Who wouldn’t want to skip those long  queues?

So this is my first blog post on Medium(or anywhere, for that matter), and it’s about a project that I finished recently. It walks through the development cycle of an app that allows users to scan item barcodes from their phone, add them to the cart and make payment on the phone itself while in a supermarket, thereby skipping the checkout queues.

User Research & Segmentation

It started by me brainstorming on different consumer pain points and noting them down in my diary. Then I thought about what could be done to alleviate the issues and started work on this.

  1. The main issue that this project revolves around is the fact that too many times, there are long checkout queues and while no one likes waiting, you don’t have any choice.
  2. Along with that, customers can also keep a track of their previous receipts as they will all be on the app.
  3. This app can also help them set a budget and stay within that budget while shopping, with regular updates.
  4. From the point of view of the retailer, this app will free up selling space and allowing staff to do more high-value work, as users scan items and add them to the cart themselves, reducing their footprints.

But before I could start work on app design and mock-ups, I needed to tackle the riskiest assumptions that this app faced, which were:

  1. People still go to supermarkets.
  2. People regularly find themselves standing in queues.
  3. People would use their phones to speed up the entire shopping experience.

I did this by talking to a few people and putting up a survey online, which had 120+ respondents. Most people went to the supermarket 1–2 times a week, while 25% of the respondents went 3 or more times. 80% of the people who went to supermarkets found themselves being stuck in long queues often and were willing to use things like digital wallets to streamline their shopping process.

Power Users will be those users who go to supermarkets regularly for daily needs like groceries etc or are frequent shoppers.

Casuals are shoppers who occasionally go to the supermarket and so will not use the app as much as the power users.

User Persona & Story

With the help of Xtensio, I created a User Persona: Simran. She represents the people who are 18–30, and often find themselves stuck in checkout queues. (According to the survey)

User Story: As a power user, I want to be able scan items on my own to minimize the time spent in supermarkets.

Analysis of the competition

The competition for an app like this would be apps that deliver products to the home(Grofers, Big Basket, Instacart). However, this app is targeting the customers that already go to supermarkets and is tackling their pain points, as opposed to general shoppers. This is because in many cases, going to a supermarket physically is much faster than ordering something online and waiting for it to be delivered. The market is huge.

According to a recent report, in-store mobile payments may reach $118 billion by 2018, as more consumers make the shift toward digital wallets and mobile payments. This fact alone tells us about the huge potential that an app like this has.

Wireframing, Mockups and Prototyping

Before beginning with the wireframing, I had to first decide the user flow. I intended to make it as simple as possible to ensure a fluid experience for the user.

User Flow

  1. Login.
  2. Choose a supermarket from the list or search.
  3. Scan items using the barcode scanner and add them to cart.
  4. Go to the checkout page and review your items.
  5. Make payment.

Keeping in mind the user flow, the basic screens were made using Balsamiq. The layout for when the user opens the menu is also given. As you can see, it is extremely easy for the user to quickly add items to the cart and checkout.

Mockups made on Balsamiq according to the user flow

After this, I moved on to a high fidelity prototype, which I made using Proto.io. It has the basic functionality of the app, according to the user flow stated earlier. Not all features in the prototype can be accessed. Click anywhere on the screen to find the hotspots and click on them, it will take you from login to the last stage of the process. Click on the image below to open the prototype.

Prototype.

Metrics

After the product has been created, it is important to test whether the market has an affinity for it. Potential power users like Simran would be the target audience. This is done using metrics. In this case, the metric framework given by Dave McClure would be used: The Pirate Framework (AARRR).

Acquisition: This will deal with how people find the app and eventually become customers. The number of app downloads and new users would be used as a measure. It is important to recognize what channels the users are coming in from, and accordingly react with different strategies.

Activation: This would be measured by the number of first time users of the app, ie people who used the app in a supermarket recording a successful purchase. Incentives can be given to push users to use the app for the first time.

Has Simran logged in to the app? Has she made her first purchase?

Retention: Customer retention is extremely vital as it tells us about the users who are regularly coming back to the app and making purchases in supermarkets.

How many purchases has Simran made since her first purchase? How often does she make purchases?

Referral: Invite codes can be given to consumers, with the user benefiting if the person he invited makes a purchase. This would increase acquisition & activation, while also making sure the user continues to use the app.

How many users has Simran invited to the app? How many of them have made purchases?

For this case, only these four have been used, as revenue is usually measured over a longer term. (CLV etc.)

The Product Roadmap

Since it is the whole app and not a single feature that needs to be pushed, both the design and the engineering will take time. The engineers will have to get all product databases from different supermarkets and integrate them into the app, while making sure they are constantly updated.

Future sprints will tackle bugs that come along the way and any new features that need to be added. With all the resources needed, all the design and engineering should take about 12–14 weeks.

Spreading the word

Since power users will be the ones regularly going to the supermarkets, the best way to spread the word and get customers would be to advertise in supermarkets and also digital payment applications like PayTM, as this app promotes the use of faster payment methods and digital wallets. Landing pages and social media must also be used since these platforms are filled with potential users of the app.

Summary

In short, this article goes through the different aspects that one would need to go through while developing the app. It must be kept in mind that while the prototype is of a supermarket that has groceries etc, the same can be implemented to places that sell clothes and other items as well (like H&M).

There are a lot of other processes that take place as well, like heatmapping and other forms feedback from the user. Since this is just a project and not an actual app, these cannot be done. However, these are extremely vital for the success of any product and so should not be ignored.

ChkOut is a name given to the app just for this .



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