UX Research Is No Longer Just The UX Team’s Job

With 60% of enterprises saying they will test their user experiences more frequently in 2016, it appears more companies are understanding the value that UX research can bring to the table. In fact, according to the 2015 UserTesting UX Industry Survey Report, more individual retail departments are taking the time to conduct this research and weave customer feedback into their processes, including:

  • 18% of UX departments;

  • 21% of product teams; and

  • 24% of marketing teams.



The report, which surveyed more than 7,700 global respondents across numerous business departments including UX, sales, product, marketing and engineering, uncovered insights into how businesses now approach and build out their user experiences. In particular, a renewed focus on customer-centricity means UX research is becoming more highly prized by more departments within the enterprise.

While previously this type of data was exclusively held and analyzed by UX professionals, its spread throughout the enterprise means retail executives can improve their understanding of both the product the consumer is searching for and the marketing tactics behind the product. They can then use that knowledge to better gauge consumer feedback.

Looking ahead, a few online trends are expected to make a splash within five years:

  • 60% of respondents chose multi-device interaction as the most important online trend (the top answer three years in a row);

  • 40% chose global UX design;

  • 40% chose wearable technology; and

  • Approximately 35% each chose the omnichannel experience, touch interfaces and voice interaction.

Do You Want Users To Like Your Experience? Improve Consistency

With the integration of numerous devices becoming more of a reality (and an expectation) in retail, companies can’t treat digital and physical channels as separate entities anymore — further emphasizing the importance of providing a consistently excellent experience across all channels, particularly mobile.

“You have people that use their tablet, then switch to the store, then go onto their laptop, and then use their phone,” said Chris Hicken, COO of UserTesting. “Every retailer is trying to understand how the physical and digital worlds play together in a buying experience. Even in the survey, we asked retailers how many of them are testing mobile devices: only 50% of them are testing presently. We know that every retailer out there is generating a ton of mobile traffic, and they’re in competition with companies such as Amazon that sell everything online. It just goes to show that retailers still do not understand the impact that mobile is having on their business.”

UX Budgets On The Rise

With an increased focus on UX now becoming a retail priority, merchants have begun to shift away from small- to mid-sized monthly budgets. While a handful of respondents were opting to spend less than $500 monthly for UX research in 2014, that percentage decreased in 2015 as more respondents decided to increase spending. The increase in dollars spent suggests companies are allocating more resources to UX research, allowing for more ongoing user feedback, testing of more initiatives, and even benchmarking their UX over time.

While the increase in spending reveals that retailers are now taking UX more seriously across the board, the next step is for them to start updating old processes that don’t quite fit in with their company goals. “Companies have been building their web sites for 10 years and they’ve put processes in place that have made it very efficient to crank out new content and features,” Hicken said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Now that they’re being challenged to focus on customer experience, it means having to change major parts of how they do their work.

“For example, a major retailer we work with is rebuilding their entire shopping cart process,” he added. “They have to build usability testing into their process, so they have to get in the habit of testing and iterating on their web site. Companies just don’t have those processes in place, and they don’t have relationships with vendors that will enable great experiences, so it’s now about changing behaviors that have been built up for the last decade.”

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