LUNAR: the future shopping experience - Results and insights about this imec ICON-project

(05-07-2018) The past two years, mict researchers Stephanie Van Hove and dr. Anissa All have researched how shopping experiences could be made more efficient and enjoyable.

The LUNAR project was directed by a technological and societal challenge. Whereas the technological challenge pointed towards the importance of developing an accurate and scalable solution for the real-time tracking of customers’ shopping carts in retail stores, the societal challenge aimed at making the grocery shopping experience more efficient and enjoyable. Eventually, the answer to a primarily technology-driven question was a smart shopping cart with a touch screen built in the handle. The smart shopping cart guides the customers through the supermarket based on the position of the shopping cart in the supermarket and the customer’s shopping list. It serves as an inspiration tool with contextual promotions, resulting in a more efficient and enjoyable shopping experience. The project followed a mixed-method approach, consisting of six user research steps that constitute the three innovation process stages: ideation, concept development, and validation.

imec-mict-UGent was involved in the following research steps:

1. In the ideation stage, four shopper profiles are identified based on elaborate questionnaires amongst 449 people. The shopper archetypes are predominantly defined by a combination of their socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported purchase history and attitudes towards shopping.

2. Thereafter, observations were conducted in a real supermarket following the mystery shopper approach. The personas were further detailed with ethnographic data and in the end linked to concept functionalities, resulting in four full-fledged personas.

3. The concept development stage constituted of three co-creation workshops with customers and retail employees that built on the insights of the observations and the sensitizing personas. Throughout these co-creation workshops we proceeded from an idea longlist over a feature shortlist to a visual concept.

4. In the Wizard of Oz evaluation, the researcher (or “Wizard”) simulated the system interactions, as if the participants were interacting with a functioning product. We found that the social experience is more important than the digital experience, and customers wanted to know the product's exact position instead of the rayon of the product category.

5. After having improved the concept based on the findings of the Wizard of Oz implementation, the concept is implemented and experimentally evaluated in a mockup retail store (N = 59). In this field experiment two use cases of the smart shopping cart are evaluated; the display-service of, on the one hand, the location of the users and the products on their shopping list and, on the other hand, the contextual promos.

6. Eventually, the adoption potential of the technology and its features have been estimated in a large-scale survey for both the context of a supermarket and a sporting goods store (N = 587). In this survey the concept and its use cases are presented, as well as possible thresholds and points of pain. Specific features of the smart shopping cart were linked to definite persona characteristics.

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