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Improving shopping experience at Target

A case study on how we conducted research to find out the friction in the shopping experience and provided solutions to come around that.

 

Duration

Sept - Dec, 2018

(3 months)

Team

Jashan Gupta

Modassir Iqbal

Varsha Kori

Xueyin Liu

My Role

User Research

Data Analysis

Product Design

Tools

Adobe Photoshop

Pen & Paper

Post-it Notes

Sketch

White Board

Overview

On August 2017, Amazon bought one of the biggest grocery chain: Whole Foods for a whopping $13.4 billion. This deal shook the entire retail industry since Amazon is well known for its tough measures to kill any competition. Amazon has dominated all the industries it stepped in and now has its eyes on the Retail Shopping.

Further, Amazon Go already gives a glimpse into what the future of shopping at the retail stores could look like and how it can disrupt the entire industry by providing a much better shopping experience.

 

With this semester-long project, we aimed to find out the pain points in the shopping experience and suggest solutions that can give Target a competitive edge over its competitors. 

"How do we improve the shopping experience at Target?"

Process

Research

1. Competitor Analysis

We analyzed the mobile apps of Costco, Walmart, and Target and found:

  • Both Costco's and Walmart's is focussed on online shopping.

  • Target promotes both online shopping as well as in-store shopping on its mobile app.

  • Target app offers a lot of discounts to motivate shoppers to visit the stores.

We further found following functionalities in the Target app which also has a lot of limitations:

2. Literature Review- Karen Holtzblatt’s ‘The Easy Shop’ Project

We reviewed Karen’s ‘The Easy Shop’ project intended at ‘Supporting Grocery Shopping’. I analyzed the pluses and minuses in the work, which helped us in getting a better understanding of our project. There were similarities with our project focus. However...

Pluses:

  • The team researched the planning and collaboration that takes place before visiting a store.

  • Interviews were conducted before, during, and after grocery shopping.

Minuses:

  • Karen’s team didn’t elaborate on the reason behind focusing on the experience of only dual-income families.

  • They didn’t mention if different income categories were considered and what percentage of people were interviewed from each category.

  • Not a lot of details were provided about the after grocery shopping experience, which can influence the next shopping experience of the user.

3. Stakeholder Interview- Interviewing the Target Store Manager

We also spoke to the in-store assistant manager which helped us understand how Target viewed innovative solutions, the complexity of their management and shopper-engagement processes.

  • Interview session: 20 minutes

  • Interview type: Semi-structured Interview​

“We want to leverage current technology to make shopping more effective and easier for our customers.”

-Target Store Manager

4. Contextual Inquiry

We conducted 9 contextual inquiries. Given below is the demographic information about our 9 interviewees, who belonged in the age group of 23-47 years. There were 7 females and 2 males out of which 7 were single and 2 were married.

If you'd like, the interview guide can be viewed here.

Research Analysis

Each contextual inquiry was followed by an interpretation session where the interviewer shared their interview experience with the rest of the team. The interviewer went through each of the notes he/she took during the inquiry. We also cleaned and prepped the data for a detailed qualitative analysis and communicative models.

We used the data to build up an inductive diagram that grouped individual data into larger themes to enable quick communication and provided easily accessible design insights. 

While we discovered a lot of shopping pain points with some interesting patterns. Here are some of the major findings:

 

 Challenges faced by shoppers

  • Hard to remember what items to buy.

  • Hard to find the needed items in the stores.

  • Hard to find relevant information like Ingredients, Calories, Expiration Date, etc.

  • Hard to find the cost of an item as items are often misplaced.

  • Both staff and self-checkouts are time-consuming.

  • Hard to discover discount offers.

Reluctancy in trying new items

  • Unlike online websites, there are no reviews next to the item and hence harder to trust a new item.

  • Limited information on how to use certain items.

Ideation

Using the gathered data, we created different experience models that allowed us to immerse ourselves in the data and thus create solutions with that in mind.

Sequence Model

The sequence model helped us understand how a shopper thinks and performs the various tasks involved in shopping from planning and making lists until they check-out of the store.

Full sequence model can be viewed here.

Identity Model

The identity model highlights aggregated behavioral idiosyncrasies of shoppers into certain identities (eg: Healthy Shopper) that enabled us to quickly glance at the various target personalities of shoppers.

Full identity model can be viewed here.

Day-in-the-life Model

The Day in the life model allowed us to look at the various points of contact of a shopper with a modality or entity regarding shopping throughout the day.

Full day in the life model can be viewed here.

Brainstorming Session

In Contextual Design, the Wall Walk is the first step for coming up with design ideas for the product concepts. In the Wall Walk, participants, whether they were involved in data collection (contextual inquiries) and consolidation or not, immerse themselves in the data (affinity diagrams) in preparation for design. The goal is to help designers link design ideas to the data—the real structure and challenges of the users’ world. We selected the top “hot ideas” and came up with various design ideas for the product as shown below.

 
 
 
 
 

Duration

Sept - Dec, 2018

(3 months)

Team

Jashan Gupta

Modassir Iqbal

Varsha Kori

Xueyin Liu

My Role

User Research

Data Analysis

Product Design

Tools

Adobe Photoshop

Pen & Paper

Post-it Notes

Sketch

White Board

Overview

On August 2017, Amazon bought one of the biggest grocery chain: Whole Foods for a whopping $13.4 billion. This deal shook the entire retail industry since Amazon is well known for its tough measures to kill any competition. Amazon has dominated all the industries it stepped in and now has its eyes on the Retail Shopping.

Further, Amazon Go already gives a glimpse into what the future of shopping at the retail stores could look like and how it can disrupt the entire industry by providing a much better shopping experience.

 

With this semester-long project, we aimed to find out the pain points in the shopping experience and suggest solutions that can give Target a competitive edge over its competitors. 

"How do we improve the shopping experience at Target?"

Process

Research

1. Competitor Analysis

We analyzed the mobile apps of Costco, Walmart, and Target and found:

  • Both Costco's and Walmart's is focussed on online shopping.

  • Target promotes both online shopping as well as in-store shopping on its mobile app.

  • Target app offers a lot of discounts to motivate shoppers to visit the stores.

We further found following functionalities in the Target app which also has a lot of limitations:

2. Literature Review- Karen Holtzblatt’s ‘The Easy Shop’ Project

We reviewed Karen’s ‘The Easy Shop’ project intended at ‘Supporting Grocery Shopping’. I analyzed the pluses and minuses in the work, which helped us in getting a better understanding of our project. There were similarities with our project focus. However...

Pluses:

  • The team researched the planning and collaboration that takes place before visiting a store.

  • Interviews were conducted before, during, and after grocery shopping.

Minuses:

  • Karen’s team didn’t elaborate on the reason behind focusing on the experience of only dual-income families.

  • They didn’t mention if different income categories were considered and what percentage of people were interviewed from each category.

  • Not a lot of details were provided about the after grocery shopping experience, which can influence the next shopping experience of the user.

3. Stakeholder Interview- Interviewing the Target Store Manager

We also spoke to the in-store assistant manager which helped us understand how Target viewed innovative solutions, the complexity of their management and shopper-engagement processes.

  • Interview session: 20 minutes

  • Interview type: Semi-structured Interview​

“We want to leverage current technology to make shopping more effective and easier for our customers.”

-Target Store Manager

4. Contextual Inquiry

We conducted 9 contextual inquiries. Given below is the demographic information about our 9 interviewees, who belonged in the age group of 23-47 years. There were 7 females and 2 males out of which 7 were single and 2 were married.

If you'd like, the interview guide can be viewed here.

Research Analysis

Each contextual inquiry was followed by an interpretation session where the interviewer shared their interview experience with the rest of the team. The interviewer went through each of the notes he/she took during the inquiry. We also cleaned and prepped the data for a detailed qualitative analysis and communicative models.

We used the data to build up an inductive diagram that grouped individual data into larger themes to enable quick communication and provided easily accessible design insights. 

While we discovered a lot of shopping pain points with some interesting patterns. Here are some of the major findings:

 

 Challenges faced by shoppers

  • Hard to remember what items to buy.

  • Hard to find the needed items in the stores.

  • Hard to find relevant information like Ingredients, Calories, Expiration Date, etc.

  • Hard to find the cost of an item as items are often misplaced.

  • Both staff and self-checkouts are time-consuming.

  • Hard to discover discount offers.

Reluctancy in trying new items

  • Unlike online websites, there are no reviews next to the item and hence harder to trust a new item.

  • Limited information on how to use certain items.

Ideation

Using the gathered data, we created different experience models that allowed us to immerse ourselves in the data and thus create solutions with that in mind.

Sequence Model

The sequence model helped us understand how a shopper thinks and performs the various tasks involved in shopping from planning and making lists until they check-out of the store.

Full sequence model can be viewed here.

Identity Model

The identity model highlights aggregated behavioral idiosyncrasies of shoppers into certain identities (eg: Healthy Shopper) that enabled us to quickly glance at the various target personalities of shoppers.

Full identity model can be viewed here.

Day-in-the-life Model

The Day in the life model allowed us to look at the various points of contact of a shopper with a modality or entity regarding shopping throughout the day.

Full day in the life model can be viewed here.

Brainstorming Session

The major pain points of the shoppers were now pretty clear and thus we jumped into brainstorming to discuss several different solutions.

Design

 

The experience models and brainstorming gave us more clarity on how to solve a shopper's pain points and then we created low-fidelity wireframes to map out those solutions.

1. Shopping List

The app will allow easy collaboration between people to create shopping lists. It will support creating different shopping lists for multiple stores, provide product recommendation based on profile and previous shopping history, create multiple shopping lists with multiple people, mark certain products as “Favourite”.

2. AR Navigation

The app will have the feature to navigate inside the store using AR technology. It will pick the quickest path for shopping and integrate it with the shopping list to show the product location inside the store. It will have the ability to navigate to an item as per the shopping list and show placement of a product on a rack. It will also provide a 2D map to have bird's-eye view of user’s position.

3. Product Information

The app will be able to scan the barcode of a product (using the mobile phone’s camera) to give product information as the result. User will be able to see basic information of the product like price, reviews, ratings, discounts, etc. They will also receive personalized information (calorie content, nutritional value, food allergies) based on their profile. They can see product reviews and ratings with highlighted reviews and ratings from a friend (so as to distinguish between the public review and rating and that by a friend). Additionally, the app will also provide information on “how to use a product” (through videos, recipes, pictures, description, etc.) to help understand if it’s something usable for them and make better buying decisions.

4. Mobile Checkout

The stores will have modified shopping carts with cloth/poly bags in it to save user’s time of putting the items in the bag at the end of shopping. The app will have ‘Add to cart’ option in order to directly purchase it by scanning the product barcode and paying for it using saved cards on the app. They can also split the payment between different cards, if needed. Users will get an e-receipt directly on the email and will have the option to request other people for payments during checkout. In order to weight items such as bananas, potatoes, etc. during checkout they can make use of an external weighing scale located inside the store.

Other Work

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