The problem with grocery stores

Problem Statement:

A 2015 Consumer Reports study shows 12 of the most common grocery store shopper complaints include:

  • Confusing Layout
  • Out of stock on basic, non-sale items
  • Out of stock on advertised items

Design Consideration: 

How can the experience in a grocery store be more informative about the state of the store to assist customers and employees?


Why are they at the store and what do they need to accomplish?


  • Making shopping list, finding deals, locating items


  • Restocking, helping customers, cleaning/organizing, checking out

User Journeys:


Before going to the store:

Planning shopping list, recipe/item recommendation, check for sales/coupons, look up nearby stores

At the store:

Map locations for list (perishables last), find specific items, ping employee for problems, notify item needs restocking, notified of sales walking by, something to distract child?

After the store:

Found everything?, alerted when unstocked item is restocked, recommended recipes based on what bought?


Before going to the store:

Knowing about promotions or sales in the store, communicating with managers and other employees, suggest items to customers (weekly employee recommendation to encourage customers to try new products or recipes gives you a connection to the people working there)

At the store:

Getting called to different areas of the store (are the checking lines full?), restocking items, helping customers find/reach things, cleaning up messes (mopping floors, cleaning shelves and fridges), returning shopping carts, rearranging the store (moving sale items to the front), tracking breaks

After the store:

Track hours, employee incentives, they also are probably customers at the store and use the app in that way


Further Research:

Problems with retail:

According to statistics in 2017, 69% percent 1 of customers still prefer to shop in-store rather than online when buying products such as automobiles, phones, apparel, toys, kitchen appliances, tools etc. Since the interest in in-store shopping is still significantly high, it is important for retailers to create value in the experience of shopping to draw customers in their stores. The Vice President of Apple, Ron Johnson explains Apple Store’s success by pointing out to their improved customer journey and mentioning how retail shopping isn’t what is broken but “It’s their lack of imagination—about the products they carry, their store environments, the way they engage customers, how they embrace the digital future.” 2 Denis Ghys, the managing director of These Days, explains the importance of customer journey by stating “You need to design the store of the (near) future, define your proposition and beat out the competition in the process. And it all starts with shaping future customer expectations and paving the way to superior service” 3

With these ideas in mind, our goal looks towards a future where in-store experience is assisted through UX design to build a relationship between the customer and the employees that reduces frustration and makes the whole experience more efficient.


Grocery stores are an important retail situation considering everyone needs food. With this in mind, we decided it would be important to focus our efforts. Here are the main problems we hope discovered regarding the shopping experience:

  • According to the Time Use Institute, the average shopping trip takes 41 minutes. If you multiply that by the 1.5-trip per week average, that’s over 53 hours per year you’re spending in the grocery store.

  • 75% of supermarket shoppers do tend to visit the most conveniently located store, but 25% will go further to get to a store that offers better quality and variety, lower prices, better sales, and a clean location.

  • In 2014, grocery stores offered more than 42,200 items on average.

  • When asked, 30% of shoppers complained of uninformed or indifferent staff

  • 80% of shoppers make between 1 and 10  trips to the grocery store within two weeks. Only 39% of shoppers say they know the employees at the store they shop at.

  • 59% of consumers are motivated to shop at a new grocery because of in-store events and social media engagements. The majority would like the app to include coupons and 73% want current pricing to be available. Additionally shoppers want notifications for special events, product assortment, samples and recommendations from store associates.


Presentation: Problem statement

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