Categoría: Service delivery & satisfaction

abr 03

The Future of The Retail Store, via Doug Stephens

Escrito por // Editor-in-Chief



Retail is dead!

At least, that’s how Marc Andreessen sees it.  The entrepreneur and tech investor was recently quoted saying that all physical retail stores will die, succumbing eventually to the vast sea of online competition.  According to Andreessen, there will be one way to shop for everything and that way will be e-commerce.  It’s also fair to say, given that Andreessen co-founded Netscape and is invested in a number of online properties, that he might be just a little predisposed to this extreme position.  Nonetheless, his opinion caused some unrest in the retail community and should be taken seriously.

On the other hand…

I have been a vocal proponent of a somewhat different future; one that includes both virtual and physical stores.  You see, if I believed that humans shopped for no other reason than to acquire goods, I might be more aligned with Andreessen’s view but in fact, we don’t shop just to get stuff  -  any more than we go to restaurants purely for nutrition.  In fact, we often shop to fulfill other deeper needs as well – the need to disconnect, to socialize and to commune – and at times to simply be out in public. Why else would celebrities brave the hoards of paparazzi to shop for things they could undoubtedly have delivered to them on a silver platter?  The physical, human experience of shopping is in some ways of far greater value than the goods that come along for the ride.  So, while shopping is a means of acquiring the things we want and need, it’s also a meaningful social activity that appeals to our deepest, human tendency to gather in tribes.

That said, I’m convinced that between the futures that Andreessen and I describe, lies the truth.  But one thing is quite certain; that retail stores will be much different in the years to come than they are today.

But how different?

Regrettably, this is where the debate usually ends, with one side declaring brick and mortar retail dead and the other passionately defending its infinite existence.  Rarely do we hear either side attempt to describe the specific ways in which stores are likely to evolve from what we see today.  In other words, few seem willing to paint a picture the store of the near future.

So, I’ll take a shot at it, based not on what I foresee twenty years from now but rather based on what I see just around the corner and in front of me today.

And so…

These are some of the biggest changes I see to the concept of the retail “store”.

Less Take and More Make

Stores will increasingly become places that we visit, not simply to pick up mass produced articles but also to design and co-create special things with the personal assistance of experts.  Whether it’s customizing a suit, building a one-of-a-kind notebook computer or designing the perfect bicycle, stores will be the point of collaboration and customization.  These elements of customization will make for unique personal and physical experiences.

Less Product and More Production

With online players like Amazon prepared to ship just about anything we want in a matter of a day or two, our dependency on physical stores for mere distribution will continue to wane rapidly.  Smart brands will have no choice but to, focus increasing amounts of attention on making their store spaces experiential brand starting points, with high production value. Stages where magic happens.  Canadian sporting goods retailer Sport Check recently unveiled a concept store that might better be described as an adult amusement park for the sports enthusiast. Leveraging a variety of media and technology, the store has morphed into a wall-to-wall sporting experience.  The store remains the most visceral expression of the brand essence.

Less Conversion but More Converts

The purpose of retail will no longer be to solely convert every customer into a buyer of goods but rather transform them into disciples of the brand itself.  To begin a relationship – a dialogue that may play out in any number of buying channels; online, in-store, mobile or elsewhere.  It doesn’t matter where purchases take place. What matters is that the consumer falls in LOVE with the brand and shares that love with others.  The store maintains the potential to be that emotional center of gravity for the brand.

Less People but More Performance

The economics of online competition mean that brick and mortar discount merchants will have no alternative but to completely automate their store environments to remain cost-competitive – Walmart , for one, is already heading in this direction.   At high-end merchants, stock clerks, cashiers and inventory counters will be the similarly replaced with technology. Front line salespeople, however, will be higher performing professionals who are paid considerably more money than today, and will be expected to literally sweep customers off their feet! These rare individuals will be intense believers in the brand, super-users of its products and co-creators with their customers. The era of the minimum wage clerk is giving way to the simultaneous rise of the robot at the low end and the Brand Ambassador at the high end.

Less Interruption and More Exchange

The current practice among retailers of asking for personal information only to annoy and interrupt with meaningless offers will give way as consumers garner more tools to filter out these useless overtures.  Enlightened retailers, like Neiman Marcus,  will appeal to their customers for a more overt exchange of value promising distinctly better, more customized and enjoyable experiences in exchange for relevant personal information.  The transition is less about privacy and data and more about earned trust through performance.  And the fruits of these data inputs will be almost immediately tangible to customers through clearly personalized services and product offerings, as data latency quickly becomes a thing of the past.

Less Established and More Ephemeral

Consumers, particularly younger consumers are developing an insatiable appetite for what’s new and next.  Therefore, managing the same 100 stores in a mall for years on end simply won’t do anymore. Leases will shorten, new retail brands will evolve more quickly, old ones will die sooner and pop-up installations will rotate through the space. Change will be continual.  The mall manager’s role will become that of editor and curator as the mall becomes a revolving door for new brands and concepts, in a relentless effort to captivate consumers.

Less Average and (Much) More Remarkable

In a contracting market, there will be increasingly little room for sameness.  Ten retailers at the mall selling variations of the same clothing styles will soon become 5 retailers who absolutely kill it, with unique and remarkable collections.   Average, forgettable experiences simply won’t pay the rent anymore and will be kicked to the curb by outstanding stores who bring something new and fascinating to the market.

So, is retail dead?  Not a chance. If anything, it’s the very pervasiveness of online alternatives that is causing the best stores to rise out of the ashes of 30 years of mediocrity, ushering in what I, for one, believe will be the true Golden Age of the Store.

(Via Retail Prophet)


abr 02

Book: Service Design – From Insight to Implementation, via Putting people first

Escrito por // Editor-in-Chief



Service Design – From Insight to Implementation
by Andy Polaine, Lavrans Løvlie & Ben Reason
Rosenfeld Media – March 2013

We have unsatisfactory experiences when we use banks, buses, health services and insurance companies. They don’t make us feel happier or richer. Why are they not designed as well as the products we love to use such as an Apple iPod or a BMW?

The ‘developed’ world has moved beyond the industrial mindset of products and the majority of ‘products’ that we encounter are actually parts of a larger service network. These services comprise people, technology, places, time and objects that form the entire service experience. In most cases some of the touchpoints are designed, but in many situations the service as a complete ecology just “happens” and is not consciously designed at all, which is why they don’t feel like iPods or BMWs.

One of the goals of service design is to redress this imbalance and to design services that have the same appeal and experience as the products we love, whether it is buying insurance, going on holiday, filling in a tax return, or having a heart transplant. Another important aspect of service design is its potential for design innovation and intervention in the big issues facing us, such as transport, sustainability, government, finance, communications and healthcare.

Given that we live in a service and information age, a practical, thoughtful book about how to design better services is urgently needed.

Along with many other insights, this book offers:

  • A clear explanation of what service design is and what makes it different from other ways of thinking about design, marketing and business.
  • Service design insights, methods and case studies to help you move up the project food chain and have a bigger design impact on the entire service ecosystem.
  • Practical advice to help you sell the value of service thinking within your organisation and to clients.
  • Ways to help you develop business, design, environmental and social innovation through service design.


Also of note: Free webcast by the authors (recommended!)

(Via Putting people first)

sep 15

Gestión de la espera en retail

Escrito por // Enrique Clarós


Una oportunidad raramente aprovechada. La gestión de la duración de los servicios y la experiencia de los clientes puede convertirse en un factor competitivo que además afecta a los beneficios. Este artículo de IESE Insight nos muestra algunas de las claves.

La espera no tiene por qué ser tan terrible para el cliente
Bitran, Gabriel R.; Ferrer, Juan Carlos; Rocha e Oliveira, Paulo

Documento original: Managing customer experiences: Perspectives on the temporal aspects of service encounters
Año: 2008
Idioma: Inglés
Nota: Este artículo fue publicado en Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, Vol. 10, No 1, Winter 2008, pages 61-83.

Las esperas, cuando son inevitables, no tienen por qué implicar necesariamente una pérdida de ingresos. Es lo que defienden Gabriel R. Bitran (MIT), Juan-Carlos Ferrer (PUC Chile) y Paulo Rocha e Oliveira (IESE) en su artículo “Managing Customer Experiences: Perspectives on the Temporal Aspects of Service Encounters” (“Gestión de la experiencia del cliente: perspectivas sobre los aspectos temporales de la prestación de servicios”), publicado en Manufacturing & Service Operations Management. El objetivo de los autores es ayudar a los directivos a entender el vínculo que existe entre sus decisiones y el comportamiento del cliente durante la prestación de un servicio, así como su efecto en los beneficios. Tras estudiar cuáles son las claves del éxito en la dirección de operaciones de servicios, invitan a los directivos a incorporar los hallazgos de su investigación sobre el comportamiento del cliente en la gestión de la psicología de la espera.

Control de los tiempos
La mayoría de las prestaciones de servicios se alargan, y eso puede afectar a cómo el cliente valore retrospectivamente su experiencia. Saber cómo controlar los tiempos en cada paso del proceso y mejorar la experiencia global del cliente puede reportar una ventaja competitiva a las empresas de muchos sectores.

La duración de la prestación del servicio suele estar determinada por el escenario, el comportamiento del cliente y las políticas de la dirección. Los directivos pueden controlarla aplicando medidas que alivien la congestión del sistema y agilicen el proceso. Los clientes recuerdan los aspectos más destacados de la experiencia, por lo que no tendrán en cuenta la duración del servicio si ésta es secundaria. Por ejemplo, es fácil que los clientes a quienes se entretiene con música o televisión olviden el tiempo que se les ha hecho esperar. En este caso la duración del servicio, aunque sea larga, acaba siendo un factor neutral y no negativo.

Los clientes pueden percibir que la duración del servicio es mayor o menor de lo que en realidad es. Si el tiempo de espera es corto pero el entorno genera impaciencia o ansiedad, los clientes pueden tener la sensación de que han esperado demasiado tiempo. Por el contrario, si se les hace esperar mucho, pero el entorno es relajante y se sienten a gusto, les parecerá que no han tenido que esperar tanto.

Durante la prestación del servicio, una serie de moderadores ambientales y personales influyen en el comportamiento del consumidor. Al final del servicio, los clientes valorarán la experiencia, y esa valoración afectará a su relación a largo plazo con la empresa. En general se cree que el comportamiento futuro del cliente dependerá de cómo valore la experiencia del servicio, es decir, de su grado de satisfacción con la misma.

Los clientes valoran la experiencia para compartirla con otros (boca-oreja) o para decidir si volverán a pasar por ella (intenciones de comportamiento). De ahí la importancia de que el recuerdo sea positivo para el cliente.

El comportamiento del cliente durante y después de la prestación del servicio es lo que determina la rentabilidad. Por ejemplo, si el servicio no se presta satisfactoriamente (desaprovecha la oportunidad o no cumple las expectativas) o el cliente decide no efectuar una compra, disminuye la rentabilidad. Si la experiencia es positiva, el comportamiento posterior del cliente -la realización de nuevas compras, el boca-oreja, el mantenimiento de la relación con la empresa y el aumento del share of wallet (porcentaje de las compras que el cliente dedica a productos o servicios de la empresa)- puede aumentar enormemente la rentabilidad. SABER MÁS

Fuente: IESE Insight


sep 10

Nuestra mente cuando compramos

Escrito por // Enrique Clarós


Nuevas técnicas como la Imagen de Resonancia Magnética permiten identificar nuestra actividad cerebral: cuando recorremos un supermercado, tenemos que decidir entre marcas, degustamos un producto o simplemente buscamos. Un excelente artículo de The Economist:

The way the brain buys

Retailers are making breakthroughs in understanding their customers’ mind. Here is what they know about you.

IT MAY have occurred to you, during the course of a dismal trawl round a supermarket indistinguishable from every other supermarket you have ever been into, to wonder why they are all the same. The answer is more sinister than depressing. It is not because the companies that operate them lack imagination. It is because they are all versed in the science of persuading people to buy things—a science that, thanks to technological advances, is beginning to unlock the innermost secrets of the consumer’s mind.

In the Sainsbury’s in Hatch Warren, Basingstoke, south-west of London, it takes a while for the mind to get into a shopping mode. This is why the area immediately inside the entrance of a supermarket is known as the “decompression zone”. People need to slow down and take stock of the surroundings, even if they are regulars. In sales terms this area is a bit of a loss, so it tends to be used more for promotion. Even the multi-packs of beer piled up here are designed more to hint at bargains within than to be lugged round the aisles. Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer, famously employs “greeters” at the entrance to its stores. Whether or not they boost sales, a friendly welcome is said to cut shoplifting. It is harder to steal from nice people. Saber más

Fuente: The Economist

sep 10

Cómo el diseño influye en el comportamiento

Escrito por // Enrique Clarós


Influencia, persuasión, vinculación social, empatía, “ensoulment”, son los conceptos que integran las nuevas aproximaciones del diseño centrado en el usuario. Influir en nuestro comportamiento es lo que persigue este enfoque creativo.

Robert Fabricant, nos ofrece en este informe su enfoque e implicaciones

Design With Intent

How designers can influence behavior

Over the past several months, I’ve been fortunate to meet and talk to a number of people — among them Jan Chipchase of Nokia, Peter Whybrow of UCLA, and Caroline Hummels of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands — about the role of the designer in behavior change. Our conversations echoed the pent-up ambitions I’ve often heard from the young designers I teach and work with. They also reinforced my belief that we’re experiencing a sea change in the way designers engage with the world. Instead of aspiring to influence user behavior from a distance, we increasingly want the products we design to have more immediate impact through direct social engagement. Institutions that drive the global social innovation agenda, such as the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have shown an interest in this new approach, but many designers hesitate to pursue it. Committing to direct behavior design would mean stepping outside the traditional frame of user-centered design (UCD), which provides the basis of most professional design today. Saber más

Fuente: Design Mind

sep 09

La compra por impulso según David R. Bell

Escrito por // Enrique Clarós

2b DSPcorrected impulse response

El estudio de Bell cuestiona la influencia del punto de venta en las decisiones de compra. ¿El paradigma de Underhill en entredicho?. Pensamos que no. Lo que se pone de relieve es la necesidad, en cualquier metodología de investigación, de relacionar correctamente los comportamientos con las características del comprador y con las del punto de venta.

La verdad de la compra por impulso

Durante años, los minoristas y fabricantes de bienes de consumo han dado por sentado que una presentación atractiva y una cierta extravagancia influían profundamente en la mayor parte de las decisiones de compra de los consumidores. En su libro de 1999, Por qué compramos: la ciencia de la compra [Why we buy: the science of Shopping], Paco Underhill describió los supermercados como “lugares donde las compras se hacen por impulso [...] Aproximadamente de un 60% a un 70% de las compras realizadas en esos locales no fueron planeadas, según muestran los estudios realizados acerca de la industria de supermercados”.

El libro de Underhill y otros estudios posteriores han llevado a los minoristas a dedicar cada vez más recursos a las promociones realizadas en el interior de la tienda, como, por ejemplo, la colocación de ciertos productos al final de los pasillos y a lo largo de la fila de las cajas para incentivar la compra por impulso.

Esto no es lo que piensan, sin embargo, David R. Bell, profesor de Marketing de Wharton, y otros dos compañeros, que sostienen que la idea de que la mayor parte de las compras que se hacen en los supermercados no obedece a criterios preestablecidos no es más que una leyenda urbana. En un nuevo trabajo de investigación, Incidencia de compras no planeadas: quién compra, cómo y por qué, Bell y sus compañeros defienden que el volumen de compras no planeadas gira en torno a un 20%.

La investigación no prueba que el marketing hecho en el interior de la tienda sea irrelevante, pero que los minoristas tal vez deberían volver a pensar sus estrategias. Los investigadores constataron que ciertas características de los consumidores como, por ejemplo, la edad, ejercen una influencia más profunda sobre las compras no planeadas que la tienda propiamente dicha o su entorno. Saber más

Fuente: Wharton