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How Have our Experiences with Products Changed?

There are three main areas I have noticed things have changed in recent times and this is primarily following COVID restriction and lockdowns, but also due to the digital nature that the world has taken. 

The first one being the beauty and hair care sector and specifically looking at the brand All Things Hair as an example.

This brand like many other are using methods to help the consumer at home, instead of going to the salon as they recently haven’t been able to.  This includes ‘how to’ videos and tutorials, articles and suggestions of what products would be suitable for their hair.  This trend is also strongly marketed by thousands of hair and beauty vloggers and influencers.

hairstyle

And this format doesn’t particularly stop with the hair and beauty sector. We only have to look at the building and DIY industry, with a recent US study finding ‘57 percent of homeowners were placing emphasis on home improvement during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic’ promoting a huge trend in online DIY videos from small, local businesses right through to multi-national chains. These video tutorials have enabled us to complete the DIY tasks during lockdowns, having purchased the products we need from their website.

Retail shopping experiences have changed

Such as the Dyson demo store, a fully 3D interactive walkthrough experience which links to their products and how they work, or when times allow, their stores offer you the fully immersive experience with hands on demonstrations.

Health and Fitness is the next sector to see some ongoing changes

Apple Fitness+ is leading the way in making a lot of content online, so we don’t need to step into the gym, even if they are now open.  The online workouts obviously all seamlessly link to most of their physical hardware products and make the experience flawless for us.This has started a new trend and one that I think will stay, at least for a medium length of time, as the benefits of convenience with the addition of training programs from leading fitness experts are huge.

exercise at home

Sustainability

As we all know sustainability and the need to reduce our carbon footprint in everything we do is one of the most important challenges in modern times.  I have often thought that many companies and brands have been slow to the table and are only changing their ways because they must in order to keep and extend their customer base.  So, when I came across this running footwear brand, it made me happy.

The brand On Running have launched a subscription service for trainers (winning two ISPO 2021 awards), that will be part of a fully closed product loop, meaning that they will recycle the trainers you send back to them to make new pairs.  Their branding is interesting stating that ‘this is the running shoe you will never own’, but they do however want my money!  The shoe is a simple white design with no dyes or colourings. 

Peloton (an online cycling computer trainer), are also now branching out to other hardware such as running and rowing machines and Concept 2, the rowing machine manufacturer, now also branch out to SkiErgs and CycleErgs all with vast online experiences.

More subscription services

Pret are doing a subscription service where you get 5 coffees a day!

coffee

All these product placements are really interesting and it’s exciting to see brands and companies change and develop their strategic position to cope with today’s relentless demands from society. 

Product consumer experience is key and such an important methodology in product design.  A good experience will encourage the consumer to come back and purchase from a brand again and again.  But the need to not deplete the world’s natural resources and to keep the full product cycle in a closed sustainable loop is hugely important.  This juxtaposition of making the experience as whole as possible whilst using as few materials and carbon to produce your products as possible, is essentially the concept that winning companies will embrace.

These discussions into design and consumer behaviour are something we can offer here at Glyndwr, on the BA (Hons), Product Design course. Read more about the course and what it entails here.

About the author

Daniel Knox

Daniel Knox

Daniel has recently joined Wrexham Glyndwr University as a Lecturer in Product Design. Having spent around 14 years working in industry for companies such as Dyson and Unilever in Product Design and Engineering roles, Daniel is really excited about passing on some of his knowledge that he has gained and inspiring future students.

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