High-Traffic locations in the experience economy + Climbing the mountain!

22 March 2017

It was another inspiring event, this time hosted at bol.com. We gladly brought two uplifting presentations to the 45 people in the audience. It was our biggest meetup so far! Everybody enjoyed a nice dinner, offered by the host, before we got started.

The event kicked off with a welcoming speech from Ladies that UX Utrecht. Followed by UX manager Roos Groenewegen presented briefly how the User Experience process takes place at bol.com and pointed out some job openings.


High-Traffic locations in the experience economy

Our first presenter was Martijn Steur, from Kinetic Consultancy. Martijn talked about High-Traffic locations in the experience economy. In other words how to effectively improve the customer experience in order to build businesses. Martijn began stating the rapid shifting on consumer behavior and demands. According to him, 87% of people want to have a meaningful relation with brands, which means creating “stories that people bring home”. As examples of successful companies in this aspect, he mentioned: “Uber is the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles, Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner creates no content, Alibaba the most valuable retailer has no inventory and Airbnb the world’s largest accommodation provider own no real state”. So it’s all about the experience they can provide to both partners and users.


As his main example, Martijn used the experience in airports as he has extensive experience in this field. It’s business concept is; retailers don’t pay a fixed rent but a revenue-based rent. So it is one of the most business reasons to boost the experience. As best practices, he showed a pinball map with the strategy for allocation of stores by category and customer behavior, ticket flights as a bag of chips, ordering groceries online after holidays and recieve them after landing or even have a wonderful local environment inside the airport. E.g. he showed a simulation of a Japanese city along the airport where people could walk through it.

Martijn presented a tool he developed, a new role at airports: the “Mood manager”. This tool is responsible for checking the “feelings” of travelers measuring the temperature, the smell and so on. In the end, the audience watched an inspiring case study about Frankfurt Airport. This airport is Europe’s largest travel hub and the largest shopping mall in Germany. It managed to turned itself into a fruitful Omnichannel E-Commerce experience. “Companies should focus on enhancing and enchanting their customer experiences and aligning their business on their response to customer demand. The value is in the experience: it won’t go down in price, and no one can steal it.”

Climbing the mountain!

For the second presentation, we had two enthusiastic ladies, Carina Palumbo and Joline Boschman. They told their UX story at Exact and shared their learnings, gains and losses. Their story started in 2009 with the hiring of the first UX Designers.


Carina and Joline measured the transformation by using 6 items:

  1. Leadership buy in,
  2. Organisational buy in,
  3. UX Seniority,
  4. UX Team effectiveness,
  5. Embedded processes and
  6. Embedded design guidelines.

Even though management of Exact did believe in the UXers, the company didn’t understand what they were doing and what could come out of it. This was the beginning and the maturity level was not ideal. Their enthusiasm and believe in themselves was not at a low level. But as they learned along the way, they still had to learn a lot about the processes, stakeholders and users.

After the first years, they stated that these actions helped them to improve: adapting to the peers, leading by enthusiasm, getting insights from the user (with user testing for example), designing more than development (say they) can handle, fight the fight. These were some pitfalls they also got acquainted with: thinking too much of themselves and not in the company, aiming too high and not understand and respect technical development.

Besides the internal changes, the team also was changed by the market and by the exposure into IT. They started to be more data-driven, questioning and challenging assumptions, measuring success and failure. Within IT and the approaching of agile methods of development, the designers had to work with lean methods and comprise the teams. It made the UXers into the decision-makers. Finally, the presenters understand that their teams are not designing for a service or function as a connector anymore. They are now reaching the top of the mountain and designing as strategic drivers.

These two wonderful presentations, gave enough food for good conversation afterwards with a nice cool drink. Lots of exchanging insights, ideas and networking until security had to ‘kick’ us out. 😳

For everybody who could make it: thanks for coming! And for those who missed it out, we hope to see you next time!


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