Our dynamic advertising has changed

Last month, we introduced you to our F&F Forecaster project. We’ve learnt lots since installing the screens at our Hammersmith Metro store and we’ve made some updates.

You can read our first instalment about this project here. The purpose of the very big, very bright screens was to tell a story to those who passed by:

“You know, you can purchase clothes online from F&F and collect them in store the next day.”

We decided it would be fun to achieve this by displaying a weather forecast for the following day, and presenting relevant clothing choices.

F&F Forecaster v1

Next we asked you, the public, what you thought. You told us you liked seeing the weather forecast. We get that – it’s useful, and we’re not asking you to buy anything. However our story, as described above, proved difficult to understand in the environment. Outside our Hammersmith Metro store is certainly a very busy place, but not many of you spend much time there as you’re usually on your way to or from the tube station nearby.

So in the spirit of iterative design, we changed it. We removed our Click & Collect message completely, and refocussed on the link between the weather forecast and clothing purchases.

F&F Forecaster v2

Our revised designs see the weather forecast visual duplicated on the first and third screens. We also redesigned it to make it even simpler to digest. Specifically, it includes a summary (e.g. “It’s going to be cloudy”), the felt temperature and the chance of rain. Each of these facets of the forecast appear sequentially, one at a time.

The clothing carousel visual remains on the middle screen, but we have also added a visual cue to look down toward the interaction points, as you suggested that they weren’t prominent enough:

ff_v2

Having made these changes, we spent the day in Hammersmith speaking to you again, and we learned some more, valuable lessons.

Our trial in Hammersmith has drawn to a close. We appreciate all of the feedback you’ve provided in Hammersmith, on Twitter and indeed on this blog. We’ll learn from all of our findings to make an even better proposition for you next time!

Blue sky thinking (with a % chance of rain)

We’ve been working with our F&F clothing team on a dynamic advertising concept.

These days, customers can order their F&F clothing online and collect it from their local Tesco store the next day. This service that many customers love is available in over 900 stores, but not everyone knows about it. That’s why Tesco Labs recently teamed up with F&F to find new, creative ways to spread the word.

The latest concept we’ve been experimenting with is the ‘F&F Forecaster’: a new approach to digital signage, where we dynamically display clothing options from F&F based on weather forecasts.

The F&F Forecaster at Hammersmith Tesco Metro

The design process for this product has been really interesting and a testament to the power of starting user testing at a very early stage.

In iteration 1, we ambitiously tried to communicate all of our core messages on one digital display. However, we soon found that the display was looking too busy and unclear as a result. So we settled on splitting the messaging across 3 screens as follows:

Screen 1: Tomorrow’s weather forecast (powered by http://forecast.io/).

Screen 1: Tomorrow's Forecast

Screen 2: F&F clothing recommended for the forecast.

Screen 2: Recommended F&F Clothing

Screen 3: Click & Collect countdown – customers who order before the timer runs out can collect their items from store the next day.

Screen 3: Click & Collect Countdown

Communicating the messaging across multiple screens made the concept easier to understand. An alternative approach would have been to cut down the number of messages we were communicating. But as we were keen to learn which messages really resonated with customers, we decided to start broad with a view to later focusing in on the most compelling elements.

The findings from customer testing also drove the designs of each of these screens individually. For example, our original intent was to display a fairly comprehensive weather forecast on screen 1. However, our insight showed that this was too much information to digest quickly and that the weather facets that customers really cared about for clothing decisions were ‘temperature’ and ‘% chance of rain’.  We therefore simplified the design to make these points more prominent.

Screen 1: Early Iteration

Screen 2: Current Iteration

In addition to raising awareness, we wanted to give customers an easy way to order the clothing advertised on their mobile and try out the store’s Click & Collect service. We facilitated this by including a URL, QR code, and NFC tag below the screens, so customers can interact in the best way for them. It will be interesting to see the uptake of this shopping journey in an outdoor environment and which interaction method proves most popular.

NFC Interaction

3 Ways to Interact with Mobile

The ‘F&F Forecaster’ is now live in Hammersmith Tesco Metro (just outside Hammersmith underground) and we’re continuing to gather valuable insights which will shape further iterations of the design. This will help us ensure this product is as engaging and useful as possible to our customers.

We’ll let you know how we get on, but in the meantime if you have any thoughts on this project then we’d love to hear from you…

Peer-ing into the future

Understanding what peer-to-peer economies mean for retail.

So… here we are… welcome to my first Labs blog.

I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss my first project in the lab. A small team of us have just completed an intensive 5-week product discovery sprint, during which we focused on the theme of peer-to-peer economies.

As themes go, they don’t come much more interesting than peer to peer. I use this term fairly loosely, to refer to communities in which individuals interact with one another for mutual benefit, thus decreasing their reliance on large corporations. Such systems come with many benefits to those involved.

One benefit is that they give people the opportunity to earn money by participating in a community. For example, TaskRabbit allows users to outsource a wide variety of household chores and skilled tasks to people in their local community, who in turn earn an hourly fee for their services. Similarly, Uber connects users who need a ride with nearby drivers, who can earn fares from this.

Another major advantage is the responsiveness of these systems, due to both their scale and the fact that service providers are often geographically spread out across the community – an advantage over many more centralised services. Uber claims to have tens of thousands of drivers signed up worldwide, meaning that in its main cities users can usually find a nearby driver pretty quickly. Furthermore, Instacart, which connects people with personal shoppers in their community, claims that its fastest delivery was just 12 minutes!

It would also seem that there is something intrinsically rewarding about supporting an individual, who may not have the backing of a large corporation. The success of crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter support this notion, as there is often no financial incentive for making donations to support projects. It just feels good!

So… what does all of this mean for us at Tesco? Could we and should we be getting involved to help create and support such communities?

These are just a couple of the questions we’ve been looking into. We’ve come out of our discovery sprint with some concepts that we could trial, to see the impact of empowering local communities to connect with each other to solve everyday problems. But that’s probably for a whole other blog post…