"The Market @ Macy’s" is a program that provides pods to selective D2C brands and companies on Macy’s space to market or sell their products. We had the opportunity to meet with the marketing team at Macy's and show what we can offer them with our insights on million+ online retailers.
I analyzed our database along with data scientists to identify data that matters for Macy's to help them with their "The Market @ Macy’s" program. While brainstorming, we realized that the concept can be pivoted to address retail space owners. On speaking with some of the retail space owners, I understood that empty spaces are expensive and bad for business. I performed a exploratory research using contextual inquiry to find needs, frustrations, and pain points during client search phase. We were inspired by the Market @ Macy’s concept and realized that pop-up stores can be a solution to retail space owner's problem.
“the strategy of opening a temporary store appears to be working, as 80% of global retail companies that have opened a pop-up store said it was successful” - Business Insider (2019).
Pop-Up stores are becoming more than just trends. They are turning out to be the go-to strategy for brands to establish their presence. They are also less expensive.
Location Strategy map makes research faster by providing data such as a DTC brand's physical and pop-up presence. PipeCandy algorithm predicts the interest level of a brand to open up a pop-store at a particular location. Users will also be able to see insights such as financials, traffic, tech stack, social media engagement by having a premium access to PipeCandy's market intelligence platform.
Since I did not have the ability to interview and understand what people at Macy's want, I decided to a exploratory research with real estate owners, who were a similar persona. I conducted a contextual inquiry with 4 real estate agents to identify frustrations and pain-points in finding the right client for the retail spaces. I also got to know about the categories in which the brands are weighed to judge their prospectiveness. After a brainstorming session, we believed the needs of the retail space owners strongly fit Macy's use case.
The implications drawn from the user research were matched with the available data points. I also saw a business opportunity to bring focus to our flagship market intelligence platform.
The information architecture is structured into 3 levels.
Retail Locations: To find different brands by location.
Brands: Identify a brand's presence in across the country.
The second level contains different locations and brands to choose from.
The third level shows information such as Pop-ups, physical stores, brand location, interest score.
Map shows all the pop-up and physical stores of D2C brands at a location.
Map shows a brand's pop-up and physical store presence.
PipeCandy's algorithm predicts brands' interest level to expand to a location out of 100. The interest level scored helps predict the location where a brand is likely to expand. This helps in saving time spent on researching about the brand on web and social media. Higher interest score means there is a more chance for opening a store in that location. This will help users approach brands with high confidence.
One of the main business objectives of this web application is to plug and highlight our flagship product. We wanted to hook users with experience and cross-sell our other applications. Restricting data offerings is one way to make users try our flagship product. I conducted observation study with retail space owners as participants and identified data that will be the minimum requirement to carry out a basic research on a brand. Additional data like a brand's financials, social media engagement can be accessed by upgrading the pricing plan to get a premium access to PipeCandy's market intelligence platform.
Working on this project taught me adaptability. I learned that business goals can be achieved without compensating user experience or functionality. Since we had a hard deadline, I allocated most of my time to user research and brainstorming. I gathered mood boards for layouts and quickly explored designs using Hi-Fi prototypes to make a decision. I learnt not to be married to the design process, and being flexible depending on the project's severity is much more important.