The future of fashion retail

In a bid to define the future of retail and secure a competitive advantage, Tesco, the multinational retail brand, asked us to help bring their F&F fashion brand to the forefront of the consumer’s minds.

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We delivered on this by engaging with Tesco in a comprehensive digital innovation programme that included research and validation of strategies to boost brand perception and increase sales across multiple channels.

A key part of Tesco's innovation programme was the smart interactive changing room experience. It was developed ​​to improve the fitting and trial experience, and to explore new customer experience opportunities and to encourage more footfall for the F&F fashion brand. Through in-depth market and audience insights, we helped Tesco to validate a business case for the concept pilot and with planning for a sustainable nationwide launch.

This process of collaborating with Tesco on insight-led retail innovation included an array of strategy and design approaches.

These included:

  • Service safari to observe customer behaviour and to establish the state of the current digital innovation landscape.

  • Insight-led research to validate the smart changing room concept and help position it as a vital part of a seamless omni-channel retail experience.

  • Nationwide customer and staff interviews to provide in-depth analysis into the current Tesco F&F customer journey experience, and support to assess customer’s and staff's technology adoption readiness in relation to the smart changing room concept.

  • The development of customer and staff personas to support the creation of future journey scenarios and new service concepts.

  • Facilitation of ideation workshops to help define and prioritise opportunities as part of Tesco’s comprehensive innovation programme.

  • A business case for investment for both pilot and nationwide launch of the new fitting and trial room experience.

  • A visualisation of the integrated retail experience. Here, we worked with an external partner (Four IV) to create 3D store visualisations that demonstrated digital touchpoints for future in store developments.

Tangible scenarios to demonstrate future customer and business value

To illustrate findings and strategies, we created scenario stories that presented what seamless digital touchpoint engagement could look like in practice. And also what benefits they would bring to customers, staff and the business.

Our research showed that Tesco had plenty of opportunity in the market to lead with its smart changing room experience as part of their connected digital strategy.

We also found that the innovations would improve customers’ perceptions of the service experience by offering increased support, reduced complexity and a responsive, personalised service. Customers would be empowered to self-serve, making it easier for them to create outfits, discover style tips, share with peers and purchase the complete range in-store (rather than having to go to shop online separately).

For Tesco, there would be real business benefits, including fewer abandoned purchases, improved cross-selling, upselling, better brand perception and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The concept proved to have tangible staff and operational benefits too. We found that the smart changing rooms coupled with additional planned store innovations could improve customer relationships, boost staff time and productivity in the F&F department and streamline day-to-day tasks.

Mapping the retail future

Looking to the future, we also created a roadmap for Tesco’s digital innovations and business dependencies and defined the Minimal Viable Product experience so that Tesco could get the concept to market fast, and use the MVP as an effective springboard into the future of retail.

Overall, the programme validated Tesco’s vision for the F&F fashion brand, but it also uncovered some additional valuable innovations that the company could implement, adding further value to the end-to-end connected and smart retail experience.