David Harrison Ferrell's orange brand with the logo resembling a scribble on the left.
Product Design, Exhibition Design, Experience Design, UX Research - 2021

This Master's Thesis project aims to conceive an innovative technology positionable within the current experiential retail context, capable of responding to the identified user needs and pain points that emerged in the previous research phases.

Supervisor: Prof. Massimo Zancanaro

Final grade: 110 cum Laude/110.


This manuscript aims to investigate the R&D cycle focused on designing a novel phygital retail interactive technology, i.e., the AI Style Experience, conducted with ABS Group srl, an Experience Design firm based in Vittorio Veneto. Upon the impossibility of validating the initial product concept proposed by the company, it was abandoned, thus leading to define a new problem statement: to conceive an innovative technology positionable within the current experiential retail context, capable of responding to the identified user needs and pain points. This research comprised three cardinal phases, i.e., user research, ideation, and user evaluation and three primary data-collection methods, i.e., interviews, workshops, and focus groups, and was concluded with the product concept’s relatively positive evaluation. The findings suggest that a change of mentality is underway, characterized by the retailers’ open position towards innovative and digitized store environments and the users’ acceptance of the novel technological wave, which leads them to spend more time in stores. The customers, who want to simultaneously be entertained and supported while purchasing, feel that the AI Style Experience is capable of doing so. However, they do not unanimously perceive it as a technology that can simplify decision-making processes and, generally, view it as a technology that does not enrich society from a “human” viewpoint, which triggers fears of the occurring societal changes. Hence, this manuscript sheds light on the current landscape’s transformations and the arising risks and problematics in order to comprehend how to move forward in this novel paradigm marked by the necessity to achieve a balance between human intervention and machines that are beneficial, rather than harmful, for human beings within the retail context. Indeed, retail technologies should aid individuals in the long run – and not replace or overwhelm them – while simultaneously giving rise to enriched and evermore astonishing experiences. Thus, recommendations were given to ABS Group to ensure this outlook.

AI Style Experience core technology sketch.

This project is framed within a formal R&D cycle completed during the internship in ABS Group srl, an Experiential Design firm in Vittorio Veneto, Treviso, Italy. Its concept revolves around an experiential, integrated, modular, scalable, and decoupled technology for the retail environment that intends to support to customers’ purchases while simultaneously enhancing the overall experience through various functions such as outfit and style suggestions, outfit configurations through the use of a 3D model, and QR code scanning possibilities to receive item information and determine if one’s size is available simply based on height and circumference.

ABS Group Research & Development cycle that gave rise to the AI Style Experience.

This system comprises a core technology which encompasses a curved, immersive LED wall, a touchscreen encapsulated within an aluminum and fabric cylindrical structure, a 3D spatialized audio speaker, coupled with a tablet for each sales associate, and a web app which was conceived to remove the burden of having to download an app on one’s personal smartphone.

AI Style Experience core technology concept design.

The additional modules include a 3D body scanner for body measurement retrieval, a connected style locker for item reservation and trial and pickup within the physical store environment, an AI fitting room composed of a touchscreen, a camera, a series of LED walls, and a Hot & Cold Experience to fully immerse the users within the reference contexts of the garments they’re trying on, and an instant stylist for item customization and tailoring within fourty minutes.

AI Style Experience retail concept.

The AI Style Experience is grounded in Design Thinking’s Double Diamond Design Process Model in order to inform each successive design phase. In this manner it was possible to position this new product concept into retail’s changing landscape denoted by the presence of phygital technologies that currently intertwine the physical, digital, and also biological realms within the novel experiential retail landscapes. An article regarding the project was published and presented at CHItaly '21: 14th Biannual Conference of the Italian SIGCHI Chapter in Bozen, Italy.

AI Style Experience customer journey.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again.