Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The shopping list interface

I have noticed many women make a list of the items they like to purchase before they go grocery shopping. Usually they make detailed lists of items which contain the following-
  • quantity (eg: 2 cans of organic milk)
  • size (eg: 200 gms of Tide Powder)
  • brand (eg: Pantene shampoo)
Some shoppers (usually women with kids) are so organized that they prepare a list which reflect the store's floor plan. These lists are based on
  • sections/departments in the store (the items located in the front side of the store, like fruits and vegetables, are placed on the top of the list as this is what the shopper immediately sees after entering the store)
  • further drilled down to the items in that particular aisle (Under diary section, the first items in the aisle are on the top. eg: If milk is placed as the first item, the shopper will have it on the top under diary section)
This organization of the list helps user save time as they do not have to remember what's needed after going to the store and moving back and forth aisles.

What happens when these organized shoppers shop online occasionally? Most of the retail sites allow shopping lists only for returning users. But let's take this particular scenario -

Sue, 43, mother of 3 kids, who usually make the organized list while shopping, accesses the store's website. She does not have much time and quickly needs to buy few items. She know what she needs to buy, but-
  • she needs to go to that particular department, scroll through so many items and then enter quantity and add to the cart. she needs to repeat the same process for every item.
  • or, she needs to type the item in the search field which displays the results and select and again add to cart
Now what if the whole search process was made lot more simpler.
As soon as Sue entered the site, she is given an option to prepare a shopping list. Since she knows exactly what she wants, she can just start typing, exactly the way she writes the list.
The typeahead feature can suggest or help to quickly select the desired products. She can then directly checkout.

This not only saves her time (as her 3 kids keep her busy) due to the reduced number of clicks, but also help continue the offline shopping process in a much efficient manner.

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