Challenges and opportunities
Philips Lighting are traditionally known for their wide range of lighting and electrical products. They recognised that they needed to develop their offering beyond just products. They had already developed an innovative concept for a new software tool to work in line with their products but needed to establish a service platform for using the software and associated hardware.
The new ventures team, Philips Retail Solutions (PRS), approached Engine to help them define a service-centred business model and related propositions for them to be able to launch as a viable service business and value proposition.
Engine worked with PRS for over a year to develop the service proposition, platform and business model to a coherent and unique offer for the retail industry. We detailed and delivered the service concepts and customer touchpoints that would create an enhanced and profitable in-store experience, and a roadmap to develop PRS’ role to provide professional consultation and support.
The first wave of the new venture was launched in the retail sector and has enabled PRS to deliver innovative and distinct customer experiences in T-Mobile stores and in Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.
What we did
The software that Philips had developed was a platform that helps retailers to manage a wide range of customer-facing components across their premises. From lighting, advertising and other sensory experiences, the software enabled fluid, connected and thematic events that could be strategically deployed in retail environments.
To translate this ability into a coherent service offering, Engine set out to understand the current service landscape and to identify opportunities for improvements and innovation. The team considered how to establish a sustainable new service model and what the role of Philips, affiliates and associated enterprises would play in its growth.
We began with a review of initial ideas and existing research and ran workshops exploring the potential purposes and value of a service-centred solution, including an assessment of what Philips should and could offer. This helped to inform the direction of our research, including customer segments, markets and market opportunities.
For the next three months, Engine undertook a range of research and generative activities, including interviews and co-design exercises with retail store owners, managers, employees, retail concept designers, interaction designers, interior designers, technologists and marketing executives. The insights were used to refine our thinking around the business model and service offers, and to align the two as part of a logical growth strategy. We presented the outcomes for an internal assessment of the value propositions by the business and secured the next round of venture funding.
Engine developed a clear set of design principles, informed by customer insight, brand values and business goals, to guide the service design and delivery. These were clear articulations of what the customer experience should be across all multichannel touchpoints, such as digitally, in person and in store.
We used the principles to guide the design of detailed concepts, service offers and touchpoints to enact the software platform and overall customer experience. We refined and validated the concepts with target customers and thought pilots with retailers while developing and testing the new business model.
When the business model and concepts were finalised, Engine drew all the aspects together in an overarching service ecology. We demonstrated the service with use case scenarios based on research, interviews and pilots with retailers, including reactive in-store display cases for T-Mobile, which respond to the motion of customers passing by. We brought all these aspects to life through visual journeys and a mockup of the PRS service consultancy website.
Engine detailed and delivered a cohesive and compelling vision of a new and unique business and service offer: Philips Retail Solutions. We detailed how the PRS platform would be supported by a range of service concepts, from software capabilities to professional support. Each concept has a range of supporting features and add-ons for retail customers to select and tailor to their needs. Finally, we provided a high-level roadmap to support the rollout and development of the business.
The first wave of the new venture was launched in the retail sector, producing new customer experiences in T-Mobile stores and Schiphol Airport. The service provides a platform of rich tools and services for retailers to effectively manage their assets and customer touchpoints and to deliver an enhanced and profitable in-store experience. It creates a solid infrastructure that allows retailers to build trust in technology and enables the creative use of assets to tell better stories around a store’s products and services. The service and support offer from PRS also includes behavioural tracking to measure impact and to adapt the experience, and the whole model itself is adaptable to other sectors, including healthcare.
"We did not know what to expect of service design, but Engine showed us that it is a highly creative and inventive process. Their design-led approach to defining, validating and implementing services is all about imagineering the future so it can be discussed, iterated and eventually implemented. It is not only about designing the product, but everything around the context of use for that product. It connects the gap that exists between marketing (target customers, benefits) and technology (features, products) by putting the user experience/service central.”
User Experience Manager, Philips Retail Solutions