Emulate & augment the ‘direct product experience’

The Direct Product Experience is the full sensory interaction that shoppers have with products and the environment. Pervasive applications should be on-call to facilitate a robust sensory experience to allow self-guided exploration of the elements of the product that the shopper needs to make a confident purchase.

1 Map the physical to the virtual

Previous knowledge of the physical properties of a product makes the act of finding and choosing that product easier and faster. A consistent visual representation (mapping) between physical and virtual products can reduce the amount of thought and effort it takes to shop. This visual representation should consider the particular product name, description, size and form. Keep a close eye out for changes to the products you stock. Any discrepancies between what shoppers see on their screens and what they see on the shelf will potentially slow them down, confuse them, frustrate them, and erode their trust in the application. The devil is in the details.

2 Natural interactions lead to confident purchase decisions.

Allow the shopper to naturally interact with and manipulate the virtual representation of the product. People use multiple senses when interacting with a product and they explore it at multiple levels of focus. The more difficult the decision, the more deeply they explore the information available. If we limit how shoppers can interact with our virtual representations of products, we will likely inhibit their ability to make confident decisions. In fact, traditional eCommerce research shows that retailers who utilize robust virtual interaction techniques tend to reduce the number of returned purchases.

3 Inclusion (accessibility) First!.

Ask yourself what information you need to confidently buy bread. Consider that it needs to be gluten-free but you’ve never bought gluten-free bread before. Now consider that you are in a wheelchair and can’t reach the loaves you’d like to compare. What does each loaf feel like? Are they dense or light and fluffy? Are they made by Procter & Gamble or by a local bakery? How can your design help in this situation?

If we design for inclusion, we can help everyone make more informed decisions.

11 references informed this principle

[36] COOPER, D, User and design perspectives of mobile augmented reality, 2011.

[82] Kourouthanassis, Panos E.; Giaglis, George M. & Vrechopoulos, Adam P., Enhancing user experience through pervasive information systems: The case of pervasive retailing, International Journal of Information Management, Vol. 27, No. 5, 319-335, October 2007.

[104] Malaka, Rainer & Porzel, Robert, Design Principles for Embodied Interaction: The Case of Ubiquitous Computing , KI 2009: Advances in Artificial Intelligence, 2009.

[129] Pantano, Eleonora & Laria, Giuseppe, Innovation in Retail Process: From Consumers' Experience to Immersive Store Design, Journal of technology management and innovation, Vol. 7, No. 3, 194-206, 2012.

[209] When More is Less: Designing for Attention in Mobile Context-Aware Computing – Exploring a Context-Aware Shopping Trolley, D. Black, N.J. Clemmensen, Aalborg University, 2006.

[220] A Critical Approach to the Experiential Design of On-line Grocery Stores, S. Fiore, 2002.

[221] Consumers and Pervasive Retail, P. Kourouthanasis, G. Roussos, ELTRUN-Athens University of Economics and Business, 2000.

[222] Building Trust in Pervasive Retail, G. Roussos, November 2004.

[223] The Role of Virtual Experience in Consumer Learning, H. Li, T. Daugherty, F. Biocca, 2001 – rev. 2002.

[224] Best Practice Guide: Product Pages, Econsultancy, 2010.

[225] Grocery Shopping Tips for Adults with Special Needs, S. Dominica (Occupational Therapist), DailyLivingSkills.com, viewed Dec. 2012.

© 2014 - Jonathan Morgan | @promorock | LinkedIn