Retail executives loathe talking about it, but some have invested millions in a retail pricing analytics platform only to have nobody in the organization use it. While there is a laundry list of reasons for why systems are not used, it generally boils down to a few key areas: the system does not address the company’s biggest pain points or fit current business processes, recommendations are black box or hard to interpret, or the User Interface (UI) is just difficult to navigate.
Based on the reasons above, it’s evident that retail pricing solutions are routinely built or installed without input or direction from key business stakeholders or the day-to-day decision makers. Driving user adoption is critical, and the failure of user adoption lies behind the lack of involvement. In order to build a pricing solution, organizations must work collaboratively and iteratively to design and develop an innovative pricing solution. How do you accomplish this? There are four essential steps to the process:
- Work together to define a vision. As a team, understanding the organization’s current pain points and highest impact problems is vital. It’s also essential to align on the criteria for solution success, making certain to highlight how the innovative pricing solution will be a decision support tool. In other words, it allows users to focus their attention on the highest impact decisions, not replace them.
- Collaboratively design the pricing solution with an end-user focus. Start by designing a high-level mockup of the UI, mapping screens and user interactions to the business processes to demonstrate how the pricing solution will help ease their current challenges. Leverage wireframing tools such as Balsamiq to help quickly define the UI layout and flow. Where possible, create data mockups to make screens feel more ‘life-like’ to users which will prompt effective feedback.
- Keep users engaged throughout the development process to drive adoption. Once each screen is in development, hold working sessions to walk through scenarios and capture feedback to help ensure everyone’s voice is heard. In addition, review the next iteration to validate stakeholder opinions and show your commitment to their feedback. Keep sessions small to maximize the impact, and consider one-on-one review sessions with the high-touch users. Finally, conduct User Acceptance Testing (UAT) with a variety of user groups to ensure multiple perspectives are captured.
- After system roll-out, measure adoption and collect user feedback. Define key metrics to measure adoption (e.g., frequency of overrides) to provide a benchmark for continuous improvements. Even once the solution is in production, it’s important to maintain a feedback loop to capture additional enhancement opportunities. These enhancements should then be prioritized based on the impact to adoption and the effort required to implement (e.g., are there any ‘quick wins’ that would further drive adoption and are relatively easy to develop).
A pricing solution will only be successful if both executive stakeholders and day-to-day decision makers are brought in early, stay engaged throughout the entire process, and use the system to its fullest potential. Unfortunately, low user adoption will ultimately negatively impact organic revenue growth, reduce the solution’s return on investment, and send executives back to the drawing board in search of a fresh solution.
Stay tuned for best practices on key components of an effective pricing UI.