Costco in-store exclusive app: Helping customers enjoy their shopping journey

Duration: May 2021

Team: Cai-Ling Wang, Yu-Hsin Chou, Yi-Chi Chung

Tool: Mirror, Figma, photoshop

My Role: User research, UX design, prototype

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Project Overview
PROBLEM

From interviewing Costco customers from Hsinchu Taiwan, my team and I found out that customers suffer from uncertainty while enjoying Costco's unique shopping experience. It makes their shopping journey less enjoyable.

OUTCOME

We created the in-store exclusive app to provide the assistance that customers need without being disturbed by staff and increase customer engagement during the shopping journey.

Demo: how the in-store inclusive app increases customer satisfaction

01. INTERVIEW

We interviewed four participants with a focus on their emotional fluctuations and thoughts through out the shopping journey

Q1. What do the participants do during the shopping experience at Costco? What are their thoughts? What are the touchpoints?

 

Q2. Is it easy for participants to find a specific item in Costco?

 

Q3. Where do emotional highs and lows happen? Why?

02. PERSONA

We created a reasonable abstract user persona based on the four participants observed by picking out personal backgrounds, traits, and behavior that were shared in common.

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03. USER JOURNEY MAP

We illustrated four individual journey maps based on the interview results about customers' emotions and thoughts. The final user journey map was generated based on not only the individual maps but mainly on the user persona we have created.

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Insights

01

Customers do not want their shopping route and journey to be interrupted

02

Customers are annoyed when they fail to find desired products or staff to inquiry about the information

03

Customers suffered when they are not sure if they have to wait in a long line and forget the product price

How might we design an app that delights users' shopping journeys?
Solution
TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

01. A navigation system leading customers to the product

02. A number draw system for checkout to avoid wasting time queuing

03. An instant price calculation system of products in the cart

04. Rearrange dining area to increase dining place and prevent strangers’ gaze

05. Rearrange scooter parking place to be nearer to cart return area

TO IMPROVE THE OVERALL EXPERIENCE

We introduced the peak-end rule and designed two services to further increase excitement

01. An interactive game with prizes to stimulate a joyful and engaging experience

02. Notify customers when they are closed to the saved item in the shopping list

IDEATION

Considering customers might be busy searching for products or carrying their carts, I simplified the user flow and made all the in-app features and information easy to read and manipulate, such as enlarging the fonts or icons, to avoid increasing users' cognitive load.

Design Principle

Intuitive・Consistent・Minimalist・Delightful

Colors

Neutral

Supporting

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IN-APP FEATURES: SHOPPING MODE

​Customers will be notified to turn on the shopping mode as they arrive at Costco to enjoy the following services.

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IN-APP FEATURE 01:
SEARCH PRODUCT & NAVIGATE TO IT

The simple and clear navigation instructions will lead customers to the product they want effortlessly

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IN-APP FEATURE 02: 
CHECK PRICE

Customers can check the price of every product if they forget by using an in-app camera, and the amount will be added into the cart.

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IN-APP FEATURE 03:
JOIN THE CHECKOUT LINE

There is no more need to proceed or time wasted for checkout! The estimated waiting time for checkout will be displayed in the app, and customers can join the line right away.

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IN-APP FEATURE 04:
SHOPPING LIST REMINDER

Customers will be reminded when they the items saved in their shopping list are nearby.

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IN-APP FEATURE 05:
INTERACTIVE GAME

There are various limit-time stands in Costco, and we design the interactive feature to engage customers' involvement. When getting close to the stand, the customers will be notified to join the interactive game. By choosing one of the treasure boxes, customers will earn coupons that they can use in Costco.

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Usability Test
SUS RESULT

We invited three participants to complete six tasks and conduct a usability test with System Usability Scale (SUS) according to their experience with the app. The SUS score is between A and C, with an average score of 75. It means people love this system to some degree but there is much improvement to be made.

Tasks
Feedback
Draw a number for check-out
Nice, but want to be notified before it is their turn
Be reminded with the items saved in the shopping list
Nice, but phone battery may drop quickly if the location service needs to be turned on all the way
Scan a barcode and see how much they have to pay
Nice
Play an interactive game
Nice. An easy way to win a coupon
Finding location of the yogurt
It will be better to have related keywords to be referred to while typing product names
Turn on Shopping Mode
Shopping Mode button should be more distinguishable
What I Learned
TESTING AND ITERATION MAKE PERFECT.

Considering the app often displays full of products on the screen, I tried to maintain minimalist while designing. However, the SUS test score is lower than expected as some of the users cannot find out the button to turn on Shopping Mode. If we conduct the test earlier, we will have a better idea of the user's mind and make our design more user-friendly.