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UX Sears meets SHC's new CEO

. PeteW

Last Friday, the update to our chairman, Edward S. Lampert, included an introduction to the new CEO, Lou D’Ambrosio, and an opportunity to introduce him to some of the new work UX Sears is engaged in.

Among the projects reviewed by Mr. D’Ambrosio was the new UX framework and concept design for Profile. Our lead UXA, Eldridge Doubleday, presented and had a chance to answer questions and from Mr. D’Ambrosio.

The experience was memorable in two ways. First, Mr. D’Ambrosio liked the direction of Profile and its foundational strategy as visualized by the Profile UX framework. It’s always great to get buy-in from leadership. However, it’s the second reason for why this was a memorable experience that stands out: Mr. D’Ambrosio understands and is passionate about products that are driven by behavioral research and data.

Mr. D’Ambrosio inquired about how this concept was created and about how we knew whether the design will work with customers. Eldridge addressed taxonomy and card sorting studies done to create the structure of the new design. He also explained rapid iterative usability studies drove design concepts and shaped the interaction by engaging customers early in the design process.

Mr. Mr. D’Ambrosio responded with much positive regard for usability and customer research that can impact design decisions early. He told stories about his technology roots and use of customer research and usability as being vital tools to make decisions with.

Why is this significant? It’s significant because it was a shift in the dialogue between OBU and SHC leadership. That is, with customer behavior at the center of the conversation, the nature of the opportunities we engage in can be seen in a new light: people centered relationships instead of product centered relationships.

SHC has always been focused on the customer. However, there are many ways to be “customer focused.” An organization can be customer focused by marketing to the customer, making sure there are many quality products and services available to choose from at a price that’s competitive and delivered in fast and convenient ways. Getting the right products to the right customer at the right time in the right way. This is, in many ways, the story of retail.

An organization can also be customer focused by understanding the customer as a person first and foremost--that their life as a customer is part of a larger journey and their life, including their shopping, is shaped by contextual and situational needs that affect behavior (what people do), emotions (what people feel), and how they share their experience with others. Being customer focused, then, means the relationship starts with the customer, and takes shape over time as the customer’s journey isn’t linear, but rather a series of cycles, driven by situational moments experienced over time. Helping people get to the products and services they need that fit the situations they have in the places and spaces they spend time with. This is the story of the future of retail. What does this mean for future dialogue and UX? A few possibilities: • it calls upon role of UX to affect design beyond features and functionality • thinking beyond features means understanding customer behavior • understanding customer behavior requires spending time with customers • designing with the customer is as important as designing for the customer

At the end of the day, the potential value UX generates by designing with customers and engaging in customer research before, during, and after design is exponentially higher for the customer and for the business: • It’s a direct path to focus resources on what matters most to customers (lifting C-SAT, customer engagement, conversion, trust, and the like). • It’s the surest path to finding opportunities for innovation that would otherwise be invisible to us.

To me, what this brief conversation with our new CEO signals is nothing short of the best new opportunity to realize the potential for UX and design led innovation since I’ve been with Sears Holdings.

Welcome to 2011—the year we change the relationship with our customers.

1 Comments:

At 1/16/2014 07:16:00 PM, Blogger The Geeks said...

hi..Im college student, thanks for sharing :)

 

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