Rapid-Testing a New Store Design for Athleta


CHALLENGE: The women’s activewear brand Athleta was seeking to optimize its new store design. Key questions included: Does the store design enhance the shopping experience? Does it drive traffic, increase, conversion and promote customer engagement? Where are we succeeding, and where are the opportunities? Of particular interest to Athleta was how to guide customers to the online-ordering kiosks within the store.

APPROACH: Halverson conducted more than a dozen in-store shopalongs with a mix of Athleta shoppers and non-shoppers. Each participant completed a pre-shop interview, a shop-along with one of our trained ethnographic researchers (while wearing Tobii mobile eye-tracking glasses), and an in-depth, post-shop interview about the experience. We also conducted more than 60 quantitative surveys via iPad—half with purchasers, half with non-purchasers—on their way out of the store. Meanwhile, our discreet behavioral analytics video system recorded conversion rate, time spent in store, individual shopper paths, touchpoint and product engagement (duration and intensity) and associate interaction.

FUEL: Our analysis showed that shoppers must pass through four main shopping decision gates to increase likelihood of conversion: The Inspire gate (how is the brand shaping initial impressions to help drive traffic into and throughout the store?), the Guide gate (is the store guiding the consumer to relevant products and experiences, and are technology elements being leveraged by sales associates and shoppers?) the Connect gate (is the assortment and format connecting with consumers; what are the bright spots and pain points, what moods/emotions are evoked?) and finally, the Justify gate (how can the in-store, product, and post-purchase experience be improved to better facilitate and justify a purchase?). By analyzing data through these lenses, we delivered a compete assessment of—and recommendations for—the new store design.

WIN: Rapid assessment allowed Athleta to optimize its store design swiftly based on key insights from the shopper journey. The brand achieved a better blend of the online and in-store environment. They also adjusted inventory to create a cleaner, sleeker-looking store and experience, with online ordering kiosks that served customers in a way that made sense in the context of their journey—and drove conversion.