D&AD NEWBLOOD WINNER
Design a product or service to bring John Lewis into the lives of time-short urbanites
How do you connect with an audience who are open to the brand but not enthused by it? What is it about John Lewis that isn’t clicking? Be true to the brand. Identify where there is potential for it to add real value to, and become an integral part of, modern living. Start from scratch or radically evolve something that John Lewis already do by bringing in new channels or taking it in an unexpected direction.
But how "time-short" are time-short urbanites?
To answer this question we conducted a ‘day in the life’ study where we asked participants to complete a research kit over the course of a week that included diaries and photo tasks. We gained a unique perspective into their lives, needs, wants and motivations. We found:
- This audience engages with exhaustive "content noise".
The decisions, habits and rituals our audience exhibited all pointed back to their desire to constantly develop themselves.
Shopping often doesn’t excite, challenge or inspire this audience.
They engage in short, infrequent bursts.
A qualitative research study
Next, we shadowed, observed, and interviewed shoppers in both John Lewis and their favourite stores aiming to better understand what wasn’t clicking and why some purchases left them feeling unfulfilled.
We found that our participants were often confused at John Lewis’s bigger purpose. While they say that ‘we bring quality to life’ this is no longer realised in their vision because the audience perception and expectations of what quality is has shifted. Our audience still trust John lewis but in today’s landscape most retailers are trusted. Ever fluid customer expectations have shifted to a desire for support, expert curation and inspiration.
We wanted to understand what exciting, loved, and meaningful purchases looked like to our audience so we created a online hub where they could share them with us. We asked them to tell us the inner dialogue they used to convince themselves and sketch the item they had purchased. Analysing these stories we found some fascinating behaviours and audience requirements from purchasing that add extra value to the shopping experience.
What we found
Modern life is busy, always evolving and difficult to keep up with. With more brands than ever fighting for our attention some shoppers are turning to a state of avoidance. We found an incredibly driven audience, that use their time wisely, who constantly re-evaluate their identity and, in turn, have new shopping habits, rituals and routines.
So, how might we inspire time savvy urbanites with a shopping experience centred around their always evolving purchase behaviours?
We brainstormed a series of concepts and took the most impactful back to our participants to co-create the value John Lewis could add to their lives. They were most excited with using AI to cut through the noise, John Lewis can leverage their lifestyle, brand and product expertise that they have developed over the last 153 years to bring quality to life.
Together we paper-prototyped concepts, discussed the role of conversational interfaces and coded basic bots for Amazon’s Alexa, roleplaying how AI can add real value to our lives. This generated conversation around AI products and services our participant subscribed to, the general consensus was that chatbots are blandly overused but they’re not just a flash in the pan. The interaction, be it voice or type based is an incredibly exciting and more natural evolution of the internet as we know it. Up to now what has been lacking is an intelligent, useful, and emotional execution that adds value to users’ lives.
Luna, the emotionally intelligent retail experience
Luna is an intelligence engine that uses John Lewis' expertise to provide an inspirational shopping experience helping you escape the 'noise'.
It keeps up with your ever-changing preferences, providing you with relevant products, trends and content. Over time, it understands the intent behind your searches, and calls on your friends, family, and expert opinions from within John Lewis, helping you with your buying decisions.
Powered by IBM Watson, Luna senses personality, tone, and emotion meaning it not only engages in dialogue, but makes judgements before sending you recommendations.
Luna truly embodies the John Lewis value; treating every customer as an individual.
Service design: Hannah Steele and Sean Mcharg