Find More In-Store

Role

Lead (Independent Project)

Client

Old Navy

Gap, Inc.

Problem

Customers often have trouble finding the correct sizes of items they like while shopping at Old Navy, even though the items are in stock.

Year

2018

Solution

A feature on Old Navy's app, with which users can scan product tags in stores to locate where the additional stock may be in real-time. 

This project was completed as part of a summer internship with Gap, Inc. 

Every year, approximately $634,000,000,000 are lost in the retail industry due to "out of stocks" - the belief that a certain product is not available in a store. This issue plagues the retail industry, and gives way to major competitors like Amazon, StitchFix, and Etsy to gain capital in the market. For a company like Gap Inc, this problem is essential to fix. 

 

To begin approaching the problem, I decided to explore how a customer interacts with the company both in-store and online. I explored how a customer's expectations of the brand differed from reality. After observations at the company's flagship store and from quick think-alouds while using the site, I found that although the website and app both meet consumers' expectations well, the store experience did not meet their expectations while shopping and checking out. These issues all centered around how a customer would experience disappointment when an item they liked was not available. 

For my client, one thing was decidedly clear: they could not sell product that was not accessible to their customer

 

Retailers have begun working towards solving this issue since the mid-2000s. One major innovation in this domain has been the incorporation of radio frequency identification (RFID) in price tags. With this technology, associates can use an RFID wand to track an item's location without having to scan a barcode or manually log inventory numbers. Some retailers even use computer vision in their stores to track this information ubiquitously. 

 

Despite the long life of this technology, retailers have yet to open this information to their customers. Access to the location information of any product in a store provides customers with the agency to shop without hurdles that may otherwise prevent a purchase. I analyzed the current problem in a process chart alongside a proposed solution. In this proposed solution, a customer is able to check in real-time where a product is located on the store's app. They simply scan the tag of a product in a different size and are able to see where else in the store that product is located. With that information, a customer can locate the product on their own without having to ask an associate and building towards a sense of disappointment. 

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After conducting research in those three key areas, I created three separate rounds of paper prototypes. These prototypes were business card sized, which would bring to lunch with various employees of the company to quickly test out. From these prototypes, I quickly learned what worked and what did not. After settling on important changes, I began working on a mid-fidelity prototype on Balsamiq. Switching from paper to Balsamiq allowed me to solidify certain aspects and features of the design while fine-tuning others. ​

Additionally at this stage, I created a more rigid structure for user testing, creating a questionnaire that asked users specific questions about their own experiences as well as questions I asked during the user test. Here, I gained more directive and important feedback to help develop a high-fidelity prototype. 

To tentatively bookend my work on this project, I created a high-fidelity prototype of the app addition using Adobe Illustrator and InVision. At this stage, I aggregated all of the feedback to create a prototype.

In turn, the app connects customers with products no matter where it is in-store. Furthermore, it provides customers with the agency to engage with the store however they prefer. Although some customers may still prefer to ask an associate for help, the app allows people to forego having to speak to someone else to help solve the problem themselves. That way, customers are given the agency to shop the way they want, while finding the products they love. 

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If a shopper likes an item but can't find it in their size, they can scan its tag and toggle between sizes to find it elsewhere in the store. A map view unique to each store provides them with a direct path to find the item in a different section of the store. 

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Thanks to the RFID-enabled price tags and the computer vision sensors in the store, shoppers can ask for help getting an item if it's in-stock but off the floor. 

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If the item isn't in stock in their size, shoppers have the option to order it through the app or see similar items that are available in-store in their size.