People’s Motivations While Preparing Their Grocery Shopping Lists
This article outlines a diary study and analysis of gathered data for a shopping experience. This study was conducted by and for Humber College students for the course: Empathetic Research Frameworks.
The study was conducted by Vaibhavi Patankar, Gokhan Arslan, Fatih Murat Bozdemir and Pratiksha Kathiriya.
The goal of this project was to put the “diary study” research method into practice while studying user experiences about people’s shopping habits for their meals. The deliverables of this project include brainstorming a dairy study plan with a solid yet refined research question, conducting and scheduling the diary study as well as organizing and analyzing the gathered data.
Grocery Gateway is a food delivery company that aims to improve its customer satisfaction. The company hired our UX research team to help them understand the current behaviors, motivation and experience of meal preparation and expect to better understand the users’ shopping habits.
What are people’s motivations while preparing their grocery shopping list?
A diary study is a form of user research where participants self-report their activities regularly in order to create data about their activities, attitudes and expectations. It is a research method often associated with ux and service design projects. This approach helped us gain contextual and qualitative data from the users. As the name indicates, after they encounter a certain behavior or condition, users submit a “diary entry”, The purpose wasn’t limited to organic behavioral insights. We wanted our data to be as natural as it could be. Their entry is driven by a set of prompts that will provide valuable information to examine. By completing our research with a Diary Study, we gained insights into the experiences of participants that helped us recognize and discover emergent themes. We have both scope and depth of data based on the research carried out in this course to draw conclusions about the business opportunity and the users.
Conducting the Study
We conducted our study through a survey, the survey includes a process of answering multiple-choice and open-ended questions about the bought foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We decided to conduct the study using the Google Forms because of how easy it was to customize, review and share the data.
Our diary study was conducted over 3 days and each participant was asked to submit 3 entries per day. These entries included uploading product photos before the users cook their breakfast, lunch and dinner meals. The diary entries were submitted via an electronic online questionnaire which contained 5 prompts. Our detailed research question reflects these prompts.
Five participants were recruited to complete this study.
Prior to our study, we created forms and channels for us to contact the participants and sent an introductory message to let them know what the aim of our study is. We used the channel to remind them about a survey to complete containing a Google form link.
Over the 3 days duration, we coordinated the study and the guidelines with our participants and tracked the entries. We read all the responses we got from conducting a survey, pulled out some important entries. To organize and categorize the qualitative data into groups based on their relationships, we used the affinity diagram technique to arrange our findings and analyze the data into distinct themes.
As a UX team, we created an affinity diagram on Mural. We categorized the data very carefully and had a brainstorming.
60% of our participants prefer eating and cooking traditional meals or food from their native place. When they had a traditional meal, we observed that they are happier than the other times. They used some traditional ingredients for those special meals. So, we can easily say that people’s cultural background affects their shopping habits.
Lots of our participants indicated that eating healthy is one of the major reasons for their product selections. 22% of meals were cooked to intake healthy food, by our participants.
Since all our participants are students and most of them have also worked, their common pain points is that they can’t find enough time for cooking. They would rather cook one time and have the same meal for couples’ days or buy prepared products. According to our data, 66% of all entries were about having limited time.
Emotional and Physical conditions
Our insight shows that 18.8 % of all entries were about choosing their meals based on emotional or physical condition. If a person feels exhausted or sad, then they rather not cook.
Trying something new
Even though busy work and study life don’t give them much time, People sometimes want to eat different food to enjoy their meal. 11 of the meals were related to participants’ desire to try a new taste.
We observed that having allergies and grocery shopping has a direct relation. People who have allergies must consider this situation while shopping.
80% of participants prefer low-priced meals. That is, they prefer buying products that are affordable, can be used for a long period of time or can be reheated to avoid spending more money on new food items.
We learned how to identify people’s behaviors, motivations, needs and pain points by analyzing their daily eating habits on the affinity diagram. We realized the importance of building a good research question. As the foundation of the whole study, we knew it would be important to make one that was broad enough for unexpected answers but at the same time yield usable information.
By creating survey questions through Google Form got our quantitative and qualitative data. They are crucial for our analysis. Another thing we realized is that not all participants will actively respond, we shouldn’t assume and set the expectations about the participants before the study. And we should be prepared for any kind of response from participants.
What would we do differently next time?
This project was a great first look into a Diary Study. We had a chance to make mistakes and learn from them. An important thing we learned was how much prep time it takes to organize and prepare the questionnaire. Gathering contact info, setting up the Google Forms and writing the onboarding messages takes a good amount of time that cannot be delayed.
Lastly, we asked the participants to share product pictures before they cook them. However, some of our participants shared their cooked meals. There can be two reasons for that: 1. They forgot to submit an entry before they cooked. 2. We might be not so clear about what we exactly want from them. That’s why in the next study we will be clearer with the instructions.
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