Laurea students developed future's service concepts for retail company Stockmann.
A satisfied customer is the mark of a successful student project. The students presented the project's results on 8 May at the project's closing event to Stockmann, at the company's headquarters in Pitäjänmäki, Helsinki.
Around 40 students in Laurea's Service Innovation and Design study unit are conceptualising and developing the future's service concepts for Stockmann. Half the team conceptualised customer loyalty ideas, while the other half set their sights on the service experience of the future. The target group comprised young adults and families.
- We wanted the students to take an open-minded approach to considering the importance of customer loyalty to the target groups as well as service and purchase experience at Stockmann in the future. When we commissioned the project, we gave students the freedom to form ideas and break traditional boundaries, Marika Kasurinen, who is responsible for the service experiences at Stockmann, described the background of the project.
Physical and online shops compete for a customer's time
The students' development ideas emphasised digital services, the potential of social media as well as future forms of online shops. The line between physical shops and online shops is blurring, and services based on location, customer profile and multifaceted data will play a larger role in the future when shops compete for a customer's time.
In the future, customer loyalty will be determined by timing. Customers are increasingly less willing to use their time to search for services. Both online shops and physical shops must come to the customer. Mobile devices and artificial intelligence offer excellent possibilities for this.
- We can, without a doubt, find the materials for developing our service concept from these exceptional project assignments. All the presentations looked to the future, but also took into account what ideas could also be put in practice at a quick pace. The presentations and ideas also supplemented one another wonderfully, Ms Kasurinen praised.
Service design provides a flexible and easy framework for developing something new
During the Service Innovations and Design study unit, students learn to develop services and business based on an in-depth understanding of customers. Students observed and interviewed customers at the Stockmann department stores in Helsinki and Tapiola in Espoo, mapped out the opinions of customers who did not purchase anything and collected information on international studies. On the basis of the gathered customer understanding, the students set off to design services from the customer's perspective.
- Many things have already been invented and though up in today's world, and at first it felt challenging to conceive something completely new. However, we succeeded in do so very well, and work in the group was rewarding. A satisfied expression on a customer's face is telling, business student Sari Haapasaari explained after the presentations.
A total of 170 second year students from business, security, information management and service management degree programmes are enrolled in Laurea's Service Innovations and Design study unit. The 10 credit study unit is mandatory for all students. Students from different degree programmes are mixed with one another in the study unit and they work in different teams. Corporate partnerships offer students the opportunity to prove their own competence and develop themselves as experts of service design.
- Based on the customer's positive feedback, we achieved our own goal, and it feels good. We were given carte blanche in our conceptualising work, and this inspired us to really devote our time and energy to this project. Practical project work makes it easy to utilise what we have learnt also in the future, enthused Ilkka Silekoski, who will graduate with a bachelor's degree in security this coming autumn.