the project in brief
A number of buyers of women's underwear choose to purchase online because of their dissatisfaction with the in-store shopping experience. This issue is exacerbated in the case of 'non-traditional' shoppers who do not find retailers like VS inclusive enough. This is a problem because fit, comfort and feel are important factors in the purchase decision process and can be best determined when shopping in-store.
A whole spectrum of buyers of women's underwear exists beyond cis- women and males buying for their female significant others. These 'non-traditional' groups comprise single dads, cross dressing males, trans women, males with breasts(gynecomastia), etc.
We envision an extension to the Victoria's Secret mobile app, that allows the user to customize their shopping experience in-store and tackle various pain-points we identified during our research process. These include discomfort in interactions with sales associates, trouble finding the right fit and visualizing styles.
Team: Ruturaj Eksambekar, Karthika Jayaprakash, Charlotte Lou, Danielle Schechter
For the most part my team divided up responsibilities equally, my role included creating, reviewing and revising questions for the survey, analysis of survey results, conducting interviews and user evaluations, performing cognitive walk throughs, as well as qualitative data analysis. I created various concept sketches, one of 4 shortlisted wireframes and the interactions for the final prototype.
Fitting Room Assistance
Fit Measurement Scheduling
Product Review Customization
An in-store shopping assistant that provides a more inclusive and comfortable shopping experience at lingerie retailer VS.
UX Design, User Research
MARKET ANALYSIS & OBSERVATION
Victoria's Secret alone holds over 2/3rds of the market share of the women's underwear business most of which comes from in-store sales.
VS's popularity is starting to decline. Boutique online retailers like Thirdlove, Naja, AdoreMe, Thinx and Lively are making inroads by catering to very specific needs and aspirations of their customers, and, by offering easy shipping and return policies.
Aerie, a relatively new entrant, with a focus on inclusivity has grown rapidly. Aerie's advertisements and website proudly feature non-photoshopped images of diverse women spanning all shapes and sizes which seems to have resonated well with shoppers.
There is strong pushback against VS's strategy of selling sex appeal, glamour and expensive lingerie and its use of supermodels for branding and visuals.
Our project goal - to create a digital solution that would mitigate the discomfort of in-store women’s underwear shopping and create a more inclusive experience for traditional and non-traditional customers alike at Victoria's Secret.
We began the next phase of research by deploying an online survey. We chose this method as it enabled us, to reach and recruit our 'non-traditional' buyers segment for our research, as well as, to quickly verify our findings and hypotheses from our initial explorations. We posted the survey on Reddit subreddits, Facebook and Slack Channels and received over 113 valid responses of which 52 were cis female and 61 were non-traditional buyers of women's underwear.
We conducted an affinity mapping exercise to analyze the qualitative data from the CI's and the interviews. Themes emerged, one centered on dis-satisfaction with sales associates, a second, had to do with sizing- across the board respondents felt that they were not able to get the right fit, thirdly, respondents felt that visualizing product and finding styles and sizes in-store was not easy.
Most customers reported dis-satisfaction in their interactions with SA's. Some felt that they were being 'judged' others disliked SA's initiating contact and unsolicited offers of help.
Four personas were created to represent to us the needs of our users during the design process, these were Carl the cis-male buying for his cis-female partner, Michelle the cis-female, Nicole a transgender female and James a crossdressing male.
Parsing through the results of the survey, the affinity mapping exercise and using our personas as a guide we came up with the following needs to be satisfied by our design
USER NEEDS ANALYSIS
Users need to be in control of their interactions with SA's.
They need an inclusive yet private experience when being measured for fit.
They need information that can enable them to make informed purchase decisions.
Users need assistance to visualize products on themselves.
Users need assistance to easily find product in-store.
BRAINSTORMING & SKETCHED CONCEPTS
As a prelude to the brainstorming exercise, we took turns in roleplaying the journey of our four personas as they shopped at Victoria's Secret to help us empathize with their needs better. After, brainstorming we shortlisted the concepts that we found most promising and created concept sketches.
Features : 1. 3D mapping of body to determine fit accurately 2. View-on-me - browse products and view selections on your image. 3. Try on- call SA/robot to bring selections to changing room 4. 360 Deg view- front, side and back views displayed simultaneously on mirror 5. Review selections and make purchase/ online order etc. from dressing room.
Best features were ranked with stars and 4 ideas were explored in more detail. I designed a smart mirror option that would provide a completely, private shopping experience inside a 'smart' dressing room.