Problem: How can you take product learnings from a retail launch to earlier in the development process?
Role: Hardware Prototyper, Videographer, Design Researcher
Responsibilities: Spearheaded the development of a 'smart' retail display to gather quantitative data.
Skills used: Arduino development, videography
Rapid, real world product testing.
In a traditional product development cycle, an idea is prototyped, built, and years later, launched in store. In many cases, the learnings that could have helped a product succeed are gained after its launch.
The Micropilot is a methodology that takes these learnings and brings them to the front of the development process. It tests the most crucial part of the innovation in a real environment to gather insight on real customer behavior.
As an internal project, our team created a fictional line of unisex hand-care products positioned for makers. We hypothesized a maker positioning would appeal equally to both men and women. To test our hypothesis, we "launched" five hand-care products in three retail environments and developed a "smart" display to log real world engagement.
I lead the development of the quantitative “smart” display to measure product engagement. The display logged each pickup and place with a timestamp and product ID, enabling us to calculate length of customer engagement for each individual product.
With the quantitative data from the display and using traditional observational research methods, we learned 52% of the customers who engaged with the products were male and 48% were female. 3/4 of the interactions were with only two of the products, the lotion and the hand salve.
The display was built with an Arduino Uno, an Adafruit SD card logging shield and a combination of IR and Hall Effect sensors. Checkout the code on github