In a ever constant changing industry as it is Retail, where experience means everything, is crucial to innovate and identify (even before the user realizes) the needs and activities necessaries to make out their purchase journey a memorable experience.
In this episode you’ll learn about how the User Experience Strategy has an impact on your company’s digital transformation.
Head of User Experience at 7-Eleven USA
Ben has worked on different projects in digital design, user experience and related fields of the area for about 15 years. Prior working for 7-Eleven he worked for different industries such as: consulting, medical spaces and airline/travel. He joined 7-Eleven in 2018, and within a span of less than a year the team has grown from a one man team, to a 23 UX designers and researchers. In his own words: “It’s been a lot of fun to bring a new capability into an established business.”
Challenges Within Digital Transformation
Ben: It can be divided into two levels, the personal level and the company level.
- Personal level: What exactly is it going to do to me as an individual in my job and the way I have been conducting my business.
- Company level: Helping all the different departments: marketing, finance, operations, merchandise, etc. understand what does it means for each one of them.
The main challenge is for everyone to understand what means a Digital Transformation. Communicate effectively to everyone involved in such a large organization, what it means and what part they have to play, helping them feel comfortable with the change that transformation brings.
UX Strategy Definition
Ben: There are two definitions I really like,
The essence of strategy according to Michael Porter is deciding what not to do.
Is a very clarifying definition, in a business where there’s never a shortage of ideas such as 7-Eleven, we conduct this definition by listing all the ideas and prioritize them. Then we decide which ones we are not able to do (at that moment), and which ones we can act on. What I like about this definition is that you have to say no to yourself, or at least about some things.
His definition is all about establishing goals and then making paths to achieve those goals. This way the panorama is more clear and the efforts have a purpose.
When you bring UX to this, it can become very complicated. The framework we´ve been experimenting and working with at 7-Eleven, is to think about how do we decide what to do and what not to do. Once established that point, we declare goals and paths for UX in three different arenas:
- Product Design
Is what most people think about when you talk about UX Strategy. So how do you set really good goals and achieve the design of your product to make a great user experience? But I think this concept is to limiting, there’s a lot more in UX Strategy than just Product Design.
It has an internal and external component to it. Is very closely related to service design practice. How do we effectively manage a team of UX practitioners? Beyond looking at your product, What things are you gonna do and not do? What paths are you gonna define to deliver great service experiences?
What principles and values you have at an individual level as a designer or at an organizational level. What are the values you have that are the foundation of all the decisions you will make. “What things are we gonna do just for making the world a better place through UX?”
At the end is a collaborative thing, you have to work with people of different skill sets and strategize to create and deliver those experiences.
The Advantages of Having an UX Strategy as a Whole In a Company
According to Ben there are three main advantages,
Making sure everybody is on the same page about the things we are gonna spend our time, efforts, energy and attention.
The paths and the specific actions we are going to take to achieve those goals, the resources we are going to need, who do we need to partner with to make it happen, the obstacles, the metrics: how are we gonna measure success, who are the people responsible to make it happen.
A lot of times in business we mistake frenetic activity with progress. Frenetic activity is not necessary forward progress, it’s just people running around and doing things. But when we do things in a coordinated fashion, there is where the real benefit of the UX Strategy appears.
The Advantage of Retail: A Constant Evolving Industry
Ben: Digital transformation is the main focus at 7-Eleven right now. The concept that is underneath all of this digital transformation and the experiences it enables, is convenience.Convenience is the foundation of what 7-Eleven is. If we go back to our beginnings in 1920, when the company history really began, it was all about “what does convenience means to the customer”. So, what does it mean today? what do customers want? We always have to stay on our toes, because what is convenience today is gonna be completely different in ten years from now.
Here is where UX practitioners can contribute significantly: in research, and in building empathy for customers. We are the ones that should be out there in the front lines engaging with customers. Asking the right questions, making the right kinds of observations and generate those insights that say “this is what convenience feels like and looks like to customers today”. That is the starting point of the goals that will set our strategies.
Is a very exciting time to be on retail and design. We can create and deliver experiences and get them into market very, very rapidly. Test with customers, see how things go and then refinee those experiences; and we certainly are having lots of fun with that.
Words of Wisdom
Ben: As UX people is our stoking trade: humanize the organizations we work with. It’s important to remember is not just about metrics, hitting goals, dollars and revenue. It’s really about making the world a better place for everyone, in our case we try to make the world a more convenient place (whatever that is for your organization). Stay focused on the human being at the end of that chain of activities that you are doing and try to bring those moments, those emotions forward into the organization. Whatever your strategy says, whatever those goals and paths are; if we can as UX practitioners bring the feeling and emotions back into the office where those decisions are made, I think thats the greatest impact we can have.
Above all don’t forget there are human beings involved.