Social Shopping: Supporting bonding through hybrid retail experiences

2019-02-26T19:25:49Z (GMT) by Xiang Li
For more than a decade now, the rapid adoption and immense success of e-commerce has redefined retail markets. E-commerce, at the same time, fostered a new breed of tech-savvy shoppers, most prominently seen within the millennial generation. They now rely on e-commerce as the primary source for many everyday goods and services due to the convenience it offers. As a side effect, traditional retailers, especially department stores, struggled to effectively offer enough value to incentivize shoppers into visiting. The perceived higher cost of shopping in stores is associated with more and more millennial shoppers, the next generation of power buyers, reserving this activity for special occasions. This thesis explores ways in which traditional departments stores can provide in store experiences that could raise the perceived value of millennial shoppers’ special visits. The goals of this study are twofold: 1. To find novel uses for retail environments that would contribute to the development of customer loyalty; 2. To encourage millennial shoppers to treat visiting physical stores as a bonding ritual performed with their loved ones. Based on the insights gained from my exploratory research, related work, and evaluative research, I propose a holistic shopping experience within a hybrid department store environment. This system combines digital and physical services to support a new form of social shopping: one that fosters bonding between loved ones. The design provides tools and opportunities for better communication within groups of shoppers.