REI has a history of strong performance due to an efficient retail engine and a compelling brand story. However, the power of this story was getting lost on their .com due to a myopic focus on the transaction. Competitors were beginning to build ownership of spaces that used to be REI's. REI looked to our team to deliver an immersive, differentiated digital experience that would bring the best of the REI flagship stores and brand to life.
Defining the solution meant focusing on the full customer lifecycle that maps to the customers' goals and needs — rather than REI's internal organizational structure. We would need to capitalize on REI's brand differentiators, particularly expert advice and curated gear, at key customer moments of truth.
A easy, simple, and fast purchase process is crucial to a functioning business and an effective ecommerce site — but it is not why people choose to give REI their business. People choose to shop (and return) for the experiences that bring meaning to their purchase such as skill and confidence building, or inspiration from a product or peer's story. These experiences should come together in the digital flagship to empower the customer in their outdoor endeavors.
The online space allows us to be both intuituve and clever when inviting customers to discover new content and pathways. In most cases new environments or interstitial pages would feel like a roadblock, challenging me to create more subtle "information scent" which would highlight paths for users, but not threaten or distract someone confident and ready to purchase.
Unlike a typical page-by-page redesign assigment, this project focused on defining innovative and evocative experiences to augment and enrich the already successful, yet exclusively transactional, REI.com. Our team identified high value points to redesign, as well as over 30 brand new tools, features, sales drivers and tactics. I presented detailed explorations of these elements as a system of modular components, to be used by REI to create a feature development roadmap that will continue to be rolled out in agile releases into the future.
Exploring possibilities in the ecommerce space meant re-evaluating our customer's needs, and pioneering beyond simple shopping and buying. We leveraged the massive knowledge base of REI Green Vests (informed guides at REI stores), evocative outdoor inspiration, the brand's passionate and vocal community, and the local ecosystem around stores to pave new connections.
By implementing a custom process with collaboration across 18 disciplines alongside a dedicated team from REI, we were able to direct a customer-centric approach and create a channel-driven storytelling platform. Our efforts delivered a future-ready vision for REI.com, complete with strategy and solutions around key customer journeys.