have you entered the supermarket armed in your memory with a list of things to purchase? …and then minutes after entering, find yourself just looking around, seeing and touching things…as if in a daze…picking them up, then tossing them into your cart or after moments of intense consideration placing them back on the shelf…the list now blurry and possibly forgotten…

In addition to being your weekly grocer, the supermarket is an experience designed to distract and attract you to things you want and don’t really need. It’s impossible to enter a supermarket and leave without buying anything. The entry to the temperature controlled windowless wonderland has one exit- after the billing. Leaving from the door you entered isn’t allowed; so once you’re in, you’re in. The gatekeeper at the billing desk grants you freedom as you weakly smile past to the exit sans purchase. Most retail environments are probably a result of the business owner and their team of interior designers, merchandising managers and staff.
Things are going good, so how will service design make things even better?
With empathy – the objectives of the business owner and the current journey of the user is the starting point for the service design brief. The role of the service designer is to blend the journeys of the service provider and the user to create a smooth flow of interaction for both; thus resulting in a designed experience. The Gestalt theory of ‘whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts’ stands true for service designers. They have a bird’s eye view of the scheme while possessing the macro level knowledge of processes and sequences. Service designers re-think the basic and innovate to create the new. Then, draw up system maps, service blueprints, process flows and final implementation plans.
However, when asked to design services, we often give in to temptation at our own wonderland of ideas and try for newer services. While new ideas are good, isn’t innovation about taking the existing and make it awesome? Now that’s the real challenge.
Grocery shopping is a chore, but going to the supermarket may not be.