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How M&S and Shop Direct meet digital customers' expectations

Customers’ expectations are changing, and retailers at the Drapers Digital Festival described how they are adapting. 

Retailers explained how they are meeting changing customer expectations. 

Experiment and learn

Dave Howell, product manager for Mobile Pay & Go at Marks & Spencer, explained how mobile payment is transforming the experience at six of its London stores. 

He said 40% of transactions at city centre stores often occur between 12.30pm and 1pm, and his team trialled mobile payment without integrating the system into M&S’s core technology infrastructure to speed up the process. 

The project took eight weeks to deliver and a lunch meal deal transaction can be completed in under 40 seconds, Howell said. It is now operational in six stores in London, and a product is purchased using Mobile Pay & Go every three seconds. 

Howell said being able to experiment and learn is important: “Quick testing done cheaply enables you to gain momentum and get important customer insight.”

Research customers

Shop Direct UX research manager Kate Rylance said the business uses a wide range of research to understand its consumers. This includes observational research in Shop Direct’s UX lab to observe behaviour, and participatory design where consumers are asked to create something, rather than just being asked what they want.

Shop Direct also uses remote studies and surveys to customers to answer in their own homes, and keeps in touch with customer panels on WhatsApp on a regular basis. This provides the research team with video clips they can share internally.

“We design for user needs,” Rylance added. “Plus, it’s important to research the cases where things go wrong as well as right, so those things don’t go live.”



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