BROOKLYN CRAFT EXPO
Design in Everyday Life, Small Instances. Big Changes. An exploration
00 Problem Statement
Over a summer I helped out a friend with a pop-up exhibition in Brooklyn.
I noticed that most people did not spend much time at our stall. Most people at the expo weren't there to buy something specific. They were simply there to browse. With everything arranged haphazardly, they found it frustrating to actually look for stuff and moved on.
Customers were finding it frustrating to look through our rack. The experience needed to be made more seamless so that they could be immediately finding clothes that would match their style.
Big Question: Who was at the expo?
I came up with three categories of people based on my observations and after talking to multiple people around the expo about why they were attending
They typically have an appreciation for crafts.
They don't mind spending and may even pick up multiple items.
They spend a lot of time in the booth and will ask you about the work and the techniques used.
They have come to shop.
They don't particularly differentiate between fresh and sale items. Just whatever "fits in the budget"
They spend some time browsing and engaging with the stuff in every booth that interests them.
They are just on an outing over the weekend. Thought it would be nice to "check the expo out"
They aren't particularly looking to buy anything.. They might buy something if it's on sale.
They don't spend much time in the booths.
REARRANGE BY COLOR
My first idea was to rearrange the collection by color. The bright contrasts would definitely catch people's eye, especially that of our Shoppers and Sunday Strollers, but I still had to point out where everything was and they would quickly loose interest while browsing the rack due to frustration. That defeated the purpose.
caught people’s attention more often (especially the strollers)
difficult to differentiate between product styles and therefore loss of interest
REARRANGE BY ITEM TYPE
Then I tried to arrange things by item. Separating all the pants from the shirts and jumpsuits and arranging them on the basis of a uniform color scheme. This however was a drawback for those looking to buy items on sale. Most people would form a mental opinion of the price range of the entire rack by looking at the first item and therefore didn't find the pieces that were relatively discounted unless told. Again, defeated the purpose.
easy to browse and locate item of choice
- difficult to differentiate sale items from fresh collection, - - creating confusion about price range of products - may deter the purposeful shoppers and strollers
03 Final Solution
ARRANGE BY ITEM/PRICE ALONG COLOR
Finally, I arranged things by item/set. First I separated the sale items from the new collection and put a scarf to clearly demarcate the two halves. Then I organized each half according to style while also following a color pattern,
- Sale items easy to distinguish from fresh collection.
- easy to locate item of choice/interest
- The rack wasn't as eye catching as when arranged by just color.
After implemented the new arrangement, at the expo, I saw a noticeable increase in customer traffic. By the end of the first day we managed to break even with the price of participation and by the end of the two days had made nearly 1200 dollars!
This project helped me truly understand how important the user it to any service! Understanding how the user thinks and what motivates them to behave is crucial to understanding the direction design should take. Arranging by item/price may have helped in here but maybe in a bigger, more well known store it would be more beneficial to arrange by size. I noticed this first hand when I helped handle a sale for a prominent designer in India. During sale hours the whole shop would become a big mess and everyone including the shop-keepers would end up frustrated. The best way to deal with this was to arrange by size and simply point the customer in the direct of their rack. Even now when you browse a large clothing website, the first thing that people filter in the sale section is their size.
It’s not the how you’re arranging things, but the who you are doing it for that matters more.
05 How does this map to E-Retail?
The lessons learnt from this experience can be easily mapped onto the world of Web/Mobile design for E-Retail sites. One of the biggest reasons why online shopping has become so popular is because it is much easier for the customer to find exactly what they are looking for with the click of a few ‘filter’ buttons!
An item’s relative position also makes a difference! In a study, when the $100 toaster was placed next to $40 toasters, no one bought it, but when it was placed next to $800 toasters, demand went up!