Project timeline This project spanned ten weeks from September - December, 2021, beginning with initial user research to clicakble prototype.

Team members Aaron Thomason, Jillian Santos, Alice Titus, Jinhe Zhu, Kaylene Holvenstot, Michelle Gale, Ken Worrall, Adrienne Foote, Lacy Ramos 

Project Summary The focus of this project is to create a unique way to add value to a grocery store shopping app. After talking to users, a couple of ideas surfaced. This is the result of one of those items, from concept to digital prototype.

Competitive Analysis

  Competitor 1 - Safeway
Product Safeway Mobile App
Describe the purpose of the product Get deals, coupons and rewards with $300 in weekly coupons in-app. Arrange curbside pickup or delivery.
List the main features of the product (at least 3)
  • Customers can order your groceries anytime 24/7
  • Online shopping, with curbside pickup
  • Arrange for grocery delivery Apply coupons easily with digital in-app coupons
  • Safeway Club Card points accrue on line and in the app
Why would someone choose this product? With an emphasis on saving time and money, busy and/or budget-minded users could gravitate towards this app.
What are its advantages?
  • Besides the savings, users can access their history for repeat purchases, including to their in-store purchase history 
  •  App is user friendly Access to app-only specials. *Figure 1 
  •  In checkout users can select how to handle out of stock items – either substitute or skip. 
  •  Easy side-by-side price comparisons 
  •  FreshPass is an in-app add on - a $99/yr service that gives free delivery and exclusive deals - similar to Amazon Prime benefits *Figure 2
What are the weaknesses?
  • Delivery is fulfilled by Albertsons and requires downloading a second app - the Albertsons app or Safeway Delivery & Pickup App. Users can’t even begin to shop without the second app present. *Figures 3 and 4

Generally, app shopping is subject to the same issues as online shopping:

  • Shoppers who typically shop with their own bags can’t do so - more waste
  • Products that users typically pick out products such as fresh produce/meat by handling, inspecting, tapping, etc, are at the mercy of the person collecting the order.
What is customer perception of the product? 4.7 out of 5 stars on Apple App Store with 469,000 reviews, although the major update Summer 2021 was not received well, with many reviewers asking them to roll back the update to the previous version.
Associated Service(s) Delivery
Describe the purpose of the service Save time by shopping on the Safeway app and arrange to have the purchase delivered
List the main features of the service (at least 3)
  • First delivery free through a dedicated Safeway Grocery Delivery app (5 stars out of 125k reviews)
  • Have your groceries delivered when it’s convenient for you
  • Save on transportation or parking costs
Why would someone choose this service? Someone pressed for time or who was unable to get out and shop for themselves could benefit from this service


   Competitor 2 - Whole Foods
 Product Whole Foods Market App
 Describe the purpose of the product Browse sales, order lunch & dinner, discover products, and build a shopping list within the app.
 List the main features of the product (at least 3)
  • You can order your groceries anytime, 24/7 
  • As Whole Foods is owned by Amazon, users can check out using an Amazon account on file
  • Alexa integration “Alexa, add avocados to my list.”
  • Coupons and Deals are available via the Sales tab in the app’s footer
 Why would someone choose this product?
  • Shoppers who live near a Whole Foods and like to take advantage of the ready meals to go feature 
    *Figure 5
  • Users who are fans of Amazon shopping would likely be the primary users of this app.

What are its advantages?
  • The Whole Foods app utilizes the Amazon login. Creating an account in the app is as easy as clicking a button if the Amazon app is on the same device.
  • Upon opening the app a QR code is created allowing users to pay with their Amazon account when shopping in-store. *Figure 6
What are the weaknesses?
  • The app loads very slow, even over wifi *Figure 7
  • The app crashes often and links are frequently broken
  • If users choose a pickup & delivery option it automatically opens the Amazon app - which is much easier to navigate/use
  • The app used to have recipes that users lament being removed. 
  • The interface is confusing - to begin shopping users must click on “Order,” then choose between shopping on or picking up ready-to-eat meals and drinks from a local Whole Foods.
  • Shoppers complain about excess packaging that may or not be recyclable

Generally, app shopping is subject to the same issues as online shopping:

  • Shoppers who typically shop with their own bags can’t do so
  • Products that users typically pick out products such as fresh produce/meat by handling, inspecting, tapping, etc, are at the mercy of the person collecting the order.
What is customer perception of the product?

2.3 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store with 2,400 reviews

Users complain of app stability and interface issues, citing it would be easier to order using a computer or directly in the Amazon app, which the Whole Foods app sends shoppers to *Figure 8

Associated Service(s) Delivery
Describe the purpose of the service Get grocery shopping done on the app without having to go to the store and have the purchase delivered to you
List the main features of the service (at least 3)
  • Delivery is handled by Amazon Prime, so users can set very specific delivery windows
  • Users may live far away from Whole Foods, so the time savings is substantial
  • No extra subscription fee for Amazon Prime members
  • Attended delivery, doorstep delivery, and pickup options available in some locations
Why would someone choose this service? Shoppers pressed for time or those unable to get out and shop for themselves could benefit from this service, or those who already receive a lot of deliveries from Amazon may decide this is more convenient than going out on their own

Competitive Analysis - Summary


Stakeholder Interviews

Why we talked to stakeholders:

The stakeholders would know what business goals they were trying to accomplish, and the SMEs would be the ones who would know where to find the answers to the problems we were trying to solve for. Knowing that they were being consulted early the process would get buy-in from the corporate level, but also help build credibilty for the process and the UX work. The combination of the two inputs would help put a stronger focus on what the organization would consider a successful product release and get the team closer to a customer-focused product.

Who we talked to:

At the corporate level, we interviewed representatives from: 

  • The actual stakeholders - whatever group(s) they were from
  • Any in-house grocery chain analysts
  • Customer service/call center
  • Marketing
  • Support staff (the IT people responsible for maintaining the app)
  • Product buyers
  • Human Resources

What we asked them:

  • How would you define success as it pertains to the app? 
  • Does it translate to a percentage of increased online sales? Greater marketing reach? Greater customer engagement on social media? Better able to reach/target customers?
  • What is the number one pain point you hope this app solves for you?

Contextual Inquiry

Contextual inquiry performed while user shopped at her local Sprouts store.

Tracy - Sprouts grocery store

  • How do you determine when you need to go grocery shopping?
    Usually when I’m out of basics/craving something specific/when I decide to make a random recipe and only have most of the items
  • Do you have a set day and time you always go?
    Nope - just whenever I have the time
  • Tell me about the last time you shopped for groceries online?
    During the early COVID restrictions - mainly to follow the mandates. We had to arrange pickup at a different store because our local one couldn’t get them done the same day
  • Why didn’t you go to the store instead?
    That time was due to COVID and stay at home mandates.
  • How do you decide which sections to shop in?
    I know where the products are I’m looking for, but sometimes I just browse a section if I’d been considering a purchase. I usually get the same things every time and know the order things are. Vegan products should be integrated into the ‘normal’ product sections, or put them altogether in one area. It’s inconsistent.
    I usually start with bread and it’s dumb becasue it ends up flat in the bottom of my cart.
  • Do you have a shopping list? Where do you keep it?
    Sometimes. I prefer to, but don’t always. In my phone Notes app.
  • Once you have found your item and put it in your cart, how do you update your list?
    I don’t. I don’t delete it because I want to buy it again later. The list is a running list.
  • Do you deviate from your list?
    Sometimes. Just a little - impulse, things that are on sale, or see things and I remember it didn’t make the list.
  • How do you choose items? Do you prefer a certain brand?
    Favorite products first, replacements second, last choice is skip it/buy it later. Prefer certain brands of everything. 
  • Do you look at product sales to determine what to buy?
    If its on sale I might buy an extra, but I usually buy what I need. If it something I feel like I will need later and it will keep I will buy it on sale. 
  • What do you impulse buy the most?
    Produce. I feel like I should be eating better and it ends up going to waste because I’m too busy to prepare it.
  • Would you consider getting groceries delivered?
  • Why not do it right now?
    Because I can do it myself. Also - the app(s) I use take too long to figure out. Also, too much packaging when groceries are delivered.
  • Do you use coupons in the app?
    Not consistently - it’s hard and complicated and don’t remember the password for the app. Something logs me out and its frustrating.
  • What would make the app better?
    The app knows who I am, just scan my number when I check out and apply coupons for things I bought. Why do I have to go save coupons?

Affinity Diagram

Affinity diagram of four shoppers’ interview answers. Collaborated on with Jinhe Zhu, Alice Titus and Jillian Santos

Click the image see the PDF.


Using the Affiinity Diagram, we created personas to give our shoppers a real face. Our personas were Todd and Valerie.

App storyboards

Using our personas, we created scenarios that revealed themselves back in our affinity maps.


UX Visioning panel was tasked to find a way for Veggie Valerie to learn about new items at her grocery store that fall within her restrictive dietary constraints - therough her app.

Possibilities shown divided between in-app (out of store) and while at the store.

UX Visioning panel was tasked to find a way to help Todd plan and shop for 10 days of meals for him and his son. They immediately focused on a meal planner element in the store app.

UX Visioning panel thought a slider model could be used to select the dishes that were generated by the meal planner app.