Through ethnographic research methods, my team and I created an app for Barnes & Noble. Studying the ethnography of B&N customers, we gained a deeper understanding of their habits and motivation to increase and retain in-store visitors as paying customers. Below shows the ideation journey towards creating the app myBAN.


WHAT i did:

Ethnography, Contextual Interviews, Competitive Analysis, User Research, Card Sorting, Ideation, Persona & User Journey Development, Parallel Design, Usability Testing, Interactive Prototype



Our team took on the task to create a mobile MVP directed towards shopping customers in NYC. We were curious about consumer shopping habits for brick and mortar stores and wanted to pick a niche that we felt would benefit from a study as well as had locations that were easily accessible. For those reasons, we decided to study Barnes & Noble (B&N). As competitors like Amazon continue to draw people away from the store and into an online marketplace, we wanted to understand people's motivation for visiting a brick and mortar store and if there were actionable insights we could take to help them as well as B&N.


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My team and I spent several weeks in the store engaging in ethnographic methodologies. We recorded our observations from the fieldwork as well as interviewed people to gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and behaviors. My role during this time was to prepare a survey for the interviews. The survey was structured to find out: 1. Why they are in the store? 2. If and where they buy books/magazines? and 3. If not B&N for a final purchase, why? We became aware of the following trends people discussed:

1. People don't buy books from B&N because there is a limited selection of books compared to Amazon. 

2. Online shopping is more convenient.

3. B&N books cost more than Amazon. 

4. There were not enough seats in the store for customers.

From these main trends we developed the following insights: People like to go to B&N for the experience and nostalgia and they are getting that experience for free. 

Our team decided we wanted to create a product that had the following goals:

  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Get a higher number of people spending money in the store
  • Enhance the in-store customer experience
  • Bring new customers into the store

Based on those goals we developed a target audience and created the persona and user journey for target customer AJ based on his daily routine, pain points and interaction with B&N. 





the solution

Using the persona and user journey of AJ, the team brainstormed several ideas for an MVP. Through ideation and development, we card sorted to group all the solutions we had and then created a concept of a rewards program for books. This app learned the users favorite genre of books and issued them a scavenger hunt in the store to discover new books based on their earlier preferences. In addition to discovering new books, the app gave incentives for purchases to eventually gain free books/magazines/etc and would interact with the user when they were close to a Barnes & Noble. 

My role during this time was to lead the ideation session and once we decided what the product would be, I built the prototype in Axure.