UX Retrospective #4: Redesigning a supermarket shopping experience

This project marks the mid point in my UX journey at General Assembly. This time I was paired up with Grace and Vanessa and we were asked to choose our own brand to work on. We chose Cold Storage in the end and did our desk research to derive our problem statement.

A lot of grocery shoppers still experience inconveniences doing it, like ending up with too many plastic bags at the end of a grocery-shopping trip, creating more waste for the environment. For some folks, especially the disabled and elderly, they might also have difficulty managing their shopping and would need help.

Based on our problem statement we focused on two takeaways that would form our KPIs which are:

  • Reduction of plastic bags usage which becomes a non-biodegradable waste in the environment.
  • The number of people willing to use a service which would help both disabled/elderly folks and regular shoppers, bring their groceries home.


Here are some of the key findings we have found from our research online:

There are people who are aware of the in-store/online delivery service but does not use it due to the following reasons
The frequency of visiting grocery stores seems to correlate with age as well
Women were responsible for the store selection more typically than men
People are more than willing to physically do grocery shopping 
if the inconvenience of bringing the items home is addressed
“Consumers are more likely to spend money on companies that care.”

Contextual Inquiry

We have discovered similar findings among majority of our respondents:

Goes to the supermarket to shop for groceries 2–3 times a week in average.
Uses plastic bags rather than recycled bags or trolleys.
Lives nearby.
Aware of the in-store delivery service but doesn’t use it.
Willing to use the proposed trolley rental service if it’s free of charge or has a decent period of loan.

Comparative Analysis

Differences in Services

After research we did a comparative analysis to narrow down differences and similiarities in services provided by the various in store and online supermarkets.


the two types of personas

Looking through our contextual inquiries, we created two different personas that represent the problems faced by our respondents.

Experience Map (before implemented design)

We have also created an experience map to narrow down the pains and pleasures of their shopping experience.

Proposed Solutions

Here are the problems faced by the personas and solutions proposed for them:

Mary the Working Mum

• ending up with too many plastic bags
• difficulty managing their shopping

• Rent-A-Trolley

Mark the Retiree

• need additional help to take groceries home

• Gro-cierge

Feature Ideation

• Trolley rental
• Concierge service
• Digital trolley lock (app profile integration)
• 360 Scanner for damaged carts
• Voice activation
• Cart tracking
• Scan & Go payment (app integration)
• Notification of promotions items via App/Kiosk

After some brainstorming, we have additional features that might benefit the personas but not all will be crucial so we prioritised them in the scale below.

Feature Prioritisation

Feature Prioritisation

Wireframing and Prototyping

After brainstorming for features, we started to proceed with design studio work by drawing out the wireframes in low fidelity and recreating the supermarket with post it notes and paper.

Lo Fi wireframes

Issues faced

• Button labelling on the digital kiosk was not clear
• Service flow at the payment/post payment stage wasn’t clear
• Distance of the kiosk and trolley collection point was not well thought out
• The mobile app being incorporated into the flow made it confusing

Mobile Application
Our initial plan was to incorporate the “Rent-A-trolley” and “Gro-cierge” feature into the existing Cold Storage app, however findings from our usability test indicated that by trying to work the mobile app into the physical space flow, things became more confusing and the users weren’t referring to the app for anything when they were at the physical space. In the end, we decided that app wasn’t necessary and instead focus our attention on the digital kiosk instead.

Usability Test

We proceed to conducted usability tests with 5 people, at various supermarkets and targeted people who best represented our personas, 
aged between 40–60 and some of the issues faced were that 50% of the users didn’t know where the “back” button was at.

Usability Tests (In Situation)

Design Iterations
We went back to the drawing board to redo the Back button and decided that following the iOS design guideline of putting it in the left would be the best practice.

Digital Kiosk Prototype

Left: About service flow. Middle: Registering new user and signing in of existing user flow. Right: Requesting Gro-cierge service.

User Flows: Rent-A-Trolley & Gro-cierge

3D Mockups

Trolley Design Ideas

  • Has to be a 4 wheeler trolley, to allow ease of use
  • Instead of a basket, an expandable bag will be attached to it
  • Customers will have options to adjust bag according to their needs
  • Bag will have a cooler compartment for frozen/cold items
  • Trolley will have tracking device in-built into the security lock
  • Additional bags can be hung on trolley hooks
  • 360 laser scanner on trolley holding container will scan trolleys upon 
     return to keep track of damaged trolley


• All plastic bags are chargeable
• Has to be a registered member of Cold Storage
• Renting of trolleys will be free of charge
• Members would have 3 days to return the trolley
• A fee will be charged to the member if trolley is damaged or unreturned
• Island wide trolley return at any Cold Storage outlet

• Free concierge for your groceries
• Service only applies disabled, senior citizens and people who require assistance
• Service only applies to a 3km radius around the supermarket

Future Iterations

  • Notification of promotional items via App/Kiosk
  • Voice activation for Rent-A-Trolley & Gro-cierge; to aid visually impaired
  • Scan & Go payment attached to trolley
  • Future research recommended to design a flow where users utilise the trolleys from the start of the shopping experience
  • Redesign of app to allow further integration


Choosing the brand and creating the problem statement itself was a challenge for us initially but after research and feature ideation we managed to tame the beast with our service design solution. Lastly, it was great fun working with my two group mates and I hope to work with them again soon.

Team Cold Storage
Like what you read? Give Kenneth Loh a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.