Patagonia redefines brand transparency with new shopping tool
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I individually designed the following experience for Patagonia. The Quality Stories shopping experience was completed as Part II of an independent project. 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.
Research, Brand Strategy, UX/UI,
User Testing, Digital Prototyping
Adobe XD, Illustrator, Photoshop
"SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING IS AN OXYMORON"
– YVON CHOUINARD
Consumers rarely understand the complexity and environmental impact of supply chains in the fashion industry
The apparel and footwear industry is the second most pollutive industry behind oil and natural gas. Estimates say that across the full lifecycle of clothing globally, the industry has an annual carbon footprint of 3.3 billion tons CO2e – which is nearly the combined annual carbon footprint of all 28 current members of the EU.
Truth about environmental impact is buried deep within global supply chains. Most global brands are making huge profits, while easily passing the responsibility of environmental pollution down complex and disjointed supply chains, with little to no accountability.
There are raw and unique stories buried within global supply chains
Every product has a unique origin story. 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 uses supply chain data to create a more transparent shopping experience
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, stories, and impact of 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.
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 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 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 I of my project. 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 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 can 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.
Patagonia reaches its goal of complete carbon neutrality prior to 2025, educating consumers and redefining brand transparency along the way.
Patagonia has a publicly stated goal of being carbon neutral across its entire business, including supply chain, by 2025. Therefore, new business opportunities should be measured against this goal. For Quality Stories, as with any new feature, it is important to weigh the projected cost against expected outcomes.
In order for Quality Stories to come to life, Patagonia will have to work with its extensive list of suppliers around the world. Implementing QR codes, onboarding factories and mills, and developing the mobile feature will take time and money, but the payoff will be worth it.
Never before has a company of this size publicized its supply chain with this level of transparency. In addition to informing consumers of the environmental cost of items (through the B2P scoring system), Patagonia will be connecting faces and stories to purchases. In this case, a digital tool has the power to make a global product feel local, potentially even creating sentimental value for customers.
Consumers will respect this new level of transparency and reward the company with their dollars. Patagonia can then use this revenue to continue working towards its carbon neutrality goal, hopefully succeeding prior to 2025.
Potential ways of measuring success:
Product scans and conversion rates
PR and digital media engagement
Accelerating progress towards carbon neutrality
"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.
While some shoppers value Patagonia's environmental activism, 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, I prioritized the needs of "learners" when thinking about content curation and design decisions.
PRODUCT PAGE ANNOTATIONS
Although Quality Stories is primarily a mobile experience, it is important to raise awareness for B2P and the new feature 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 can access 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.