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TRUESHOE

In-store personalized shoe recommendations tailored to customer's unique feet, style, and purchase history.

Client: Dick's Sporting Goods

MY ROLE:

Research: semi-structured interviews, guerilla research, experiential research, stakeholder analysis, analogous domain analysis, personas, usability testing

Design: concept maps, user scenarios, storyboards, journey mapping, service blueprint, low-fi prototypes, service design

TIMELINE:

7 Weeks
Fall 2022

TOOLS:

Figma

Service Blueprint

TEAM:

2 Undergrad HCI Students

3 Master's PM Students

CONTEXT

What is the project goal?

What is the solution?

Enhance the shoe-shopping experience in the DSG store

The current shoe-shopping experience lacks personalized touch and convenience, leading to multiple trials to find a perfect fit, high return rates, and dissatisfied customers.

An in-store shoe-buying experience that utilizes advanced foot analysis technology and AI algorithms.

Employee device integration for effortless recommendations

Partnerships with startups for precise foot profile measurement devices

Unique customer profiles accessible through the DSG app

GPS technology integration to personalize experience

AI-powered notifications

Figure: Key Service Features offered

To facilitate service introduction, we presented a visually captivating poster and an engaging promotional video that highlighted the seamless benefits of our offering.

Service Poster

Figure: Service Poster

Figure: Service Promotional Video

RESEARCH

Extensive Background Research to understand the domain

Our approach had to surpass the typical product-focused approach. We analyzed DSG's annual reports, organizational structure, employee dynamics, brand image, and store environments and explored their competitors.

Screenshot of DSG's annual report indicating total assets

Figure: Screenshot of DSG's annual report indicating total assets

Me and my teammate buying an item to experience end-to-end DSG service

Figure: Me and my teammate buying an item to experience end-to-end DSG service

Thorough background research allowed us to ask unique, unsearchable questions during our first client meeting, leading us to uncover unique and valuable insights.

Raw background research split by different categories

Figure: Raw background research split by different categories

We opted for guerrilla research with customers and employees, as we couldn't offer compensation for their participation. To enhance collaboration, I developed a concise list of activities and discussion points for observing and engaging with users.

Research Guide to facilitate Guerilla research with customers
Research Guide to facilitate experiential research
Research Guide to facilitate Guerilla research with employees

Figure: Research Guide created to facilitate Guerilla research and experiential research

SYNTHESIS

Performing Affinity Diagramming to discover insights

Clustered findings from all sources - secondary, experiential and primary research

Figure: We clustered our findings from all sources - secondary, experiential and primary research

Our research revealed intriguing challenges in finding the perfect-fitting shoes at DSG stores. Collaborating and noting even minute observations, such as the crowd congregating around the shoe aisle, were pivotal in gaining valuable insights.

Customers buy 8 shoe on average per year

21% of DSG’s Sale attributed to footwear in 2021 (as per the annual report)

More than half the customers visit shoe section at DSG

Customers have to try 3+ pairs on average tried before making a decision

3/5 shoppers wear the wrong shoe size

Figure: Key data found on shoe-shopping experience

noun-shoe-size-3819349.png

Size and fit

noun-flat-feet-3819359.png

Cushioning

Style Preferences

noun-shoe-2255869.png

Gait

Figure: Some of the factors people consider before buying a shoe

Icons credit: Olena Panasovska

To offer a comprehensive understanding of DSG's operations and highlight insights from our research, I crafted a service blueprint—an essential artifact for our team.

Service blueprint and customer journey map as a research artifact

Figure: Service blueprint and customer journey map as a research artifact

IDEATION

Rapid Idea Generation

Reverse Assumption Ideation technique

Figure: Reverse Assumption Ideation technique

After understanding the current state, we used different ideation techniques like Reverse Assumptions and Creative Matrix to generate innovative ideas collaboratively.

Creative Matrix ideation technique

Figure: Creative Matrix ideation technique

I applied my ability to create visual concept maps and encouraged my team to do the same, which proved powerful for swiftly conveying and aligning ideas within a limited timeframe.

concept map showcasing potential project directions
concept map showcasing potential project directions
concept map showcasing potential project directions
concept map showcasing potential project directions
concept map showcasing potential project directions

Figure: Five concept maps created by me, showcasing potential project directions.

Consolidated Themes from Diverse Ideas

Figure: Consolidated Themes from Diverse Ideas

After consolidating ideas, we dot-voted and unanimously agreed on personalized shoe services as the direction for innovation within the shoe aisle.

Updated service blueprint
Updated service blueprint

Figure: Updated service blueprint: Meticulously outlining touchpoints for our chosen idea, ensuring a comprehensive customer journey

Right: Digital Form, Left: Raw Whiteboard Collaboration

I created various visual artifacts to enhance the client's understanding. These visuals were invaluable during the presentation, bridging the gap between design and business for a client with strong business acumen but no design background.

Concept Map: Value Flow Diagram

Figure: Value Flow Concept Map depicting how value flows between different components impacted by the new service introduction

Concept Map: Before and After state in customer shopping experience 

Figure: Concept Map: Before and After state in customer shopping experience 

Storyboard illustrating customer pain point and the new service's solution

Figure: Storyboard illustrating customer pain point and the new service's solution

Emotional Journey Concept Map: Customer's Experience During Shoe Shopping

Figure: Emotional Journey Concept Map - Customer's Experience During Shoe Shopping

Acknowledging the impact of our solution on DSG employees, we prioritized their needs as an important archetype/persona, ensuring our solution catered to their requirements too.

PROTOTYPING AND TESTING

Setting up a service setup for genuine user feedback

We developed low-fidelity prototypes and a virtual DSG store, incorporating a DSG poster, a shoe aisle on a monitor, and a makeshift measuring device. These tools provided valuable feedback and helped refine our concept.

Figure: Low-fi version of the user flow

Participants valued personalized greetings and customized recommendations. However, comparing users to actors or sports personalities for an enhanced experience proved inaccurate. Hence, we modified our service based on this feedback.

After the usability session, we finalized our service proposition and its implementation at the store. We then created a poster and promotional video to present this change to our client.

Figure: Room setup for testing

IMPACT

Client's reaction

The client recognized the idea's potential to convert visitors into loyal customers and achieve significant revenue growth with proper implementation. He even suggested gradual expansion of the service to other sections beyond the shoe section.

REFLECTION

Lessons Learned

Figure: Team Photo

This project, part of the "service design" course at CMU, provided deep insights into designing captivating and seamless service experiences. It emphasized that each touchpoint presents a unique opportunity to encourage customer retention.

Working with the interdisciplinary team enriched my personal and professional growth significantly. Guiding the team, I adeptly conveyed design concepts to non-design individuals, fostering a shared vision and ensuring active engagement and support throughout the design process.

Thanks for stopping by!

Feel free to reach out and stay connected with me. I'm always down for a coffee and a chat!

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