by Payal Gupta
In mid- September 2019, we headed off to sunny San Francisco to validate our Levi’s Pocket Stylist app with both customers and store stylists to get firsthand feedback and help validate the product & efforts put thus far on the project.
How did this all start?
Levi’s was looking for ways to better connect with their in-store customers and create an enhanced experience for them. The SAP CX Strategic Customer Innovation team came in with a Design Thinking Workshop. This led to a Co-Innovation Project with our partner Netconomy, followed by a Rapid Prototype and finally creating the POC – The Levi’s Pocket Stylist. The app allows customers to share their online profiles and shopping history with one of the store stylists, who based on that can make better recommendations. It allows users to identify a pair of jeans and receive product information by taking a picture of the Levi’s brown patch. It also offers a smart fitting room feature whereby a customer can request additional sizes/styles when in the fitting room directly to the store stylist.
It was now time to evaluate the features and the usability of the app with real Levi’s customers and stylists in their flagship store in San Francisco. We scheduled 2 half-day sessions of interviews starting with the store stylists. We broke into 2 teams: one interviewer and notetaker per group and conducted the interviews in the back room of the store. The key to a successful validation was to ensure the participant was comfortable and to highlight that: “There are no right or wrong answers, We are testing the app, not you. Every insight is helpful”. Once they seemed at ease, we handed over the phone with the Levi’s Pocket Stylist app and asked them to please tell us “what they see, what they think they can do at each step and what they would do next”. It was important as the interviewer to keep quiet and try not to over-explain how it works (which is harder than it sounds). The true learnings would come from the participants actions, comments and questions – which the notetaker furiously tried to capture throughout the interviews.
We had a varying range of participants. Some were very open providing their observations and feedback every step of the way. And others needed more time, more probing and follow-up questions to get them to open up and share their thoughts. In total, we conducted 5 interviews spanning approximately 20 mins each. After the stylist interviews were complete, we wrapped up the first day and re-grouped at the hotel where we entered all of our findings and observations into our SAP Qualtrics system.
After a successful first day of interviews, the team was excited for the second day dedicated to customers. Little did we know how challenging this would end up being. Unlike the store stylists, which had been lined up for us, we had to directly approach shoppers to participate. On a rainy Wednesday morning, this was a daunting task! Most shoppers were either tourists or were in a rush and could not spare 10 minutes for an interview – even when we dangled a Levi’s gift card in front of them. After striking out for the first hour and beginning to feel discouraged, things finally started to pick up when we got our first customer. We conducted the session on mini stools in the fitting room, which the store manager had blocked off for us.
Another difference with the customer interviews was that we had to provide a lot more context and recreate the scenario in which they would most likely be using the app. We really let the customers experience the app and talk through it, while we observed how they either correctly or incorrectly used it. Some of our most valuable learnings actually came from how the customers expected it to work. Once we got our first 2 customers, luck was on our side with the rest flowing through, completing a total of 7 customer interviews. Due to the high volume of tourists in the area, and our international team on the ground, we even conducted a few sessions in German and French which gave us a well-rounded customer base.
At the end of the two days the team felt pretty good, having accomplished what we had set out to do. We learned a lot, gathered valuable insights and maybe had a little bit of fun too! We were after all in beautiful San Francisco, flying in from different parts of the world to bring what started out as a simple idea to life!