The Fresh Market

Redesigning a gourmet supermarket to reengage customers
  • Challenge: Reconceptualize Fresh Market’s operations and services to improve the experiences of their customers and employees
  • Clients: The Fresh Market, The NCR Corporation
  • My Role: Researcher (user and market), Interaction designer
  • Duration: January 2017 – May 2017
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Stakeholder Map
  • SWOT Analysis
  • In-store Ethnographic Interviews
  • User Personas
  • User Journey Map
  • Service Ideation and Design
  • Video Prototyping
  • Pen & Paper
  • InDesign
  • Illustrator
  • After Effects


The Fresh Market (TFM) is an upscale, gourmet supermarket with 30 years of history selling quality fresh food. Consumers’ desire to purchase quality, natural and organic food products fueled TFM’s strong growth into a good distribution network of over 130 stores across the U.S.

It was smooth sailing for TFM until 2010, when competitors from the west coast invaded the market and quickly capitalized on the organic food segment. Given their current position, we attempt to redesign TFM’s service, reconceptualizing a new customer experience for TFM customers in the next 5 years. The aim was to reengage customers in a new experience of food that would inspire their shopping carts and bring them back to TFM again and again.

Note: The views and opinions in this project are ours and do not reflect those of Fresh Market or NCR.

Understanding The Brand From The Inside

With kind assistance from NCR Corporation, we interviewed stakeholders from TFM to get a comprehensive picture of the internal workings of the company. Combined with online research and annual reports, we came up with a stakeholder map that weighs all of the competing demands on TFM by each of those who have a claim in it.

Who Shops at TFM?

We appropriated research methods to answer both UX and Market research questions.

  • Why do customers shop at TFM? 
  • How do they shop at TFM? What is are the user interactions across all touchpoints with products, services, and the brand?
  • What are customers’ attitude and perception towards the brand and products? What socioeconomic statuses exist?
  • What kind of purchasing decisions do customers make and how do they come to that decision?

Conducting in-store ethnographic interviews where we would investigate touchpoints and shopalong with willing customers

Some lengthy product labels that TFM had placed to introduce their products as a story to customers

We affinity mapped the qualitative data after the session. It was gradually expanded as we conducted more in-store sessions.

Service Ideation

Full case study coming soon. The details of the design phase will be explained.

Fresh Market Reimagined

Preliminary Reflections

How to blend User Research with Market Research

At the beginning of the project, it seemed as though all I was doing was market research – customers’ spending habits, buying triggers… Where was the space for UX research? I felt slightly lost and disoriented until I figured out the role for user insights.

Service design doesn’t only examine how customers buy and access a product, it also considers interactions that take place as customers discover, get support, reengage and leave the store. Given that it’s still people-focused and iterative, I could use contextual inquiries to get deep qualitative understanding of the user and validate it with market research metrics. No big deal, just a transfer and extended application of existing skills in the overlap between ux and market research