Boa Technologies, makers of an innovative and market-leading lacing system widely used on a range of shoes and other products, were not clear on how running and hiking shoes featuring their closure system were being received in retail environments.
Our researcher first set up an overall research plan which relied on observations and intercept interviews with customers in Denver outdoor retail stores. First, local outdoor retailers were contacted about the project and a number of them gave permission for research to take place in their stores. With minimal intrusion to overall store activities, researchers observed how consumers, in their exploration of the wall of shoes, responded and interacted with the Boa lacing system. Consumers were then quickly interviewed to explore more fully their reaction to the Boa lacing system, including their possible excitement and concern about the system. Store employees were also interviewed to gauge both their own personal experience with the Boa lacing system as well as their professional experience in working with customers.
It became clear that both customers and store employees lacked the necessary level of information about the Boa lacing system to feel comfortable either purchasing these shoes or suggesting purchase. Most customers were interested in the Boa lacing system but walked away from the interaction with the shoe with more questions than comfort. Ultimately the research process led to an education and training effort undertaken by Boa Technologies focused on store employees. Consumer-facing marketing materials were also adjusted to answer customer questions and concerns.