The Fresh Market (TFM) is a credible, gourmet grocery chain with 30 years of history. But lack of innovation and inappropriate brand strategies has resulted in a loss of brand differentiation. Also, TFM being a highly priced gourmet store suffers through brand price perception and this results in inconsistent shopping behavior. This has recently resulted in small basket size and loss of money.
We focussed on enhancing the sample store to help users make better decisions and increase the basket size. At the same time, we introduced a new concept of ‘Talking Produce’ that tells users the value of the fresh produce and convey first-hand information about its speciality.
The Fresh Market (TFM) is a credible, gourmet grocery chain with 30 years of history. Consumer‘s desire to purchase quality natural and organic food products fueled TFM‘s strong growth into a good distribution network of over 130 stores across the country. TFM wants to be considered a gourmet grocery store, and its pricing seems to react the same. Most customers seem to be interested in purchasing only a few specialty items from one of their stores. Bloomberg reported an interesting statistic in 2015, The Fresh Market would be one of the most expensive supermarkets to shop for a holiday feast. Their study specifically highlighted how purchasing 20 general items for a thanksgiving dinner would set a customer back by around $101.8 dollars.
But lack of innovation and inappropriate brand strategies has resulted in a loss of brand differentiation. Also, TFM being a highly priced gourmet store suffers through brand price perception and this results in inconsistent shopping behavior. This has recently resulted in small basket size and loss of money.
I was involved with the team in all secondary and primary research activities. I played a primary role in the ideation and design phases. These phases helped us design solutions for the problems we identified for TFM. I also prototyped the talking produce with arduino and pressure sensors.
TypeGroup ProjectMy RoleService Designer and UX ResearcherTimeline5 months (Jan 2017 - May 2017)Tools UsedService Design Tools, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Arduino, UX Research Methods
What I learned
Service Design Tools
Implement ideas with Business Strategy
Managing Organizational Transformation
Field Research (Ethnographic Observation and Interviews)
Field research gave us first-hand knowledge into customer’s shopping experience at TFM. We performed ethnography, completed multiple customer shop-alongs and conducted interviews with customers at the TFM stores located in Atlanta. The information gathered through these visits was synthesized via affinity mapping. Using affinity mapping, we constructed a comprehensive picture. Key findings include:
High quality items sold at premium prices.
Unmanned, sample tables for customers to try new products and decide if the item was worth the premium price. Samples were available for fruits, meat, crackers & cheese, and cakes. This allowed customers to make an informed decision before buying these premium goods.
No apparent budget-based decision process. All the customers either came to the store with pre-determined list of items to buy, or explore the store.
Observing the Checkout Process
Observing Shopping behavior
Exit Interviews and Shop Alongs
Having created an initial, overall impression of TFM as a brand, we wanted the inside story from the customer‘s perspective. We introduced ourselves to customers as Georgia Tech students doing research for a project on grocery shopping and conducted the interviews and shop-alongs on verbal consent. The main takeaways include:
TFM is more focused towards selling speciality products; Some customers visit TFM multiple times a week just to buy these products.
Customers really like TFM’s ambience and in-store setup of the items. Ambient lighting, less crowd and soothing music makes them feel comfortable due to which they are likely to spend more time at the store.
The products in TFM cannot meet people’s needs of everyday shopping; people default to stores like walmart, publix and krogers for everyday shopping items.
Customers found the staff at the specialist sections and the checkout area very friendly. However, they were not very knowledgeable about the store.
Shopalong with a Customer
Setup of Speciality Products
The legos served as a great tool to understand and consolidate our thoughts while thinking about how services work. We could do role play and identify potential challenges in the store layout, customer touchpoints, journey and refine our ideas before implementation.
Ideation: 3D Model
After consolidating the store layout and services we wish to offer in the store, I created a 3d model of TFM with respective sections. This served as one of the deliverable that we presented and submitted to the clients.
Model- Talking Produce
Model- Sample Table with Projection Mapping
Solution: Talking Produce
"Let the produce tell their story"
2-3 display fruits are placed in front of their respective produce tables. When customers touch these displays and apply pressure, the speaker is activated and an audio recording telling the story of the fruits from the farm would play (1st person narrative). This gives the impression that the fruits themselves are talking and telling their back story to customers. It‘s a fun way of engaging customers as they select produce without being overwhelming for customers who identify with Gary‘s persona (tech adverse)
Solution: One Empty Plate of Possibilities
"Sampling countless everyday possibilities"
The sample counter would be located in the center of the store. It would contain a curated selection of products that TFM wants to promote, as well as labels showing where these products are located within the store. An empty plate is in the middle of the table. When customers pick up samples (of meals made from the products on the counter), the projector would be activated. A 3D projection of the preparation process of the sample picked up would be activated. Customers can view that projection while consuming samples. The empty plate represents a typical plate at home and all the possibilities (projected on it) and change their perception of the value of the product -there are not just one bue countless ways to use a specialty product.