Food for thought! 8 ways the farmers market can make you a better experience designer

By in Experience Design + Management

As experience designers we make products, services and environments with the customer in mind. This keeps our work relevant, useful and enjoyable. A common challenge customers experience is navigating the complexity of choice. This phenomenon most often occurs when one is confronted with an overwhelming amount of choice or when trying to decide between products and services. This blog series is about how experience design can combat complexity and make happier humans.

There is surmounting evidence that shopping at the farmers market is better for you, the planet, and your local community. So, on a bright and crisp Fall Saturday morning I decided to pay the Union Square Farmers Market a visit to buy my weekly groceries. That’s where the paradox of choice made it’s unwelcomed guest appearance.

Organic’, ‘biodynamic’, ‘grass-fed’, ‘pastured’, ‘no-spray’, ‘minimal-spray’

Lacking a doctorate in food sciences and the copious amounts of vendors can make buying local food confusing. How might we re-design the farmer’s market experience to reduce the complexity of choice and increase delight? Here are some questions we have in mind.

  1. How are visitors being educated before arrival? Explaining to consumers what specific words and concepts they might encounter would make for better conversations and decision making.
  2. What can the natural behaviors of consumers, those happening before, during and after shopping, teach us about designing a market? Studying the habits of consumers can shed more light on the context in which an event is happening.
  3. How might market designers listen to customers’ buying beliefs or priorities? Designing signage that call out specific attributes of a product can help consumers shop easier and faster.
  4. How do you introduce someone to a new food or product they have never heard of? Set up tasting stations that give people an idea of what the product is and how they might prepare it. Turning a ‘Huh?’ into ‘Yum!
  5. What help or tools are given to time-strapped shoppers?  Allow your visitors to design a game plan. Developing an itinerary makes navigating your event simple and straightforward.
  6. What sounds and smells could be used to calm and slow down the process of shopping?Perhaps a classical band playing Mozart while lavender wafts through the air would offer relief to over burdened, stressed out attendees.
  7. What can market designers learn from digital tools?  What can one learn from Postmates, Uber, or Instagram about how to design an event?
  8. How can customers remember and reflect on what they bought?  Allow people to recall their attendance and use that data to allow for better decisions and new and fun discoveries.

In addition to analyzing outdoor markers, these types of questions could be asked to better create branded experiences that resonate and connect with a target audience.

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