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TOOLS FOR WOMEN OT REVISITED HOME DEP NO

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Tools for Women: Home Depot Revisited A Process Book Staples, Savannah Printed in the U.S.A. Fall Š 2010 All rights reserved Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA DESIGN: Sarah Tolzmann PROJECT PARTNERS: Neiha Arora, Ben Ebersold, Robyn Richardson, Sarah Tolzmann ILLUSTRATIONS: Neiha Arora, Ben Ebersold, Robyn Richardson, Sarah Tolzmann TYPEFACES: Archer, Brandon Grotesque, Chunk Five PHOTOGRAPHY: Neiha Arora, Ben Ebersold, Robyn Richarson, Sarah Tolzmann


Table of Contents Table of Contents 1. INTRODUCTION 3. DESIGN BRIEF 6. PROJECT PLAN & TIMELINE OF EVENTS 9. RESEARCH STATEMENT Interviews Research and diagrams 13. USER TESTING STUDIES AND ANALYSIS 17. SYNTHESIS Value proposition 21. IDEATION Project sketches Final renderings 39. FINAL MODEL 47. INDEX I: Photo research 59. INDEX II: Full survey and questionnaire results 79. INDEX III: Project Partners: Biographies


I N T R O D U CT I O N

Project Overview Assigned with the task of tackling “Tools For Women,� our project is meant to focus on the existing discrepancies between tools and tool use by women. It is not intended to be about the creation of new products, but more so about the social issues and undiscovered or underdeveloped market potential in the tool and home improvement industries. Our group conducted a great deal of ethnographic research on the subject, informing our initial conclusion that the development of a new physical tool would be an insufficient attempt to solve a much larger design problem. Instead, we looked at the bigger picture, noting that the problem does not lie specifically in the design of the tools, but in a centralized link between women and acquiring tools for use: the home improvement retail space and the experience it offers.

1


With careful consideration we looked at potential retail environments

At the same time, Home Depot has not reached every potential market

including Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target

segment. Their advertising touts “You can do it, we can help,” but

and Sears. A franchised network of stores, Ace Hardware offers localized

historically their customer service doesn’t always follow through on

service with a neighborhood feel. Its inventory is limited, however, and

this promise. Though HD employs over 320,000 people nationwide, in

the retail space is cluttered with clothing and home goods irrelevant

recent years the company has sacrificed professional staffers for more

to DIY-related projects. Sears offers a large corporate base, but is not

affordable and largely inexperienced sales associates. Although their

the go-to, one-stop-shop for home improvement we wanted as the

staff undergoes extensive company training in order to assist customers,

cornerstone of our design project. The same is true of Walmart, Bed Bath

the personal connection between the customer and the associate is

and Beyond and Target - all of which market heavily towards women,

diminished by lack of knowledge, empathy or understanding of a

but lacked a breadth of home improvement choices in regards to their

customer’s proposed undertaking.

inventory. Lowe’s was a strong contender but ultimately lacked the size and potential of our final choice. And so, Home Depot became our point

It became obvious that the Home Depot shopping experience needed

of focus.

the consistence and reliability its advertising promised. How could the gap between hardware purchase and essential software knowledge be

Founded in Atlanta in 1978, Home Depot is the largest home

reconciled within the retail space? This design dilemma became our

improvement retailer in the world, and the second-largest company

challenge.

in the U.S.. It does one third more business per year than its nearest competitor, Lowe’s, rounding out an average of 70 billion dollars earned per year since 2000. Beyond its impressive sales numbers, Home Depot has an international network of over 2,400 stores, with an extra-large inventory of over 40,000 in-store products, with an additional 200,000 available to order. Home Depot offers international exposure to customers with localized service touch points. In short, this giant is the most popular and accessible stepping stone between a DIY consumer and home improvement opportunity.

2


P R OJ ECT D EV E LO PM E N T

The Design Brief Increased media focus on “Do-It-Yourself� initiatives has created a realm of great opportunity for retailers. Eager consumers want to acquire the tools and knowledge to implement the projects to which they have been exposed. Yet before building can begin, one must possess the proper tools in addition to the understanding of how to use them. Many novice users gravitate towards an all-in-one kit, which theoretically lays the groundwork for any Do-It-Yourself initiative. But while a consumer can purchase a top of the line tool kit, it in no way guarantees success. A shopper must also be well informed to the physical capacities inherent to the tool use, as well as their proper application. The question becomes: why do so few home improvement retail environments cater to the inherent need for both hardware and software, especially in the case of tools?

3


Phases of the Design Process Phase I - Research

Phase II - Analysis and Concept

Develop questions to drive the research

Review data for trends and patterns

Phase III -Implementation and Deliverables

surrounding consumer behavior.

Begin to sketch and critique prototypes

Conduct ethnographic research including:

Consumer Behavior: Observation, Surveys,

based on ethnographic research

unique) approach to this solution •

Qualitative Interviews, Consumer Reviews •

Research Results and their implications for future consideration

Store Analysis: Current Displays, Customer

Construction of refined prototypes

Service Functioning, Employee Training

Computer renderings of visual models

Modeling: Successful retail businesses for archetypes and creative modeling.

4

Process book outlining our complete (and


If market and research indicates that women shop differently than

S CO P E

men, how can home improvement retailers make the adjustment to

This proposal outlines the initial goals and design plan for enhancing

meet this market? Similar to a HI retailer like Home Depot, stores

the customer service experience, development of concept, product,

such as Sephora and Apple maintain a massive and complex inventory,

prototype, and feasible ad cost models.

but through clean displays, careful store layout, and readily available customer service representatives, they market and sell products

In this project we will:

proficiently. At the same time, their set-up enables the customer to

• Conduct qualitative and quantitative research and studies

understand use and application, despite the complexity of the product.

• Create a design concept that exceeds current home improvement retail environments

To meet the DIY market with open arms, it is essential that large retail

• Build a prototype of the implemented design

home improvement stores reexamine the design of their inhospitable

• Verify through simulation, public exposure, and

and overwhelming aisles and carefully consider the brand value

consumer dialog.

inherently found in an exceptional shopping experience. O B J ECT I V ES O P P O RTU N I TY

The objectives of this project are to design and build a retail space for

Based on the increased interest in DIY and home improvement

tools that is shopable by a consumer base of various skill and knowledge

television shows and publications, there is an opportunity to meet this

levels- from beginner to proficient. Creating a comfortable, familiar, and

enthusiastic, novice market in an appropriately designed retail setting.

educational shopping experience will improve the process for buying

The goal of this project is to provide the consumer with several solutions inside the retail space. First, by offering an effective product at a feasible price point. Second, to present the associate with easy-to-use materials that help guide the customer to an ideal solution, and without deviating greatly from the existing sales-training processes. And third, to create a micro-environment within the existing retail space that

tools on a universal scale. This will be accomplished by considering several key retail attributes • Customer Service Plan & Actual Articulation • Physical Retail Environment • Educational Tools and Opportunities • Product development

emphasizes customer service, customer education, and a marketed lifestyle of personal ability.

5


P R OJ ECT D EV E LO PM E N T

Project Plan Timeline

Our process paralleled between “existing” and “ideal” possibilities on multiple levels. We constantly examined models of successful retail chains and compared them to Home Depot’s system to uncover the disconnect between product purchase and knowledge required for application. Such was the major distinction between DIY purchases and everyday commodities. Tool use must be informed by process specific actions in order to utilize product function. This knowledge

IDEAL

needed to be condensed and included in the retail experience.

Interviews and Surveys

EXISTING

• Facebook survey

6

Brainstorming Task and Tools for Women Context

Tools for Women Existing Market

Ethnography of Retail

Experience Design Framing

• physical tool design

• online product reviews

• photo collection

• context of objects in envir.

• education

• online store reviews

• observation

• tacit knowledge vs. ability

• DIY exposure

• exploration of stores

• shadowing of staff

• universal design

• email questionnaire • phone interview


Experience Design

Development of Customer Ideal Experience

Reframe Idea to Existing Resources

Final Solutions A, B, C, Q.

• establish HD as focus

• What can we work with?

• hammer

• improve upon co. resources

• What doesn’t require new training?

• informed tool kit

• micro retail environment

• What doesn’t incur huge cost to

• associate & customer resources • informed gateway into HD

• COINS Conference • Continuum presentation • “serious play” & customer journey

''MAKE A HAMMER!'' • recontextualize and reframe • consider existing resources • eliminate extraneous costs

7


8


P R OJ ECT D EV E LO PM E N T

Research Statement Research collection focused around tool users between the ages of 21-65 who were considered novice in regards to their specialized tool knowledge. Beginning with a short online survey, collection grew to include thorough written survey-style interviews and personal interviews with experts and sales associates. From these interactions, we gleaned the information necessary to begin building a basis for solution models. As divergent theories emerged, our attention was drawn to the recontextualisation of the concept “tools for women�. Essentially, it was realized that creating a new category of tools was not as important as the experiential knowledge that guides the entire informed process of tool and use. Since the users lacked experience of interacting with the artifacts in the store (which serves as an ultimate base for informed use) it was understood that this knowledge should be somehow packaged and made accessible to the consumer. With this new insight, we realized several solutions as feasible deliverable options.

9


Caroline

Age 25, law student / Albany, NY

Sarah

Age 30, admissions rep / Savannah, GA

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES :

O N EX P OSU R E TO TO O LS :

• Usually only shops for plants or decorative items, but

• When sating with family, mom worked on major projects

accompanies boyfriend when he shops for tools • When she did go alone (Ace Hardware for a surge

at home, but not a tool-using family • Did not start using tools until the age of 30

protector) “I knew exactly what I was looking for.

• She only began using tools when she purchased at home

Everyone working there looked at me like I was lost.

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES :

(‘Hi, sweetie. Can I help you?’) I eventually found what I

• Only really goes with her husband.

needed, but not with their help.”

• Travels a lot, does not have a huge need or want to take on

O N R ETA I L I N G E N E R A L :

home improvement projects

• Typical series of events when she shops: Arrival, browse

• Loves shopping, despises going to Home Depot (loves

items in front of store, zig-zag around aisles, regroup/

“get in and get out” type of shopping environments)

focus, find product, pay, leave • Rank of importance when choosing a product: 1. Price, 2. Quality (with some exceptions) • Rank of importance when browsing for a product: 1. Packaging, 2. Store graphics and signage, 3. employee assistance • Has left without purchasing because of store environment “I get frustrated when things are cluttered and dirty.” • Often leaves store with products she had not originally intended to buy because of good service

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• Wants product packaging that clearly states what the tool is used for, doesn’t feel Home Depot supplies this • Buying tools is an investment of time and money. Now that she owns a home, she can’t afford to waste money.


Melissa

Age 25, UVa staff / Charlottesville, VA

Terri

Age 38, admissions rep / Savannah, GA

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES :

O N EX P OSU R E TO TO O LS :

• Only shops at a hardware/home improvement stores

• Self-described tomboy, grew up with 4 brothers

when she needs a specific item, or has a task in mind • When she does go, it’s usually for flowers, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, or to have keys cut • Purchases seasonal items like rakes, garbage bags

• Really started using tools when she bought a home • Owns: electric screwdriver, yard tools, chain saw • Considers herself an independent woman; likes to take on home improvement jobs “to correct a misconception.”

O N R ETA I L I N G E N E R A L :

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES :

• Typical series of events when she shops: Arrival; get

• To empower women: have a section that is explicitly

a shopping cart; go straight to an aisle if the store

female-friendly, and only have the most basic but quality/

is familiar; if not, ask a store employee “instead of

essential tools in that section

wandering around looking”; pick out items, compare products if necessary; head to check-out (self check-out is preferred) • When choosing a product, relies on a store employee to get the product and help decide between similar choices using product information and knowledge • Says customer service is hugely important: “I don’t like to wander around a huge store looking for something they may not even carry. I like to get in and out as quickly as possible, especially if it’s a store like Home Depot where I

• When she goes to a store, she researches what she needs and what she doesn’t have beforehand • Thinks there are too many options in Home Depot, and just wants someone to point her to a basic, quality tool that is guaranteed to work • Thinks Home Depot’s customer service is bad; it’s hard to find help, especially on weekends; wants appointments • Is more inclined to buy tools that look cool, and feel good in the hand • Idealy should be able to test tools before purchase

don’t usually shop.”

11


Marie

Age 50, handywoman / Danvers, MA

Lisa

Age 39, HD hot dog vender / Savannah

ON THE JOB:

O N EX P OSU R E TO TO O LS :

• Educates women on how to use power tools and take on

• Used tools as a kid, her father was a carpenter

DIY projects around their homes • Decided on this profession by asking herself: what would you do if you could do anything? • Grew up using tools with her father, and noted disadvantages of being taught by a man • Helps women realize their abilities to get things done • Considers daily household chores (laundry, dish washing, etc.) to be impermanent - same thing day after day • DIY/home improvement projects are permanent - the results are evident, substantial • Her clients find value in doing things themselves

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES : • Recommends her clients go to local hardware stores

• Began to use power tools when she was 18 • Her first job was interior trims • Just recently remodeled her mother’s whole house • Though she is divorced, says that has not had an impact on her tool use; she had always done more than her husband did, which was intimidating for him

O N H OM E I M P R OV E M E N T STO R ES : • Thinks Home Depot is organized and easy to get into • Likes Home Depot because she knows about tools already • Thinks they could use more signage for novice shoppers • Testing the tools before buying would be a big advantaged; tools are a big financial investment • “Do it yourself. If you don’t know it, learn it.”

for the smaller selection, personalized attention, low intimidation-factor, tool testing and staff testimonials • “10 years ago Home Depot hired peope who worked in the field, but that’s not true anymore.” • The lack of employee knowledge at big box stores frustrates her and her clients

12

Please Note: Full questionnaire and survey responses available in Index II on page 59.


SETTING

EXISTING

Various places and situations where the service experience occurs, both physical and virtual (stores, website, kiosks)

AGENTS All the people that touch the service experience, directly or indirectly (employees, customers, CEO)

PROCESS The operational systems, flow of activities and overall choreography that influence the experience (queues, reservations, employee training)

• Large variety of choices

• Not informative, vague

• Employees lack knowledge

• Unreliable, intimidating

• Not much info for comparison

• Minimal locations

• lack of service presence

• Packaging and brand trumps

• Over-stocked displays

• Speaks to a professional

• Knowledge doesn’t match

• Large space to navigate

• Lacks info on various uses

• Warehouse setting/feeling

• Poor presentation of needed

• Overwhelming

• Informed and consolidated

IDEAL

PROPS Tools that help the employees deliver and the customers interact with the experience, including any mediating technology (shopping bags, signage, touchscreens)

choices

parts/accessories

• More comprehensive • Easier visibility, quantity

store experience • Perceived professional opinion lacks brand loyalty

• Staff comprised of experienced professionals

employees • Lack of experience professionals • Impersonal buying

• Reliable experience • Better brand training for quality and traits

• More comparison and contrast

• Include different uses

• Easier to find in store

• Better visual storage - reduce

• Notification of accessories

• Consistent and reliable advice

• Specialized training for advice

• Allow for test drive

• Consistent and reliable

• More intuitive and less

ginormous aisles

• Justification of product prices

experience

overwhelming

Our initial collective of the customer’s home improvement store journey/experience and potential “ideal” solutions

13


SETTING Various places and situations where the service experience occurs, both physical and virtual (stores, website, kiosks)

NEW IDEAL

• Micro environment within a Home Depot • Front of store by entrance,

PROPS Tools that help the employees deliver and the customers interact with the experience, including any mediating technology (shopping bags, signage, touchscreens)

• Best sellers and seasonal necessities in display • store map

• Expert - front of store and within aisles at checkpoints • Contracted local handymen

PROCESS The operational systems, flow of activities and overall choreography that influence the experience (queues, reservations, employee training)

• Enter/view/consider • Ask questions • Gather info/define problem

coordinating checkpoints

• personalized check lists

associated with and certified

• Formulate solution

within aisles

• internet kiosks (company

by store

• Direct steps for purchase and implementation or use

• Vintage feel (aesthetic)

website) with search engine for

• Drop ceiling

product information and user

• follow-up

• Potential for mobility

reviews

• (continuation)

Our second approach at an ideal experience design for Home Depot’s retail space and customer journey.

14

AGENTS All the people that touch the service experience, directly or indirectly (employees, customers, CEO)


Sample visualization of our survey.

2% 29. Do you use tools outside your house?

2% 29. 0% 25.

How often do you use handtools ?

14.6%

4.2%

Do you use tools (Power or Hand) at your job?

1% 27.

4.2%

18.8 %

Do you use tools around the house – for projects and repairing?

.4% 60

7%

66.

52.2%

8%

68.

never

frequently

occasionally

15


Existing Experience • inconsistency • lack of empathy

• television

• lots of hardware, little software

• magainze

CU

• blogs

STOMER

• overload and lack of focus • lack of reliable knowledge

• advertisements • colleagues

Exposure

Area of Opportunity Reconciliation of tools and know-how

CU

STOMER

Necessity

Task

Need • product

Retail

• interviews • observation • data collection

• knowledge

• statistical analysis

• repair • renovation • project

Proposed Experience • remove uncertainty of trial and error CU

STOMER

• a guarantee - get it right the first time • saving time and frustration

Final synthesis of research and past “ideal” experience designs.

16


ike our com Unl pe ti

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CONSUMER novice tool user with an interest in home improvement

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17


SY N T H ES I S

The Value Proposition For the novice tool user needing reliable expertise, our concept delivers experiential professional knowledge regarding products in a larger retail setting. We accomplish this by providing delivering a well informed product that relies on essential solutions for a range of DIY needs. Unlike our competition, who overwhelms with choice, our product offers a quality solution for everyday needs.

18


“The cheapest price or whatever I can steal from my dad.”

better mapping

customized check-lists

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Tools for

Women

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exp o

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display/graphics/ signage

seasonal/top selling tool displays

in-store tool testing

contractor squad specialized kit of recommended tools

en vir on

tool kitting service

“DIY home improvement projects are permanent - the results are substantial. This is why women find value in doing things around their homes for themselves.”

employee check-points

q w, lo

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iPhone App

“What do I need and what do I have?”

information kiosk(s)

“I get frustrated when things are cluttered or dirty.” “Except for in a privately owned franchise store (Ace, True Value) I generally discount what store personnel have to say.”

“I want to see how they feel in my hands.”

“Buying tools is an investment of time and money. I can only invest in specific and quality tools.”

“My ideal retail store has fun products that you get to handle. They are small, so there aren’t too may choices, and the staff are knowledgeable.”

A. Hammer B. Informed Kit C. Associate Q. Informed Gateway into Home Depot

“I need more indepth knowledge and advice before purchase.”

“Clean signs to direct me and competitive pricing”

“I will ask friends or someone with more experience than myself.”

“I tend to ask customer service immediately instead of wandering around looking.”

“I research online or call my dad”

19


I D EAT I O N

Charts and Sketches 21


22


23


24


25


26


27


28


29


30


31


V I SUA L I Z AT I O N

Final Renderings 33


These final renderings feature our “Q� solution; the informed gateway or kiosk, near the entrace to Home Depot.

34


This would act as a main touchpoint for customers who are unfamiliar with the store, or who need some quick advice.

35


From here, a customer would orient themselves in the store: grab a store map, get a custom check-list made for them by an associate, or ask an associate to help them pick out the essential tool kit necessary for their project.

36


The space features a dropped ceiling, and rounded mobile wall. The kiosk itself could have wheels on it, enabling mobility.

37


The informed gateway kisok acts as a homebase for customer service activities, and sets the tone for a shopping experience in Home Depot.

38


V I SUA L I Z AT I O N

Final Models 39


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LOGOUT

H TH O E EP M O E T D

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TH E

M O E T

Member Database

HELP Welcome, Associate Handyman Dave You have

3 appointments today. (See all)

NOVICE

JANE M. DOE 9AM

TH

OM E PO T E

HOME STORE: Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

DE

H

ASSOCIATE: Handyman Dave PAST PROJECTS: furniture refinish, turf installation, light

member

fixture replacement, interior painting

INTERESTS: home decor, minor home renovations

HOTHE DE ME PO T

READ MORE...

er memb

JANE M. DOE member since 2010

JAKE P. HAMMER

NOVICE

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AT&T

8:47pm

OME THE H

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DEPO

THURS

member

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Sched

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ment

oint an App


TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

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MY CHEC KLIST

hammer - 16oz

plywood nails safety glasses

NOTES

clear area before hammering. Contact us if you need anything. -Dave MAIN ENTRANCE

44

EAST SAVA NNA H 1901 E. Victory Drive Savannah, GA (912) 352-3562


45


I N D EX I

Photo Research 47


Existing “Tools For Women” on the market today.

48


Ace Hardware, Wilmington Island/Savannah, GA

49


Ace Hardware, Wilmington Island/Savannah, GA

50


Ace Hardware, Wilmington Island/Savannah, GA

51


Ace Hardware, Wilmington Island/Savannah, GA

52


Home Depot, Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

53


Home Depot, Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

54


Home Depot, Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

55


Target, Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

56


Target, Victory Drive, Savannah, GA

57


I N D EX I I

Full Survey Results 59


Name: Brenna Elliott Age: 26 Male/Female: F City/State of residence: Stow, OH Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific: 1. Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) When there are minor home improvements to be done or when I’m gardening.

7. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why? A mix of employee recommendation and product information. 8. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) Store location is top priority. Unless it’s a great store, if it’s not convenient, I’m probably not going to shop there. Store layout is #2. If the store is confusing and not reasonable intuitive to get around, then it will annoy me

2. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

and I will be less inclined to shop there. Customer Service is nice espe-

home improvement stores? If so, please describe:

cially when you’re having trouble looking for something specific. Brands

I’ve purchased a range of products in the past year from electrical tape to a new hose, but nothing consist. General Questions: 5. Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.) I specifically park near whatever door is most convenient to my shopping (ie. near the gardening center if I’m buying dirt/plants/gardening supplies) Go in, get my bearings, then proceed to whatever product I am there to purchase. On my way out I meander a little to see if anything catches my eye, but if not I head straight for checkout and back to the car. 6. When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) Price, amount of product for the price, ingredients, materials, it depends on

60

what I’m buying, but these are the general steps.

comes in last, but only because many stores carry the same or very similar brands. However, if I can’t find specifically what brand I’m looking for and there isn’t something equal to it, then I’ll be less inclined to shop at that store again. Especially if there is a more convenient store with a better layout and friendlier people nearby. 9. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety) SUPER TARGET! I love being able to get everything I need in one place and the quality of everything is better than Walmart. Plus, cute clothes for extremely reasonable prices. 10. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened? Yes, if I can’t find the main product that I went in to buy and I’ve picked up a few items while looking for it, so long as I haven’t filled my cart with necessities I will likely put the couple miscellaneous items back and buy nothing.


11. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened? Sometimes it’s a great sale on things that I’d need to buy anyway. Sometimes I find everything I need and while meandering I see something else I could use or just want to have. Shopping can depend on my mood. If I’m in a bad mood I will likely have a bad shopping experience at an otherwise good store.

Annual flowers, weed killer, bug spray, deer repellent, General Questions: 5. Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.) Park as close to the door as possible. Get a cart if they have one. Figure out what part of the store has the item I came in for. Find the right shelf and looking for that product. If I am looking for a certain brand I don’t usually look at any other brand. If I’m buying something new I will look at the op-

Name: Carrie

tions. I read the packaging and check the prices, make my choice and head

Age: 50

to the register.

Male/Female: F City/State of residence: Charlottesville, VA Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific: 1. Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. When I need things that make my house look better or function better.

6. When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) I read the packaging if I’m not sure what will work best. I check the price and then decide what best matches what I’m shopping for. 7. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why?

2. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

Packaging and product information. Employees are usually hard to find

home improvement stores? If so, please describe:

and frequently don’t know their products.

Paint, tools, plants (including a Christmas tree), lamps, and cleaning prod-

8. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The

ucts.

brands? The store location? The store layout?)

3. (Homeowners) Do you have seasonal home improvement chores/goals

My favorite stores have easy access from the parking lot, a stable sales staff

you wish to take on? If so, please describe:

(so I know I can talk to someone I trust while shopping), good prices, good

Add flowers to the flower beds before winter. 4. Are there tools or home improvement items that you need to purchase or replace seasonally? If so, please describe:

inventory, good lighting and a quiet environment. 9. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety) Signet Gallery. It’s small, quiet, the owner is usually present, the inventory

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is always changing, and frequently there is a dog there to greet me. 9. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

replace seasonally? If so, please describe:

abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened?

Plant pots, stakes, and potting soil

Recently I left a store because I couldn’t find a salesperson to help me.

General Questions:

10. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

4. Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a

made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened?

store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.)

Yes, the sales person convinced me that I could bring back anything I

Arrive, Scan aisle signs for product, Look at product in aisle, If don’t know

changed my mind about. Good salesmanship!

how to select, find an employee and ask, Check out

The best thing to happen to grocery shopping here in a long time is the

5. When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a

half-sized carts at Kroger. Sometimes you need just a few things, but too

product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?)

many to carry in your arms. Who wants to push around a giant cart with a 6 items all over the store? Also, I love self check-out. I wish I could do it at Target. Name: Cate Age: 30

I ask an employee 6. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why?

Male/Female: F

Employees, because I don’t know enough about hardware to find the right

City/State of residence: Seattle, WA

product for each job’s requirements, materials, etc.

Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific:

7. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The

1. Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) Simple, 1-step job needs to be done around the house: hanging pictures, weather-proofing. 2. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/ home improvement stores? If so, please describe: Disposable hardware goods: nails, screws, hooks.

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3. Are there tools or home improvement items that you need to purchase or

brands? The store location? The store layout?) Location, hours, customer service. 8. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety) My independent spice retailer: They have fun products that you get to handle and smell, they are very small so there aren’t too many choices, and the staff are knowledgeable. 9. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened?


Couldn’t find an employee to complete the purchase, or too many stimuli in

a. Arrive! b. Start browsing around where I think something might be. c. If

the store, so that it was overwhelming.

totally clueless or wandering proves unfruitful, ask an employee for direc-

10. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened? Hunger can make me vulnerable to prominently-placed chocolate displays. Beautiful displays of local fruit by the registers at my grocery store will get me even when I’m not hungry.

Name: Joanna Age: 24 Male/Female: Female City/State of residence: Charlottesville, VA

tional assistance. d. Find item in question, note variety/options/prices. e. Choose 1-2 options, do closer comparison. f. Select and pull from shelf, do quick re-glance to make sure something better didn’t escape notice. g. Pay and leave. 6. When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) I look at all those things, it depends on what the item is. If I recognize a brand, I would probably gravitate towards at least selecting it as a preliminary choice. I tend to pull the most expensive item and examine the packaging for exactly what features it boasts. I then compare with cheaper brands to see if I’m getting more stuff for the price or if the off brands

Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific:

seem comparable. If something has really ridiculous or cheap packaging, it

1. Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home

on price differences, this may totally go out the window.

improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath

makes me wary that the product is also poorly made. However, depending

& Beyond, etc.)

7. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store

I’d go to one of these stores if I needed multiple items for a really specific

Why?

project or if what I needed to get was very specialized.

graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information?

I’d say I would generally rely on packaging first. Despite the fact it was

2. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

designed by people trying to sell something to me, comparing details from

home improvement stores? If so, please describe:

packaging makes me feel (perhaps wrongly) like I’m control. If it was a big

Nope! I’d only go to a hardware store with something specific in mind. I

investment I’d be more likely to seek the advice of an employee.

suppose I would stick to small things (nails, glue, etc. as opposed to giant

8. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The

appliance or lumber).

brands? The store location? The store layout?)

General Questions:

I appreciate a clean, well-organized store with a wide variety of brands. I

5. Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.)

like to see an employee presence but without intrusive hassling. 9. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety)

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Can I say Target? Target is delightful. Even though stores aren’t always

already there for another reason), organizational items, and have keys cut.

laid out identically, the floor plan and product arrangement always seems

In Bed, Bath, & Beyond, I purchase cooking utensils and items.

logical. They have a reasonably wide variety of brands for many products and I like having the option of the cheap Target generic brand. It’s also great because I can go to buy boring cleaning supplies and “accidentally” buy lip gloss and slippers (this is a true story). 10. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened? I know I’ve done this. Usually it has to do with egregious employee behavior, but I feel like I’ve also left places that were incredibly dirty. 11. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened? This happens to me so often I’m not sure any explanation would be indicative. If something is on a special, separate display I will probably be at least drawn to it, especially if it looks new and exciting. Name: Melissa Berry Age: 25 Male/Female: Female City/State of residence: Charlottesville, VA

wish to take on? If so, please describe: Yes, I wish to eradicate the stink bugs from my home. Permanently. Are there tools or home improvement items that you need to purchase or replace seasonally? If so, please describe: Flowers! General Questions: Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.) I arrive and get a shopping cart only if I know that I will be purchasing bulky items or a large amount of items otherwise I go without a cart. If I know what aisle to head towards, I go straight there. If I don’t, I ask a customer service representative immediately instead of wandering around looking. I pick out my items, comparing products if necessary. Then I head to check out. I prefer to have a live human check me out, but if there is no one available or the line is extremely long, I will do self check

Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific:

out.

Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home

Take my items out to the car.

improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.)? I typically only shop at a hardware or home improvement store if I am in need of a specific item. I don’t ever go just to browse and look around. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/ home improvement stores? If so, please describe: In Lowe’s, I purchase flowers, gardening supplies, light bulbs, cleaning supplies (only if I am

64

(Homeowners) Do you have seasonal home improvement chores/goals you

When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) I choose based on a variety of factors including price, brand, environmental impact, and design. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why?


I am depend on a store employee to get me to the product and then the

Name: David Tolzmann

product information to decide between products.

Age: 56

What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) Customer service is #1. I really don’t like to wander around a huge store

Male/Female: M City/State of residence: Riverside CT Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific:

looking for something that they may or may not even carry. I like to get in

Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home

and out as quickly as possible and good customer service is the quickest

improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath

way to that. Store location is important but not too much because I don’t

& Beyond, etc.) I shop these types of stores when I need a specific item or

have many options here. The brands that a store carries would be more

I am trying to solve a particular problem. I’m not a shopper/browser.

important if I have more choices (i.e. Lowes, Ace, and Home Depot). I only have Lowe’s so that is where I go. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety) My favorite retail store for home improvement is Lowe’s. Otherwise, give me an Ann Taylor, Nordstrom, or J.Crew. :) Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened? Yes, if I can’t find the help that I need within a few minutes of entering the store, I will leave. Also, if other patrons are interrupting my shopping experience, then I will leave and may or may not come back later. For instance, once while trying on clothes in a J.Crew, the girl in the dressing room next to me was crying hysterically, screaming, and fighting with her boyfriend on the phone. I left because I couldn’t focus on what I was doing, and I wasn’t enjoying the experience. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened? More often than I care to admit. Artful display can easily lead to unintended purchases.

Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/ home improvement stores? If so, please describe: Home building, repair, maintenance items. (Homeowners) Do you have seasonal home improvement chores/goals you wish to take on? If so, please describe: Spring cleanup, Fall leaf removal, painting on a multi-year cycle. Are there tools or home improvement items that you need to purchase or replace seasonally? If so, please describe: No - just repair items when needed. These are not routine or predictable. General Questions: Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.) a. drive to store which is most likely to have item(s) on my list and is nearby another store on my itinerary. b. get cart/trolley as needed. c. find item(s). d. checkout, often using self-checkout. When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?)

65


I research knowledge of brands, fair prices prior to shopping if possible

Name: Caroline Nelson

(internet, etc.). Except for a privately owned franchise store (Ace, True

Age: 25

Value) I generally discount what store personnel have to say. I read labels,

Male/Female: Female

compare brands, and make a decision. Note: I do not waste a lot of time on

City/State of residence: Residence is Albany, NY and domicile is Pough-

these decisions - I generally want to get going and start the repair, etc.

keepsie, NY

When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graph-

Hardware and Home Improvement Store Specific:

ics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why? See answer to #6 which covers this. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) Familiarity with store layout, location relative to other stores on my route. Brands to a lesser extent. Customer service - what’s that?!? What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety)

improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) I frequent stores like Home Depot, Lowes & Ace Hardware far less often than Bed Bath and Beyond. For Home Depot and Lowes, I like to shop for plants, not hardware. Sometimes I go looking for pretty lamp shades. The last time I was at Ace Hardware, I was looking for an industrial power strip and extension cord so I could plug in my air conditioner. I knew exactly what I was looking for. Everyone working at the store looked at me like I

Costco - no BS, simple premise: buy what we have in stock, in quantity

was lost. (Hi sweetie, can I help you?) It was probably because I was wear-

& save money. If you’re not going to use that much merchandise, buy it

ing a floral print, a-line dress. At any rate, a woman in law school simply

elsewhere.

must have her air conditioning. I eventually got what I needed, but not with

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened? Oh, yes! If I’m buying a few items easily purchased at multiple stores and the customer service is terrible - long lines at checkout, rude, etc. - I will simply abandon my cart and go on to the next store on my agenda. Wasting my time is not acceptable, and I tell others about my experiences when appropriate. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened? Rarely - I generally shop from a list.

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Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home

their help. Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/ home improvement stores? If so, please describe: See above, but I wouldn’t say there is a typical product. A specific type might be “housewares” – less bathroom hardware, more home. General Questions: Can you describe (in steps) the process you go through when going to a store to shop for a product? (Beginning with… 1. Arrival, etc.) Arrival. Browsing items shown in the front. Zig-zagging around the aisles. Getting to business. Follow the aisles methodically. Pay. Leave.


When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a prod-

Anonymous

uct? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) Price first (I’m a student), but then quality may overpower price. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and employees or packaging and product information? Why? Packaging and product information, because I’d hardly depend on a product simply because it has the Bed, Bath and Beyond logo on it. It will fall apart. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) Layout is so important. I get so lost. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any variety) Stores with clothing and home-wares. (i.e. Marshalls or a TJ Maxx and more). I can shop around for clothes, and then peruse the back for things I probably don’t need. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened?

Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) If there’s a project in my home that needs to be addressed I have shopped at both a home improvement center like HD or Lowes or a product center like BB&Beyond. If there’s something that needs to be fixed or spruced up - that would drive me to one of the above stores. Examples: fixing clothes hanging rod in closet - HD for brace, screws and shim need organizers for closet - BB&B for hangers, suspension bags Do you usually have a task to complete when you decide to go to a store? Or do you use the store to get ideas? If I’m going to Home Depot - I have a task in mind to complete. With BB&B - I may want to get ideas, or I have a general idea but need the

Yes. I have left many stores because I simply cannot navigate the space,

specific product to make the idea work. Alternatively - BB&B could give

or when the place seems too cluttered. I get frustrated if things are very

me an idea for something I could make on my own - which is when I

disorderly or look dirty.

would go to HD.

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have made a purchase without originally intending to? If so, what happened?

Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

This happens more often than #10. I can’t think of specifics, exactly, but it

home improvement stores?

happens mostly in Marshalls or TJ Maxx. (see above) Paint (and painting tools), specific hardware (handles, faucet replacement parts, hinges), small to medium project supplies.

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(Homeowners) Do you have seasonal home improvement chores/goals

(ie: I trust my local hardware store, don’t trust KMart., I trust the people

you wish to take on? If so, please describe:

a The Container Store for their advice and judgement, I trust Target less). My trust is placed in the people who deal with the products on a

Are there tools or home improvement items that you need to purchase or

daily basis because they are the ones who handle folks who have had

replace seasonally?

good and bad experiences with the product, so I get the benefit of all

Seasonal tools: No - the tools I have were built to last (most given to me by my father). And while we’re on the topic - all tools should be built to

What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The

last - they are investments, not unlike heirlooms in some ways.

brands? The store location? The store layout?)

Seasonal improvement items: Weatherizing the windows - every winter

Customer Service and layout are more important to me than brand

I apply the kit with the plastic to my windows to cut down on heat loss.

or location. I would drive father to go to a ‘better store’ than the place

Sometimes do it in the summer too.

around the corner that carries many brands but isn’t organized and

When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) I always look at price first - as a start point for comparison, then consider

doesn’t have anyone on staff. The ‘good store’ inspires confidence in a product simply by having a desirable environment. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any genre)

brand and how the product will fit my life and intended use (giving

The Container Store. Hands down, love it. As soon as you walk in - you

priority on the latter if I do not know either brand). The deciding factor

understand how vast the variety is but it isn’t overwhelming because

is how well I think it will fit my specific purpose (and budget).

it is so well organized and there are many friendly employees visible

When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and store customer service or packaging and product information? Why? If I’m not sure of my choice based on my own previous experience I don’t hesitate to ask customer service - but only when I trust the retailer

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that cumulative experience when they give me their insight.

from the main entrance - it instills a sense of confidence that you are in the right place with the right people to answer you every organizing question. Then, once I get into the store I can look at 10 different types of spice storage or photo storage and not be confused because there are samples for me to handle, the prices are clearly marked and the variety is strong. So I feel like I’m really going to find exactly the right thing.


Not to mention - the store is well lit, clean, high ceilings make it feel like

Anonymous

a warehouse that you can get lost in. In the good way. So many things to explore.

Hardware/Home Improvement Store Specific:

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or

abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened?

home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.)

Absolutely. KMart used to be the only store within 40 miles of my childhood home. I cannot tell you how many times my family would go into the store looking for something and then leave because we decided we could do without because they didn’t have it in stock or the customer service was so terrible (slow, absent, rude). I have also abandoned a purchase when the lines are too long at a retailer and I could use the item that I have picked out, but my time is worth

Whenever I move between residencies Whenever I feel like redecorating I used to browse in Bed Bath & Beyond because it was next to some other stores I shopped at (I usually ended up buying something I needed too) To buy a Christmas tree/lights

more than the value I’d get out of the item. Do you usually have a task to complete when you decide to go to a store? Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

Or do you use the store to get ideas?

made a purchase without intending to? If so, what happened? When I go to a home improvement store, I always go with a task in mind. Apple Itunes. So easy. I may just want to check the sound of a song or

The only time I’d go to browse was in BB&B, and that’s because it was

band, and then click click click. Bought.

near other stores I shopped at.

Or Crate and Barrel - they are such an inviting and delightful store, with

Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

enough items at various price points, it is easy to walk in ‘just to look’

home improvement stores?

and walk out with something small. And that trip gets you thinking about something bigger...

95% of the time I purchase anything at a hardware/home improvement store, it’s for paint and paint supplies.

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General Questions:

look completely different at the store and your home. Maybe they could set up different light stations so people could get a better idea of how

When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a

different colors might look once you get them home?

product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) I appreciate customer service when I need it, but I hate overly pushy Assuming the quality of all options is the same, I look at price first. When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and store customer service or packaging and product information? Why? I’m more inclined to depend on packaging and product information because when I get home, the customer service people aren’t going to be there to walk me through the process. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) The store location is one of the most important things to me when I actually need to see products. If I know the products well enough, I can buy them online and could care less about where the stores are located. Otherwise, I’m going to my closest store location. The one thing I feel very few clothing retailers have gotten correct is lighting in their stores. I would think retailers would want their stores to have the most flattering lights on customers at least in the dressing

70

sales people who have no interest in customer service (which is apparent when all of their recommendations are for the most expensive items in the store). I also hate it when I can’t find a single person working in the store when I need to be checked out. Store layout is important, but even more so is store organization. I consider Forever 21 to be product overload. It’s overwhelming just walking in there. Even though the layout and flow to the store is great, there’s just too much going on. What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any genre) My favorite retail store is Macys. They carry brands I like. They carry an array of departments and products within each department. They have reasonable prices and sales. I love their marketing (commercials and magazines). Their sales people are never pushy. Their store decorations around the holidays are fabulous. Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened?

rooms. Why has no one realized this yet? This is also true when you go

Yes. Numerous times I’ve walked into Forever 21 and just given up. I

to home improvement stores and look at paint chips. The colors can

don’t feel like digging through mounds of clothes for an hour just to find


a shirt that will fall apart after 3 washes anyways. Sometimes Victoria’s

person went online to see a dress I was talking about. It was extremely

Secret is like that too. There are too many products on the tables that

helpful.

aren’t organized. Also, many times Victoria’s Secret will have different patterns of panties in the catalogs but not in the stores. That’s really

price-checking station – eh, not so much. Why can’t the product’s price

annoying.

be clearly marked in the first place?

Sometimes the sales people are so annoying that I’ve left the store. I hate

mid-store checkout (an employee could complete your purchase at any

“suggestive” sales, like when I ask a sales person for a pair of shoes, and

time) – Once, I was waiting in line to check out at this clothing store,

she brings out 3 more boxes of shoes that “she really thinks I’ll like” – I

and this sales person had been helping someone shop (clearly the sales

hate that, but I won’t abandon the purchase completely.

person was going to get a giant commission) and she took her person’s clothes and checked her out before everyone who had been waiting in

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

line. Would that be considered a “mid-store checkout” for that woman?

made a purchase without intending to? If so, what happened?

Because the other people waiting in line just got cut.

Yes, all the time, that’s what shopping is about. I walk through stores and

a “best sellers” or “top rated” product display – not really. I don’t really

see items that I hadn’t seen in magazines or that just caught my eye. I

buy into those. I just automatically assume the supplier bought that

LOVE those little impulse items at Sephora that you can look at while

marketing spot to be called “top rated” – so that usually means nothing

you’re waiting in line. They make my waiting time very enjoyable. I love

to me.

that they’re all usually little travel items that are inexpensive (especially since I’ve already decided on my big purchase items). Actually the last

how-to videos – not really. I usually Google for things I don’t know how

time I was in the store, there was no wait line and I didn’t get to slowly

to do.

view all the little items. I was kind of sad about that. Would you consider any of these to be attributes to a retail experience?

Demonstrations – same as above. (complimentary) personal shopping – no. No one really knows what I

store map – absolutely not – BIG signs, please.

want/need. I don’t know what I want/need until I see it.

in-store company website access – absolutely yes! Once at J.Crew a sales

client database (VIP cards) for coupons, email updates, and personalized

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shopping – this is a scam. Every time I visit a store they ask for my email

convenience win for me.

address, and the more times I give them my email address, the more promotions I’ll receive! BS. I get emails about “exclusive insider sales and free shipping”! Just go on the website - they’re already offering those promotions to everyone, not just the VIPs. Unfortunately, I still give my email address, because it’s easier than saying ‘no’ and having the sales person give a speech about why you should. Anonymous:

When choosing a product, are you more inclined to depend on store graphics/signage and store customer service or packaging and product information? Why? Initially, I look at packaging and product information, but if it is something I cannot understand or need more information on how to complete, I will go to customer service. What is important to you in a retail experience? (Customer service? The brands? The store location? The store layout?) In a general retail

Hardware/Home Improvement Store Specific:

experience, it is price and brand. In the arena of home improvement, it is

Under what circumstances might you/do you shop at a hardware or

price and store location.

home improvement store (such as Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc.) Only when absolutely necessary to complete a very simple home repair project.

What is your favorite retail store and why? (Any genre) Any discount retailer such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Ross, etc. Good brands and discount prices.

Do you usually have a task to complete when you decide to go to a store? Or do you use the store to get ideas? Task. Ideas come from online shopping/research.

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have abandoned a potential purchase? If so, what happened? Yes. Store layout can lead to frustrating experiences and abandonment of purchases.

72

Is there a specific type of product you tend to purchase in a hardware/

Specifically, I can never find anything in Home Depots and Lowes, and

home improvement stores? No specific type of product, but I would shop

usually have to ask someone. Those stores are incompatible logistically

for what looks like the easiest product to use to complete the task.

with my brain.

General Questions:

Has a retail environment ever affected you to the point that you have

When there is more than one option available, how do you choose a

made a purchase without intending to? If so, what happened? Yes, every

product? (Do you look at the packaging, brand, price, etc?) Price and

time I go into any of the stores in Number 9. If the price is right, I have


always “needed” that thing that I have gone without for months and

SURVEYMONKEY via Facebook

months. Can’t help myself. _

Final Survey:

Would you consider any of these to be attributes to a retail experience? store map Depends on the size of the store. in-store company website access Definitely a plus. price-checking station Definitely a plus. mid-store checkout (an employee could complete your purchase at any time) I like to finish shopping before I check out. a “best sellers” or “top rated” product display A plus but not necessity. how-to videos I wouldn’t stop to watch them. If I go to a store, it is to get something, not meander. I would just YouTube it.

1. Do you use tools outside of the house? Never - 29.2% (14) Occasionally- 52.1% (25) Frequently- 18.8 % (9) •

Wood shop in gulfstream

Hammer, shovel, spade, ax, sander

Yard tools

I hardly use tools inside or outside the house, only for minor things like hanging a picture frame

On my car occasionally

Rarely now, but I did work in a (theatrical) scene shop as a work-study for a year and change while at school. Saws, drills, grinders…

I often use them at work

What do you mean by tools? Like hammers and such? No.

2. How often do you use hand tools? Never - 4.2% (2) Occasionally- 68.8% (33) Frequently- 27.1% (13)

Demonstrations Same response as f.

(complimentary) personal shopping Depending on the store, it would be

Some DIY when I have time

3. Do you use tools around the house – for projects and repairing?

Never - 4.2% (2)

Occasionally- 66.7% (32)

Frequently- 29.2% (14)

Absolutely minor repairs

Flowers and gardening

Occasionally, I will use a screw driver or a hammer to fix something

Own my house so fixing it up as I use them, use them for school projects occasionally

a plus but not a necessity. client database (VIP cards) for coupons, email updates, and personalized shopping Definitely a plus.

quickly but I am not building any Armories or Dressers…

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4 .Do you use tools (Power or Hand) at your job?

purchases. But, between the two – Home Depot. The staff is really

Never - 60.4% (29)

helpful (and from my experience) don’t have an amusing/condescend-

Occasionally- 25.0% (12)

ing attitude about a woman buying tools.

Frequently- 14.6% (7)

My favorite store is target, I love how isles are laid, and the products are places and customer service.

5. Do you buy tools for yourself?

competitive price points and competitive price points.

Occasionally- 52.1% (25) Frequently- 6.3% (3)

Grainger, because of the breadth of their product availability, the size of their store network, knowledgeable telephone and in-store staff and

Never - 41.7% (20) •

For tools? I would say Lowe’s first than HD

Patagonia, I trust their products and ethics

6. Do you research a brand before making a major purchase?

IKEA, good price, good package and easy to fabricate myself

Never - 16.7% (8)

Target because they have recognizable brands that I trust in a convenient location

Occasionally- 33.3% (16) Frequently- 50.0% (24) 7. Do you want to experience a product before you purchase?

Target, good selection, prices and nice staff

Williams Sonoma, best cooking tools

I think my favorite would be Banana Republic or J.Crew . They most fit my personal style , I know thir clothes will hold up and be worth the

Never - 14.6% (7)

money

Occasionally- 47.9% (23) Frequently- 37.5% (18) 8. What is your favorite retail store and why? •

For tools? Lowes, it’s near my house

Home Depot it rocks! And has everything!

I purchase my tools through Sears, because Craftsman has a lifeline warranty on all their tools should anything needs to be replaced.

Crate and Barrel, it feels like you are walking into a lifestyle. Everything about it seems customized and special.

Target because the variety of things I can buy. I usually like the prices

For tools, I prefer Lowe’s to Home depot it is cleaner and more shop-

and they have good sales. Also, I usually like the service their workers

per friendly. The staff seems more courteous and floor is laid out in a

provide.

more inviting manor. •

Home Depot because I own a stock company

Target has everything, easy to find what I need, clean upscale (com-

Target and Apple. Ease of accessibility, good customer service and quality products.

Sears; Craftsman tools have lifetime warranty

paratively), well designed products , close to where I live…

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Apple because it is sleek and orderly

How will you figure out which tools best fit you and suit your needs?

For tools, Lowes.

Nordstorm, The selection and service

I have only been to Lowe’s and Home Depot for tools and tool-related

I will ask friends or someone with more experience. Sometimes I will consult online reviews or try to borrow one from a friend of mine.

Depends on the project


My husband are pretty brand royal to Craftsman and Dewait . We

Online research, in use testing, in store comparisons

decide what tool we need for a task and then see what the options are.

Usually the power tools that most efficiently make the most power

We are usually on a budget so the most expensive option is not usually

are best for jobs where precision is necessary otherwise smaller hand

the way to go., but we are also cautious of not getting the entry level item either.

tools are needed. •

Unless I have done a lot of research or have something recommended

Consumer reports

Depends on the projects and how I intend on using those tools

to me, I typically pick by color Ask my husband

Guessing

Recommendation, online reviews, price

Internet search

Job specific

I see how they feel in my hands at the store, are they too heavy too

Online research, borrowing from family and friends, past experience

heavy/big for me to mange safely. I research or call my dad or husband

See the hole of the nail

or talk to my contractor for information about tools

Reviews and research

Read the packaging. If it’s a big purchase I will read online reviews

See which size fits the job…usually Craftsman tools

I ask my dad

Truthfully, I ask my dad. He would know better than I ever could

Internet inquiry/search

I look for the cheapest price or what I can steal from my dads collec-

I don’t buy tools

My dad

I needed to drill some holes in sheet rock, so I bought a drill

Critical reasoning

I make the decision based on” the situation” at hand

Probably try it out in the store

I find out what the tool does and if they can do what I want, than the

I largely buy tools for basic home repairs, and putting stuff up on the

tion

tool works for me

wall

Research: user reviews, You Tube videos

When I need advice for tools, I ask my knowledgeable father. He

Depends on job I want to do

knows everything

Analysis

By the practical application it is used for

Depends of how large of a job I am going to do

Please describe your ideal retail experience:

Just by what suits our needs

Reviews

I get something that is multi-purpose

Internet research, ask others

Try it out

Online research and colleague suggestions

I ask around consult my friends and research online. Its hard to find information and directions in bigger stores like Lowes or Home Depot

I like being reassured about my product that I am going to buy- no matter what it. I want to feel good purchasing – like it is going to suit me perfectly and be a quality good.

Being met at the door by a store drone & taken immediately to the item I need

Clean store, with friendly and knowledgeable staff. Clear signs that can direct me and competitive pricing.

In and out in under 10 minutes

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of store sales via email. I’d like more retail stores to open online shop-

Stores like Home depot and art stores should have samples of mer-

ping to their factory outlets a.crew just started doing this).

chandise so one can try it out before buying – especially for things like pliers and other tools that come in varieties and sizes. •

Not having to buy any tools because it’s already taken care of

Walk in and walk out with what I need

The store has the item I want or a helpful staff person to help me make that decision, have a range of products to choose from, the product is

product, additional sales support would be welcomed. •

• •

Finding exactly what we’re looking for and possibly at a discounted price

I would like to be immersed In a two story power mall with lots of high

Reviews and videos. Low prices. PayPal.

end ladies retail stores. No Home Depot for me, thank you

All the Isles are clearly marked and there Is always someone around to ask a question If needed.

In, and out on my way quickly, cheaply and without need for any assistance (and obviously they have what I need)

Get what I want with help from employees when needed

I enjoy stores that have enough space that you never feel crowded, are

Having knowledgeable and friendly sale associates. The right kind

easy to navigate and explore without requiring any assistance. I like

of space to try out the products. EX: Fleet Feet. The best experience I

being able to get assistance, when if/I need it, but I do not like being

have in purchasing running shoes. A marathon runner was my sales

followed around or bothered by employees when I don’t want. I like

associates. She explains all the different aspects of running shoes. Had

stores with ample registers/employees working so that my wait time

me tried on about 10 different brands. Run in them and videotaped

at check out is low. I appreciate stores that are well stocked with wide

my strides to see how I strike the ground. Notice I had a problem with

range of options.

roiling my ankle when I land so she recommended a specialize New

Helpful not hovering

Balance and showed me the footage of my run with that shoes and the

Fast and to the point

changes It had on the landing. I was sold. If I had to buy another pair, I

Quick. Friendly. Informed.

Online shopping.

Easy, fast, and stress-free!

Easy, comfortable and simple.

I would like to have the flexibility to test tools before I buy. Be able

A store where the store staff is knowledgeable about what they’re sell-

would go back to the same store.

to find more in-depth Information about the tool I am buying (like a touch screen information next to the tool I am about to buy.)

ing and aren’t trying to rush you out the door. • •

Ideally, I like to find and purchase products online (especially If there

A store with both online and physical locations, allowing me to re-

Is no

search online tools listed in category by price point. Usually I buy the

charge for shipping). If I need more Information, I’ll go to the store to

tool with the most features that is also the cheapest since most stores

purchase what I need. I don’t like overly helpful/pushy sales people,

offer warranties on their tools. That is the easiest way to pick the right

but I also like to see them around if I need them. I like to receive store

tool out.

magazines. I’d rather see discounts given at the store I’m shopping In, rather than “find another price and we’ll match It.” I like to be notified

76

I need to make a large purchase and I find just the Item I need & I find the item on sale.

on sale, there is no line at the register, the cashier is happy to see me •

One where I get In, get what I want, and get out. If I linger around a

Quiet, attentive and helpful staff, clean, organized, decent prices, good return policy, and efficiency in the way the company is run.


Find what I need quickly and it is on sale

Greeted by sales rep that actually works/specializes in the tools sec-

is more expensive. •

tion, helps me find the best tool(s) for my needs, no line at checkout, parking space right up front •

checkout lines, and pleasant cashiers or other workers. •

Come in and if I know where to go or what I’m looking for, I just go, but if I don’t there is a little “hub” I can quickly access to ask for help.

Good to adequate parking, clean store, good variety of products, short Approach a knowledgeable salesman who has experience with various tools

Fast, good deals, getting the stuff I need/want

There should still be salespeople on the floor; but having the hub would make shopping for unknown/infrequently items (such as tools) a lot easier and less frustrating when you can’t find something. •

Uhh .. There are people reasonably close at hand to answer questions

[knowledgeably] that I may have, but who don’t try to up sell me or lurk creepily?

Have good organized display to shop

Affordable and organized

Fantastic customer service is number one

Unbiased reviews and opinions

Good warranty

Helpful sales associates

Being left alone while looking but having someone available to answer questions if need be ... and minimal lines at checkout

The workers are friendly, courteous, helpful (without being pushy), the store is neat and organized. The things I like/want are on sale, in my size, and actually fit me well Although - having worked in retail for far more years than I’m willing to admit, I know that things don’t actually work out like that! I guess at this point, my ideal retail experience at this point is one where I’m not working!

I like for the store to be air conditioned, for the children to be nonexistent, and for the samples to be plentiful and fattening.

I buy a tool for a reasonable price; it is easy to use and gets the job done.

In and out

One where the representative is knowledgeable, but not pushy, and can make a suggestion without trying to get me to buy something that

77


T H E PA RT N E R S

Biographies

Neiha Arora

Ben Ebersold

Robyn Richardson

Sarah Tolzmann

Neiha is a Fashion Designer +

Originally from Connecticut, Ben

Robyn is an MFA candidate in Design

Sarah graduated from Union College

Creative Art Director infusing world

graduated from Cornell College

Management at the Savannah College

in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts degree

culture and music into her design and

with a BA in Fine Arts. He is now

of Art and Design. Having earned a

in Art History and Visual Arts. Her

problem solving skills. Being a hybrid

persuing his MFA in industrial design

BA in English from the Florida State

postgraduate work was in retail and

nomad, she is able to seamlessly blend

at Savannah College of Art and

University in 2004, her work thereafter

merchandising management, as

Branding, Marketing and Design into

Design. He is secretly a superhero

was in education and entertainment.

well as freelance design. She entered

her work. She is currently pursuing her

who is seeking to save the streets of

This unique experience had led

Savannah College of Art and Design

MA in Advertising Design from the

Savannah from evil on a nightly basis.

her to surmise that the best things

in 2009 as a graphic designer, but

Savannah College of Art and Design,

in life are both educational and

soon realized her true calling was in

Savannah, GA. She previously earned

entertaining. Her current work focuses

Design Management. She believes in

a BFA in Fashion Design from SCAD

on the diffusion of social practices

Virginia baseball, cold beer, the travel

as well.

within cultures. She hopes to use

bug., and design thinking.

these findings to pursue endeavors of Neiha is currently a Senior Admission

affinity and inspiration.

Representative at SCAD and also the Advisor for Milaap-Association of Indian Students at SCAD.

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Tools For Women: Home Depot Revisited