The solution: start with the customer
We began by understanding how customers shopped in Switzerland. We watched them in Coop’s stores and
online. We knew if we did this, we could work out which features would add most value.
We realised that many of the features that make online supermarkets feel complex are really failed
solutions to some basic problems. Instead of copying competitors, what really mattered to their customers
was doing three things brilliantly:
- Make it easy to find the correct items
- Make shopping quick
- Make it easy to add items to their basket
1. Finding the correct items
With so many products in store, coop@home’s navigation had over time become overwhelming. This is a common
problem. Features such as ‘favourite items’ are supposed to fix this, but they just give the user another
task. We looked deeper.
Most online supermarkets list items by popularity or price. But to shoppers this looks like a random jumble
of products (no one looks for the twelfth most expensive cheese, and everyone expects to find a large packet
of spaghetti next to a small one from the same brand).
So we worked with customers to perfect the categorisation of items and to put the right information about
those products in front of them. We had to ensure this would work in three languages. As with all our work,
we tested, refined and tested again.
2. Making shopping quick
When people use an online grocery shop, they typically add around 40 items in quick succession. Our job was
to make this process as quick as possible.
Our research into how people wrote shopping lists gave us an insight into how to do this. We found that the
words people wrote down as reminders were rarely product names. For example, people write ‘pasta’ on their
list, but they don’t actually mean ‘pasta’, they want ’spaghetti’, or ‘fusilli’ or ‘penne’.
We took this idea and built it into search and browse. Now, when you search for ‘pasta’, your results
include quick links to specific pasta types.