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Signage needs for Skousen stores

How do you figure out the difference between two veeeery similar-looking washing machines when shopping for domestic appliances at the store?

That is an oddly specific, but also great question! Let me tell you about what I learned about the product/price sign usage in Skousen stores!


While working for Whiteway Group, I helped out our retail brand Skousen with clarifying this question. Their system for generating product and price signs had reached an end-of-life stage and needed to be rebuilt. They wanted to figure out if they could do it better than before! Pretty smart if you ask me! 

To investigate this potential, I used a combination of observations of visitor behavior, interviews with sales employees, and a bit of spying to evaluate the current interaction between customers and signs. Let me tell you how!

About this case

This case is about figuring out how visitors to a Skousen store use and interact with price/product signs in order to determine what role these play in the shopping experience and to clarify the wants and needs for an updated version of these signs.

The process in headlines

1. Assumption clarification

2. Interview and observation

3. Competitor analysis

4. Insight handover

1. Assumption clarification

Prior to my involvement in the project, the retail team had defined a set of initial assumptions of the potential impact and challenges of updating the sing system. 

I worked with these assumptions and used the riskiest assumption test (RAT) To figure out a focus for my investigation, and to make sure I prioritized investigating the most important assumptions.


The main assumption I set out to shed light on was that "the visitors in the stores actively use the price signs in their shopping behavior." - In other words, how do visitors actually behave in the stores? Time to investigate!  


To prioritize the different assumptions from the retail team I used the Riskiest assumption test. Here we focus on the assumptions in the top right corner because if they are wrong we are going to have a baaaad tiiiime!

2. Interviews and observations

Store overview.png

A illustration of a Skousen strore seen from above. The dashed line show movement of a sample of the observed visitors. by drawing up the movement like this it became apparent that a majority of the traffic went straight to the cash register.

To get an understanding of how visitors to the Skousen stores act and interact with the price signs and personnel I packed my notebook and went out into the wild! (or I went out to observe in two different Skousen stores).

In the span of six hours, I saw how 20 visitors’ went through the stores in their quest for domestic appliances!


I saw four overall interaction patterns. Most dominantly (>50%) of the participants went directly for an employee as they entered the store. the other pattern was customers going straight for a specific product, trying to look a bit for themself before seeking help, or simply just browsing before leaving the store.

Interviewing the employees

To further qualify these insights I interviewed five employees from three different Skousen stores I visited. These had varying levels of experience from fairly new to franchisee.

The interviews were divided into two themes – 1. How they currently use the signs and 2. potentials/ideas for improvements. The notes from these interviews were coded and chunked into eight themes like ‘use of the content on signs’ and ‘impact for new sales personnel’.

The key insights were that the employees strived to be with the customer within 30 seconds of them entering the store, a trend also observed in the stores. Due to this a lot of visitors do not get to interact with the sign, because they talk to an employee instead. Another interesting finding was that the employees themself used the signs as a quick reminder when talking with customers!

3. Competitor analysis

To get an idea of how Skousen's signs held up against the competitors, it was time for me to go undercover. I needed to go on a spy mission (or.. I went out to our main competitors and investigated the signage they use.) 


I did not only do this based on a lifelong dream of being a real spy but also to investigate one of the other assumptions from the retail team: "That a revamp of the signage could give us a competitive edge."

The main takeaway from my mission was that our competitors were using digital signs over our printed ones. It also seemed like people were seeking less guidance in these massive warehouses compared to the local Skousen stores.


No one suspected me in my flawless disguise, as shown above!

4. Insight handover

I collected all my findings and analyzed them. I created a presentation to visualize the key findings for a handover session with the stakeholders. In this deck, I included a thematic analysis of the topics found through the interviews, descriptions of the observed behavior, illustrations of visitor movement in the stores, and a visual breakdown of our price signs compared to our competitors (using my grainy spy photos). I used this session to give my recommendation to the stakeholders so that they were able to proceed with the defining requirements for the new price sign system on a more informed basis. 


So how do people figure out the difference between two very different washing machines in the Skousen stores?

Well, based on the observations most of them ask. From the interviews, it seemed that the employees were the ones using the signs the most. The main takeaway presented to the stakeholders was to involve and use the inputs from the employees in the development of the new price sign, cause this will help them help the customers.

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