Scout: In-Store Tool that Helps Shoppers Learn


Within the vast field of retail, there are specialized areas like outdoor recreational gear. From our research we found that novice shoppers do a majority of surface-level research on color and style but lack information on technical information regarding safety and maintenance. Technical information is extremely important to understand because in some cases it could be the deciding factor of life and death. Our team designed Scout, an in-store tool that helps shoppers explore and learn about different products and activities and in turn make informed decisions.

Scout is a white-label system, with hopes that the product can be used in other specialized areas of retail.


January 2017-August 2017

Team Members

Maggie Wang

Siyi Kou

Shravya Neeruganti



Frog Design Inc.

My Role

Interaction and Visual Designer

UX Researcher

See Scout in Action



We started with a broad interest in retail, decision-making, and storytelling Outdoor recreational/sportswear stores require more technical expertise compared to clothing stores which rely more on pleasure and preference. We explored the space by talking to experts in the retail and design field. Amidst talking to experts our team has talked to both shoppers and salespeople to better understand the relationship between the two. We have also conducted shop-alongs and user interviews to understand people’s shopping attitudes and behaviors.

Problem Space

We focused on how we can improve novices’ shopping experiences within the physical space of outdoor recreational/sportswear stores.

Physical stores provide a multi-sensational experience that online shopping does not. People can see, touch, smell, and hear in a physical store. Outdoor recreational/sportswear stores require more technical knowledge that novice shoppers may not know enough about to make properly informed decisions. Our team designed a fully-engaging in-store experience for shoppers to explore and learn.

Our team with the 3 months worth of data we analyzed and synthesized! How did we get here?

Our Research Question

"How can we provide relevant information to help novice shoppers in their decision making process?"

Conversations with Experts

We talked to customer experience experts to learn how to solve customer-centric problems through innovative technology. Talking to an exhibition and space designer showed us cutting-edge design in the environment with focus on audience engagement and sustainability, which provided us insights on interactive designs for our project.

User Interviews

We talked to Novice and Advanced Shoppers and asked them to verbally map out their shopping journey to prompt them think of every step they take within the store. It serves to get people’s thoughts and attitudes about shopping.


Shop-alongs allowed us to gain immediate, real-time feedback from both Novice and Advances shoppers and examine actual shopping behavior rather than those being recalled after an event has taken place. It also helped us identify similarities and differences between the 2 groups.

Store Employee Collaboration

We talked to store employees to understand how they can help shoppers explore and learn in-store.

Research Kit here.

Full Research Report here.

Slides here.

A Few Findings

Participant looking at shorts wall

Seeing all the shorts on the wall at once makes for easy comparing

Participant using phone in store

People use their mobile phone to compare price and features online while they are in the store

Salesperson helping participant

Salespeople can provide very detailed feedback on products that improve the shopping experience

Participant trying on shoes

Shoppers go into the store to try on products which they cannot do on e-commerce websites

A clearance section at REI

Having clear boundaries that organize similar products together can help shoppers

Participant walking through REI

The store ambiance can tell a story and motivate shoppers to buy and participate in activities


Taking our Design Principles and Research findings, our team ideated using several different methods. We worked individually, as a team, and even in a group setting to think of ways to solve our user’s problems.

From 25 Ideas to 1

Our ideation was driven by our design principles and research findings.

Our team began to ideate individually and then we came together as a group. We also conducted an ideation session with a group to get a fresh perspective. Our ideas fell into several categories including navigation, previous purchases, and comparisons. We narrowed down on ideas by creating 2x2 matrices and judging the feasibility, desirability, and viability of the concept.

Our first round of team ideation

Storyboards of our Top 4 Concepts

Refining our Concept

With smart flooring, the tiles can provide navigation to specific products or section the customer is looking for. It can also take measurements in real-time. The floor can also be used to call sales people for help.


- Feasibility is way too high!
- Blue sky Idea
- Just a map?


- Role for Salespeople
- Personalization
- Potential tool for learning

Using our research, our team began to refine our concept. We discussed various features that would help solve shoppers’ problems and also help them reach their goals. We created a system diagram and user flow to clearly portray our ideas.

Once our idea was refined, we wanted to test it with our users. Using paper prototyping and video prototyping, we tested our concept with shoppers who were interested in camping but didn't know where to start when selecting products. We wanted to understand what platforms would be the best to use and whether the product should desirability.

A participant testing our In-Store Station

A participant walking around and testing the digital card

Findings from the Prototyping Evaluation Sessions

- Shoppers would like to learn about products in an interactive way rather than scroll through to an e-commerce looking website.
- Shopper are hesitant to download a mobile app.
- Shoppers like having the control to call salespeople.


After evaluating and refining our concept, we developed a visual system and worked on the interaction design of both the in-store station and mobile browser.

How Scout Works

In-Store Station

Shoppers can now get personalized product recommendations and learn about products within their context of use. Salespeople can also use the in-store stations as a means of explaining products in a visual way.

Mobile Browser

With the power of Mobile, shoppers can carry what they learned from the station to make informed decisions. They will also have the control to ask salespeople for help when they need them.

How It Works

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