The most transparent shopping experience in the world
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I independently designed the following experience for Patagonia. The Quality Stories shopping experience was completed as Part I of my independent study. I thoroughly analyzed Patagonia's supply chain and brand voice, and I compared the company's operations to other global brands. I sought to understand Patagonia's customer base, specifically the shoppers' expectations and unmet needs. I then designed the following tool to exist within The Footprint Chronicles, Patagonia's current supply chain information database.
12 Week Independent Study
Adobe XD | Illustrator .
"SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING IS AN OXYMORON"
– YVON CHOUINARD
The word "sustainability" continues to be overused
These days, just about every brand in the world has a "sustainability" page. The demand for "green" and "environmentally friendly" has skyrocketed, and brands have taken notice. Green advertising and green brand communications have grown exponentially throughout recent years, as environmental concerns continue to rise among consumers.
However, as brands continue to cater to this demand, consumers have become generally more skeptical of "sustainability" narratives. While the world's biggest brands tell us all about the "sustainable" things they are doing, the unsustainable practices remain hidden behind supply chains and corporate doors. We've entered into a time where most consumers don't know which products to buy, and which to leave on the shelf.
Unfortunately, when everyone is saying the same thing in the presence of skepticism, no one knows who to believe – voices are getting louder, but transparency has plateaued.
"Younger consumers are seriously concerned with social and environmental causes, which many regard as being the defining issues of our time. They increasingly back their beliefs with their shopping habits, favoring brands that are aligned with their values and avoiding those that don’t."
– THE STATE OF FASHION 2019
Use supply chain data to re-define transparency
Every product has a unique story. Textile sourcing and manufacturing is a truly global process. While we as consumers might not know the full story of where our purchases come from (apart from the familiar “Made in China” tag), most brands do.
Not only is supply chain data accessible, it’s essential. Brands have to know where materials are coming from, where goods are being produced, and when orders are being fulfilled. We know this data is constantly being analyzed, because it informs balance sheets and projection models.
While most brands choose not to disclose this data, what if some did? Because there are unique stories behind each product, there are also unique storytelling opportunities in the product-specific data. Yes, some dark realities may come to light – but If more companies told these stories, brand loyalty could increase thanks to a new standard of unfiltered transparency.
Design Objective: Build a product that uses supply chain data to tell the unique stories behind individual products.
Patagonia leads by example with new shopping tool
Quality Stories is a new feature for Patagonia's current supply chain communications channel, The Footprint Chronicles. Customers can now scan any Patagonia product, and see the unique journey and stories behind that specific item.
Accessible information includes: B2P score, shipping timeline, textile sourcing, factory and facility performance, testimonies of product-specific employees, and other distribution details.
Patagonia is arguably the most transparent global business in the world. They accept full responsibility for their supply chain impact, and have pioneered some of the highest industry standards for manufacturing.
The company has audited its supply chain to analyze carbon emissions, and it constantly works with suppliers to innovate new textile solutions and even labor standards.
If there is one company in the world that would want customer's to see the faces, stories, and impact behind individual purchases, it is Patagonia.
QR CODE ONBOARDING
Shoppers can access Quality Stories by scanning unique QR codes on each product. These codes can be scanned during the browsing experience, or after online purchases are received.
Once the code is scanned, the Quality Stories information for that specific product opens in the user's mobile browser.
LANDING SCREEN | B2P SCORING
One of the first things users will see on the product landing page is a set of B2P scores for that product.
The B2P scoring system is an environmental impact measurement tool facilitated by a third party organization, Business to Planet. The scores inform consumers of the lifetime value and complete environmental impact of individual articles of clothing.
I designed this organization and tool as Part II of my independent study. Much of the data that makes the remainder of this case study possible is acquired through the B2P scoring process. Please click below to access the complete case study.
IMMERSIVE SHIPPING TIMELINE
On the product landing page, users can also see the unique production and shipping timeline for that item.
Throughout the timeline, users have the opportunity to learn more about some of the stops along the way.
For this specific shirt, users could learn more about a textile mill in China, a garment manufacturer in Vietnam, a distribution center in Pennsylvania, and the wholesale partnership with REI.
When users select one of the stops along the way (ex. garment factory), they can learn more about that facility or partnership. Details include an overview of the facility, biographies of employees that have serviced your product, and up-to date factory environmental performance scores.
"TODAY'S CUSTOMERS WANT THEIR DOLLARS TO GO TO COMPANIES THAT WILL USE THEIR MONEY TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE."
– ALANA SEMUELS
Understanding Patagonia's core customers to create an educational tool
Early on, I researched consumers and trends in order to clarify the unmet needs of my target audience. I crafted personas and journey maps to understand specific design objectives and opportunities. Finally, I went through multiple rounds of feedback sessions, which unveiled new architectural opportunities and executions.
As a company, Patagonia appeals to a lot of different consumers. Some shoppers value the brand's environmental activism, while others simply buy because the clothes are comfortable and look good.
From a design perspective, it is important to make this distinction. Because Quality Stories is mostly an educational feature, the needs of "learners"should be prioritized when thinking about content curation and design decisions.
USER JOURNEY: ONLINE VS. RETAIL
Depending on when a user first learns about Quality Stories, the experience and pain points could significantly differ. Mapping the journeys side by side helped me identify key touch points and important design opportunities.
PRODCUT PAGE ANNOTATIONS
Although Quality Stories is primarily a mobile feature enhancement, it is important to raise awareness for B2P and the feature itself during the online shopping experience.
User journey mapping revealed that online shoppers will most likely be purchasing products prior to actually using Quality Stories.
One of the earliest obstacles I had to deal with was figuring out how this new feature will exist within Patagonia's current mobile experience. Rather than designing an entire app, I instead decided to integrate Quality Stories as a new experience within Patagonia's current supply chain information database, The Footprint Chronicles.
QUALITY STORIES ANNOTATIONS
Quality Stories serves as an educational, yet entertaining, shopping tool. After onboarding through a QR scan, users will have access to a unique production and shipping timeline, which will serve as the "home page" of the experience.
Users can also use the hamburger menu to navigate through the rest of the Patagonia mobile site, while easily re-accessing Quality Stories through "Recent Product Scans."
During my final presentation, I simulated a shopping experience with Quality Stories. For the demonstration, I showed what it would be like to scan a "Men's Long-Sleeved Daily Henley" shirt.
"FASHION IS AWLAYS ABOUT WHAT IS NEXT. FOR THE FASHION INDUSTRY ITSELF TO HAVE A FUTURE, SUSTAINABILITY NEEDS TO BE NEXT"
– WOLFGANG BLAU
COO, CONDÉ NAST
PROJECT REFLECTIONS & CONSIDERATIONS
Throughout my time at the Brandcenter and time spent on this project, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the relationships between brands and consumers, and specifically how these two groups exert influence over one another in addressing the climate crisis.
Truthfully, the ideal scenario for addressing climate change will involve both groups working together harmoniously, That said, I believe it will ultimately be consumer demand that gets the ball rolling on impactful change. Consumers dictate demand, they always have. The traditional, microeconomic definition of demand is more often applied to tangible products and services. However, I believe consumers are also beginning to demand brand transparency and sustainable business operations, especially as global climate concerns escalate. In order for this type of demand to increase (which I believe would be a good thing for the world), consumers are going to have to educate themselves.
With unreliable narratives swirling around in mainstream media, consumers generally don’t know who or what to believe. Therefore, there exists a unique opportunity for brands that are already behaving responsibly to tell consumers about their impact in an unfiltered, unbiased, and fully transparent voice. I believe the Business to Planet scale outlined above could give brands that honest voice, and allow them to influence future purchasing behaviors of consumers.
In its simplest form, the score is essentially a third-party supply chain audit. The way I see it, the only brands that would welcome such an audit, are the brands that are willing to embrace the dark realities of complex supply chains and communicate the true impact of their products. In my opinion, it is time for that willingness to become an expectation. – DW