Shop Store (Temp Name)

Ethnographic Research • Personas
Client: (Major Consumer Retail Company)

Company: McKinsey & Company

*"Shop Store" is a placeholder name. The company's real name can't be shared due to confidential reasons.

This project consists of an intensive competitor analysis and a month-long journey around the US to meet target users and learn from them to create personas that would help Shop Store succeed in delivering a new digital strategy.

Shop Store, a major consumer retail company, realized that they need a change--a new digital strategy that could bring them forward in the market. Our teams of business consultants, experience designers, and analytics experts, were joined together to make the best recommendations for Shop Store.

My responsibilities were to conduct a market trend & competitor analysis, interview target users, synthesize the interviews, and develop personas based on the interviews and data from the analytics team. We then shared the personas with the rest of the team and validate the business concepts that worked well with the personas. Finally, we presented the results with our client team in a two-day workshop to help them understand the personas and improve their own digital strategy from our recommended business concepts.

Market Trend & Competitor Analysis

At the beginning of the engagement, every team were tasked to do initial research on the client. My task was to 'see what's out there' and report back to everyone. I took a week to go through Shop Store's competitors as well as companies in related fields, and compiled a detailed spreadsheet of them. It helped us a lot as a reference when brainstorming for business concepts.

Ethnographic Research & Personas

The next step was to interview target users (provided by a vendor), then synthesize the interview results along with survey results from the analytics team to create personas. We travelled to different locations across the US to meet people at their houses, conduct shop-alongs, and talk with them about their ideal experiences.

The Interview Guide
1. General Q&A about your life and shopping behavior
2. Select two scenarios from our list and share your ideal experiences
3. Shop-along: show us how you shop (in-store/online)


We held a two-day workshop with the client team to present the personas and business concepts in a gallery walk style. In the following session, we set up stations based on the personas to advise the clients as they ideated their digital strategy for that type of personas based on what we shared. At the end, we had the client share out their ideas to everyone on their side. It was a great two-day full of post-its, print-outs, markers, and enthusiastic debates.

Unfortunately, photos from the workshop can't be shared here due to confidential reasons. However, I'm happy to share them in-person if requested.