Human Centred Design. Say What?!

Every man and his dog seems to be talking about human centred design at the moment, but what we want to know is what it actually means for retailers.  

It all comes down to the customer -the human- being placed at, you guessed it, the centre. This means making every decision with the customer in mind, at all levels of your business. While thinking about the customer is by no means a new concept, the customer is always changing and so retailers need to keep up with this change to make sure that their needs are met. Customers are now able to directly engage with and interact with brands more than ever before through social media, which means that retailers can take advantage of this engagement to find out more about their customer.

The crux of it stays the same when it comes to thinking about the consumer- what do they need, why do they need it, and when do they need it. But when it comes to human centred design, it’s about going that one step further to find out this information. It’s about getting first-hand data, and lots of it. This means stepping away from the desk to ask questions, consistent observing, and consistent engagement- what frustrates your customers? What excites them? What could you do to make a process easier for them?

It’s also about giving data a ‘human’ quality- seeing numbers as people rather than just as numbers. Human centred design works hand in hand with improvement. By aiming to improve the lives of your customers, this empathy and attention to care has the potential to see real results, where customers feel valued and are therefore more inclined to keep shopping with your brand.

One of the main ways that human centred design can be used effectively is through experience mapping. By breaking down the experience of customers, retailers can address each part of the process that relate to the customer, and the opportunities for improvement become much easier to see. From this mapping, retailers can essentially do the thinking for the customer by placing themselves in their mindset, which can ultimately lead to giving the customer something they want or need before having to ask for it. Not bad, hey?

Human centred design has no boundaries- it goes where the customer goes. Who knows where it will go next? We’ll keep an eye on it for you and discuss some retailers who are using it well later down the track. 

Till’ next time,

Disrupt Retail