At The Speed
Of Sound

How do you stay ahead of the competition in a crowded marketplace?

Everyone wants to be able to predict the future. This is particularly true for new product development. But, how do you know you’re making the right thing? How do ensure your product or experience will be met with success?

For over two years, our team conducted Agile Research as an embedded part of the Sonos Direct To Consumer team. In an unmarked warehouse in Carson, California, we brought hundreds of research participants through a full-scale prototype of the Sonos store for one-on-one behavioral UX research sessions. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods to understand, track, and evolve the experience in upwards of 36 different versions of the prototype, these research sessions were evaluative, iterative, and generative, and were utilized to assess and affect everything from architecture and digital products to customer experience and service model.







The results were first manifest in their bold pivot from a traditional store layout – typically a monolithic floor space filled with bright, shiny products – in favor of an innovative pod model, designed to simulate an in-home experience.

Next, our experience principles affected how they would rapidly convey complex messaging. This was instrumental in designing all elements of the in-room digital tablets (concept, UX, and content), which are used to orient consumers to the product by putting them in control of the experience.

By keeping the customer with us along the entire journey – from prototype to launch – we helped Sonos manage the risk of their retail investment, ensuring that their flagship store would deliver an innovative and successful customer experience.

And the critics widely agree – hailing it as “one of the most innovative experiences in retail,” “a must for Music Lovers,” and “it makes the Apple store look like RadioShack.” And those notes are music to our ears.

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