A digital shopping assistant for the overworked
Julie Nguyen, Evan Ingersoll, and Myself were chosen to come up with an app concept that solves a particular problem. Our scope was pretty large at first, but we narrowed it down to focus purely on a shopping app for users interacting with clothing retailers inside of a mall. The goal for us early on would be to make the experience of shopping less of a reluctant activity and actually more enjoyable.
What is ShopSense?
Sarah Banks has observed that shopping at the mall isn't meeting her time and efficiency needs, which is causing her undue stress and apathy towards shopping at the mall.
How might we improve her shopping experience so that it is more successful based on her time and quality constraints?
User Focus: Who Can Use This Product?
Semi-tech savvy individuals, preferably single mothers in the mid-30's.
Can be used at any mall that has clothing stores within it.
We chose Barton Creek Square Mall for the variety of stores, age groups, price ranges, and proximity to where we live in Austin.
People We Interviewed
Our team worked together to do some guerilla testing with strangers within the mall. Here are the people who were receptive to helping our cause:
Maria and Elizabeth (17 year old high-school students who were shopping together)
Kali (23 year old Event Coordinator eating at the food court)
Dill (42 year old business owner)
Sandra (33 year old single mother of two children)
Insights From User Interviews
No clocks in the mall frustrate most of the people we interviewed since they usually waste more time than they would like to.
The way the mall looks on the inside - all the stores generally look the same at a glance.
They love the idea of personal shoppers that can shop for them.
Dealing with bad customer service
Some of our users just loved the idea of shopping as a way to decompress - when they would have money for clothes, they would spend it.
Proto-Persona and User Persona
We worked to show that our proto-persona looked very similar to the actual persona, so it took a few tries to find an individual who exemplified those characteristics that we were looking for - that person in reality was Sandra. Here she is, Sarah Banks.
Sarah feels frustration when her free time on the weekends is bogged down by visiting the mall. She knows that when she has visited the mall on Saturdays in the past, she has either spent too much money or has felt that she has wasted her entire day trying to find the right outfits.
We wanted to create an app that keeps this pain point in mind and allows her to reserve clothing beforehand, by giving her the option to put things on hold, and then to show up in the store to purchase the items / pay in advance.
UX Scenario (made visible by the Storyboard)
Sarah spends much of her Saturday morning contemplating taking her two children with her to the mall to buy new clothes for the family. She decides to get a babysitter so she can go alone to search for the necessities.
At the mall, she faces different challenges that keep her from her goal of buying only what her family needs.
The crowded spaces in the mall, overpriced items, not being able to find the correct sizes, and taking too much time away from her kids are all factors that give her anxiety throughout the whole process.
At this stage, Julie and I came up with a few rough sketches of choices Sandra would be making before she even came to the mall to shop. There were a lot of factors that contributed to whether or not she would even go, due to all of her frustrations made plain in the empathy map.
This diagram shows a more fleshed out version of a user flow that I constructed. The app would follow an easy path for leading Sandra to shop through the app and in that way she can bypass the human traffic in the mall to just having to pick up her items, pay for them, and then leave quickly.
The screens were all sketched out before we put this together in a high-fidelity prototype in Sketch.
Here you are seeing the checkout screens that will lead the user to either reserve or pay for the items in her shopping bag.
Hi-Fidelity Prototype in Sketch
Next Steps / Future Development
Add a way for users to rate the clothing they bought and the stores they shopped at. Then after data is collected, share the highest rated items first.
Implement a program that continuously updates the inventory in real-time rather than rely on employees to manually enter the inventory.
Have the site create a digital receipt for the user as a way of cutting down on paper costs and protecting the environment.
Partner with businesses within the stores to feature their items first, a kind of SEO option for those businesses willing to provide compensation in return for more marketing of their products.
Consider taking away the "pay in app" feature since most users will need to go in the store and try on the clothing. Just keep the app as a shopping assistant that allows users to reserve clothing before they arrive at the mall to pick it up.