What a Grocery Store and your Web Product Should Have in Common
by Ballistiq May 04, 2018
What a Grocery Store and your Web Product Should Have in Common

Good experience design is design that doesn’t get noticed by the user. Probably you head to the grocery store once or twice per week 1, you’ll spend about 40 minutes per trip 2 and each store will present you with about 39,000 products 3. This means you spend over 53 hours a year in your local grocery aisles. When you check out, about ⅔ of your cart will be things you didn’t intend to buy 4. What you probably didn’t notice was how your grocery store is designed to ensure you keep up these habits.

When you walk into the grocery store - usually you’ll see flowers, this is convenient if you were just dropping in for them, and helps the store feel fresh. Behind the flowers you’ll find produce, and even though you are now thinking about how fresh the produce is, actually the first things on the shelf are probably the oldest, but the store needs you to buy them or they’ll have to throw them out. By now, the smell of fresh bread and cookies are probably wafting your way, helping you to feel hungry so that you’ll buy more stuff. You get smart and decide to avoid walking every aisle so that you’ll be able to make it out well ahead of that 40 minute statistic, but the end of each aisle is full of new and exciting products placed exactly where you’ll find them along the path to the opposite side of the store to get the jug of milk you need. Lastly you’ll check out by waiting in line for at least 3 minutes next to the store’s most profitable goods while you try to ignore the temptation to satisfy your hunger with a Wunderbar. It’s an experience that was meticulously designed to irresistibly engage you in a way that creates a productive relationship for both you and the store. With over 200 million websites today 5, how can you create a user experience that draws your customers through your virtual doors and into an experience that keeps them coming back?

Who Are Your Customers?

To start building the experience that your customers will flock to, you need to know them, and know them well. A user persona is a tool that helps experience designers gain insight into your customer’s emotions, behaviors, and why they will seek out your web product. User personas are fictional but they should represent your key target audiences. To help make them realistic, give them a name, make sure you know how old they are, think about what device they will use to access your web product, describe the interactions and information they are looking for, think about what value and meaning they are seeking, and understand what’s important to them. The more you can empathize with your user(s), the more helpful your persona(s) will be. Don’t be afraid to take a few rounds to iterate on your persona(s) and get feedback from your team during the process.

User Persona Template

Great user personas are built out of great user research or great usage data from your existing web products. Grocery stores succeed at capturing their target markets because they have been collecting detailed data on shopping and purchase habits for many years. Think like a grocery store and really understand why your user comes to visit, what they want to see while they are there, and why they will come back. Once you have good user personas and great user data you can design an experience that will engage your target market.

Key Messages and the Importance of Good Copy

Just as grocery stores optimize their product layout vertically across shelving to ensure customers purchase leading brands and stuff their kids are dying for, a good web product places copy strategically. Some techniques we love are: Highly visible and succinct key messages. Refine and revise your key message statements until they deliver the maximum impact in the smallest statements possible. If you need to add clarity - use bullet points to highlight additional context relevant to the key message. Use text formatting such as font size, or weight, to stress copy with importance.

Key message delivery 1

Stack your messages. Encourage a user to scroll through your site by delivering key messages in a way that builds trust and confidence and slowly converts the customer. As the user moves vertically down your site amplify the intensity of your messaging to move the user down your funnel towards conversion.

Strive for minimal copy to get your message across. Ensure text doesn’t overwhelm your site. Create a visual hierarchy by using space and different text sizes to help draw users towards important highlights. Use visuals to tell a story. Don’t rely on copy as your only technique for conveying messages. Remember, a picture can be worth a thousand words if placed strategically and cohesively.

Preventing the Bounce

Just as the grocery store tempts you with aisle end displays and Wunderbars at the checkout, your web product needs to ensure that users are re-engaged at the moments where they might get bored and bounce away from your site. Understanding your user’s persona and the information of greatest value to them is a key to success in this regard. Position visual effects at moments where a user has been moving through high value information to entice the user to stick with it and keep scrolling. This helps a user stay engaged and also gives the user a moment to absorb the information. Also spread high value messages out to entice a user to keep scrolling to get all the information they want and need.

Minimize links that tempt users away from your key content until the essential messages have been delivered. If you do take users to additional pages ensure key messages are reinforced at the top of these pages.

Ballistiq specializes in creating experiences that stand out by employing user-centric design. If you’d like to learn more about our UX services, get in touch!

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