Exploring the future of the retail customer experience

Thinking outside of the box

FedEx, the leading international delivery service, was looking for a partner to redesign their existing drop box solution; something that hasn’t been done in over 26 years. Their long-term vision was to develop a diverse retail portfolio of solutions that would put people first, inspire trust, and offer customers solutions on their terms.

Their vision was clear, their ask was clear: “Improve and modernize the retail customer experience, with a focus on the NextGen Drop Box.” In early conversations with FedEx it became clear to us that there would be more to this redesign than just the box.

Partner Since

Services Provided Strategy User Research Service Design Industrial Design User Interface Design Prototyping Design Concept Validation Testing Usability Testing

Our designers gained a holistic understanding of the current drop box service from both the customer perspective as well as the operational side by first mapping out the entire shipping experience, then identifying areas for improvement based off of customer research and known operational pain points. This allowed the team to iterate and validate potential solutions early and often.

Telling the right story

Before we’re able to design the right solution, it’s crucial to step into the shoes of our target users and walk through their experiences to understand exactly what gaps exist for

them in the process. Drawing out these detailed scenarios was the first step in identifying areas of the current FedEx offering that we could enhance through smart service design.

Principles to design by

Out of our design values we generated 4 simple principles to were key to the experience.

Change the way shipping is approached

The modern customer journey eliminates friction and creates delight through intuitively identifying a user’s needs and presenting them with the best solution.

Different needs. Different locations

Surface needs-based solutions quicker by allowing shippers to filter/compare locations based on their unique needs (size of package, printed receipt, store hours, etc.), in addition to viewing a full list of nearby options.

Reduce the uncertainty

Provide convenient in-app access to AI that can digitally walk a shipper through the process of completing a shipment and provide up-to-date tracking information.

Let a box be a box

Leverage technology to help simplify and delight a shipper, but don’t overburden or overcomplicate the basic act of opening and closing a drop box.

Looking toward the future, but being realistic about today

The key component of our strategy was to create a future-forward drop box solution that is scalable and cost-effective while having a meaningful impact in today’s market. To validate our concepts, we created life-sized prototypes to conduct usability testing along this new customer journey.

Let the tech do the heavy lifting

By limiting the technology that exists inside the box, we were able to present solutions leveraging smartphones and computers that can be updated as necessary without having to alter much on the physical drop boxes, which is a costly and time-consuming process.

Map out the touch points

We created a detailed service blueprint that outlines each of the touch points along a customer’s shipping journey, which helped us surface solutions appropriate to the users’ needs in that particular step of the process more quickly.

Prototypes that reflect reality

To get the richest user feedback, we created realistic prototypes to-scale which allowed testers to simulate what it would actually be like to ship a package using the newly designed drop box.

Design, Validate, Repeat.

We’re strong believers of receiving validation on designs early and often. With FedEx, this enabled us to frequently iterate on our concepts and gave us the confidence that our solutions were on the right track.

Going forward

The journey has just begun between FedEx and Handsome. There are still dozens of touch points which can be considered, tested, and innovated.

Final Deliverables

  • Service blueprint

  • Use case scenario storyboards

  • To scale foam core prototypes

  • Visual design language

  • Experience brief

  • CAD design mockups