Harris Farm Markets is a family business driven by a passion for reconnecting Aussies with the joy of food. With produce that customers rave about, Harris Farm’s next big opportunity is to re-imagine the in-store experience – offering customers delightful moments that stay with them long after their visit. After 50 hours of observing customers in stores, see how Design Thinking created a little experiential magic…
A family-run Business Loved by Locals
Over 40 years, this family owned business has built up 25 stores across Sydney and NSW supporting over 1,500 employees. Their stores are more like markets than supermarkets and they live by values of sustainable, natural and local food. In their words, “we’re for the greater goodness”.
Ask shoppers about Harris Farm and they will tell you about the incredible selection of fresh fruit and vegetables. We did and people couldn’t stop talking about their quality, cut-price range of ‘ugly’ fruit and veg, Imperfect Picks, and the surprising, gourmet ingredients that you can’t find anywhere else.
Ask the Harris brothers and they will tell you how they are proud of their produce, living their values everyday and helping customers reconnect to the natural joy of food.
To the brothers, the next big opportunity is to make the in-store experience another reason that customers cross the road to shop at Harris Farm.
In the competitive Australian food-retailing sector, the major supermarkets are constantly looking for new ways to get an edge. Experiential retail offers a way to engage with shoppers beyond the traditional lines of price, product and service. In-store experience helps you to connect with shoppers on an emotional level and create memorable moments they will talk about long after their store visit.
Fresh Eyes for a Fresh Experience
When you live and breathe a retail business everyday, it’s hard to see obvious ways to improve so The Strategy Group was brought in as a fresh set of eyes.
We used Design Thinking to experience the in-store Harris Farm experience from the customers’ perspective, immersing ourselves in 5 stores over 9 days, conducting over 50 hours of observations and interviews.
We observed a tonne of everyday customer experiences and spotted seven clear opportunities for redesign:
- Specials & in-season – allowing customers to experience the uniqueness of the seasons through best-available produce
- Supreme & unusual – surprising and delighting customers by bringing the extraordinary range in fruit & veg to other parts of the store
- Sensory elements – engaging all five senses to stimulate customers and help them reconnect with the natural joy of food
- Ready-to-eat – delivering busy customers good food, fast, so they can get on with their day
- Customer interactions – delighting customers with the warm, hospitable experience of going to a local food-market
- Signage – empowering shoppers to learn more about food and experiment with their meal options
- Way-finding & traffic – guiding shoppers to move easily through the store and get their shopping done with ease
A Team That’s Happy to Get Their Hands Dirty
Design Thinking is a team sport that thrives on collaboration, determination and coordinated efforts. We were delighted to find that Harris Farm employees were enthusiastic, entrepreneurial and willing to give anything a go.
The team came up with 100+ ideas, cutting them down to a shortlist of 32 concepts and eventually choosing 4 fantastic ideas to bring to life:
- Gourmet cheese toasties – an upgrade on the classic Aussie jaffle that shoppers can enjoy one-handed as they wander through the market
- Ready-to-make meals – a complete meal kit with a gourmet recipe and portions of all the fresh ingredients you’ll need to cook it at home
- Drop-and-shop – a half-way check-out where shoppers can leave their heavy fruit and veg basket as they shop for more gourmet ingredients
- Single-herd milk – neatly summed up by this local Sydney newspaper:
“For city folk, it’s about as close as you’ll get to milk straight from the cow. […] shoppers are being given the chance to buy “single herd” milk — which is collected, homogenised and pasteurised directly on one farm — on tap. And in a novel old-school twist, the milk bar concept allows you to fill your own retro-style glass bottles with a screw lid.”
Customers must experience ideas for themselves
Even in food retailing where ideas can be implemented the same day, its important to make sure that customers actually want and value your ideas before you build them out at scale.
All four ideas were designed, prototyped and tested in store with living, breathing customers to see what worked, what didn’t and what could be tweaked to make them even more memorable.
“We invited The Strategy Group into our business to help us deliver some new and exciting concepts to our customers. I am so pleased with the ideas that have come out of the process, particularly Single Herd Milk which has been really popular amongst our customers at our Bondi Westfield store”
– Tristan Harris, Co-CEO, Harris Farm Markets.
Harris Farm’s commitment to creating extraordinary in-store experiences and their employees’ willingness to make things happen helped to get these ideas out in stores fast and into the hands of customers.
Design Thinking has helped to create some genuinely special experiences and Harris Farm customers are now hungry for more.
Could your business benefit from a fresh perspective? Contact me for a chat on firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Julian KezelmanDirector, The Strategy Group Julian believes the future of innovation will be centred on business model redesign, integrative thinking and customer experience design. Julian has extensive client consulting experience working within major Australian banks, creating funding solutions and developing restructuring strategies for borrowers. He advised large corporate and publicly listed Australian clients in the financial services, mining services, media, medical and retail industries. In search of a career change, Julian completed an MBA, receiving class medals for overall performance, finance, innovation & entrepreneurship and now specialises in business and innovation strategy, open innovation, design thinking and lean startup methodologies.
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