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Would You Like To Try A Sample?

Re-imagining the in-store experience & increasing visibility 

Key Challenges

Low visibility of standalone store in Santana Row, San Jose (see below) due to location. Franchisee noted a few problems:

  • Poor signage may be an issue

  • No direct foot traffic. People need to cross the road to access store

  • Store layout creates congestion upon entry

We visited the store twice. Our first visit was on Friday & we returned the following day. We wanted to compare a weekday with a weekend. Great weather!

Store visits

We visited local stores & a couple of kiosks. Each store had a different layout.

Synthesise findings

Mapped our observations & notes. How did they align the franchisee's initial assumptions? Did we discover anything new?

How We Started

Speak to staff

We spoke to staff at each location to understand their POV (& shortcomings) of their respective store's layout.

Ideate & communicate

Could we design something new or did we find a solution at another store?


We spent time observing how people interacted with each store including our Santana Row location.

Step back & reflect

Did we answer the customer problem? Did we answer the business goals? What could we have done better?

No Store Is The Same

Each store had it's pros & cons & we definitely noticed potential solutions for our Santana Row store however because each store's layout & footprint varied, it meant that what worked for one store wouldn't necessarily work for another.

Example: One store's service counter was 8m inside the entrance, which meant it could accommodate a longer waiting line & people could sample items while they waited. Our store unfortunately did not have this luxury, as the service counter was within 2.8m of the entrance.

What Others Were Doing

Here are some key things we noticed at other stores

Wall signage & menu explanation

Stores with ample wall space had some type of visual which would explain ingredients & how the product is made. In this example, you could read enough details without holding up the line or at least get a quick glimpse of the toppings available. 

The text was slightly small however & affected by natural light. 

Visual labels

Only a few stores did this. Readability from a distance was low however the images made it clearer to understand what the topping actually was. 


The labels were only useful when you were closer to them but beneficial if you were looking to try something new.


One store displayed text-only labels (2nd image) where the text was quite small.

Handing out samples

This looked frustrating at one particular store which was quite busy. Customers were asking for samples (or being offered) & by sampling 3 toppings, it added up to 2 minutes to the wait time.   

Most customers did however, ask for samples especially customers with young children, which highlighted the importance of samples. It just needed to be a more efficient process. 

Menu boards behind service counters

Readability was low from a distance & natural light also affected the signage.


A number of customers stopped, squinted & tried to read the board OR staff would point to a particular area of the menu. 


The numbers/headings 1, 2, 3 outlined the "Steps" to order. Is it clear enough? Self explanatory?  

Interestingly, the 2 images here were from different stores where the menu/image items varied.

What Did We Learn?

  • Menu or information should be placed upon entrance or in a low traffic zone

  • Topping image labels > text-only labels (consider people from non-English backgrounds)

  • Samples were a great idea but needed to be "out of the way" to not increase wait times

  • Every store was different & our client's store was much smaller than others


Use both entry doors for better traffic flow

Simple entry & exit system with 2 entry lanes, 1 to access the side-section featuring samples & disposable spoons/cups

Clear menu signage on main shopfront & above samples

Leverage branding to display informative signage relating to order process & toppings. Customers should be able to read this while sampling toppings (& prior to entry)

Smarter seating options w/device charging stations

Using smart/flexible seating to accommodate ~15-20 customers. Franchisee opted for a breakfast style bench along the large side window which would make better use of the view and sunlight

Provide samples & menus on main sidewalk

Trial of lunch-time sampling on the main sidewalks especially during warmer weather & placement/distribution of menus at or outside major stores. 

Example of branded signage recommendation


Recommendations were put forward to the head franchisee & regional manager. Implementing the recommendations would be based on budget allocation.

Initially, new signage was added to the main shopfront & staff began trialing topping sampling along the main sidewalks & during musical performances.

A sampling table was setup as recommended in the above diagram.


Myself // 1 researcher // 1 BA

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