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UX Conversations with Daniel Larsson

23 Mar

– It takes a long time before we get a second chance from an unhappy customer, so UX is incredibly important for us, says Daniel Larsson, Head of Digital Development at Coop Sverige, one of Scandinavia’s largest retailers. This is the fifteenth in a series of interviews with UX experts, practitioners and leaders.

How important is UX design within Coop?

– Within our digital development, UX is incredibly important. We try to ensure that everything we develop comes with great usability and a high level of user experience. If we fail to do so, users won’t use it, and they might choose our competitor instead. It also takes a long time before we get a second chance from an unhappy customer, so UX is incredibly important for us.

“Within our digital development, UX is incredibly important.” - @dannelarsson

Could you share a brief overview of your UX process? What methods do you use within the field of user research?

– UX is an important component during all phases of a project, but perhaps it’s most active during concept development and in the design phase. During the concept phase, we practice a service design approach, where we use customer insights as the starting point of all our activities. This could also be seen as part of the UX process. The process is all about creating insights based on interviews and prototype testing to know that we’re building the right products and services.

– During the design phase, we rely heavily on interviews with users and user testing. We want to create prototypes quickly, and then we iterate tests on the prototypes to get it right. The tests may consist of clicks tests or regular user testing. Throughout this process, we work closely with the department that deals with customer insights. We also have a Member Panel that we work with to gain as much insights as possible.

“During the design phase, we rely heavily on interviews with users and user testing.” -@dannelarsson

Many recent changes in the grocery industry seem to occur at the interface between the physical and digital domains. For example, one of your competitors in Sweden has recently gotten rid of its plastic membership cards and is instead linking customer loyalty programs to credit card numbers. That means one less card in your wallet, which many customers perceive to be better user experience. Have you considered this as well? What are the pros and cons?

– We have carefully considered the customer cards, and we have chosen to keep them. Our customers visit our retail chain frequently. Unlike other loyalty cards, which one might use once a month, Coop’s membership card is often used several times a week, if not every day. Therefore, we want it to be an important link to our members; the card itself should remind them of the cooperative idea – that they are part of and actually own Coop.

Another sweeping change in food stores in Sweden is that today, most use self-service checkouts. I remember how I looked skeptically at the new cash desks when they came, but now I use them almost every time. What UX lessons have you learned since you started using them, and how have you used these insights to enhance the experience of self-service?

– Self-checkout has to be incredibly simple and self-explanatory; that’s why UX becomes extremely important when developing it. We diligently executed the development, followed up on the implementation and listened to all the different opinions from customers and staff.

What would you say are the major challenges, in terms of user experience, that the industry will face over the next 5-10 years?

– From a digital perspective, we will have completely new types of interfaces. Not only will we have the traditional desktop screens or smartphones, but the interfaces will continue to move out to other devices, such as watches, eyeglasses, TV screens and robots. We’re moving towards even more 3D, resulting in new and different demands on those of us working with UX.

By /Christian Dahlström