MIMEX USER STUDY
This study was conducted between April and August 2022 at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Trento, Italy).
OBJECTIVES OF THE USER STUDY:
This user study explored hands-on experiences with the first MIMEX prototype constructed inside Fondazione Bruno Kessler in Trento, Italy.
The aim of the study was to investigate and validate the different phases of the shopping process (onboarding, in-store shopping, and the exit experience) while focusing on participants’ feelings, opinions, and perceptions.
Moreover, this study intended to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the MIMEX prototype in the hope that it would lead to a better design and subsequent shopper experience in the two Pilots planned to be launched later in Spain and Turkey.
HOW WAS IT CONDUCTED:
A qualitative approach was adopted that would explore in-depth MIMEX experiences and provide meaningful interpretations of opinions, feelings, and thoughts linked to the underlying technologies of casheerless shopping.
Participants (17 in total: 11 Female and 6 Male), were voluntarily recruited through snowball sampling methodology, and they were instructed to enter the shop and to spend 10 euros during their shopping trip.
After they had finished shopping, they were guided through a semi-structured interview process (around 20 minutes) to decompose their experiences, opinions, attitudes, and mental models linked to the MIMEX prototype and their entire shopping journey.
SUMMARY OF THE RESULTS:
The overall shopping experience reported was regarded as a positive one for all participants, especially when compared to other more traditional shopping experiences.
The most significant positive result stemmed from the participants’ feeling that the products that they interacted with were tracked very reliably, which resulted in accurate shopping basket estimates, a more time-efficient shop and all-in-all a completely hassle-free experience.
The procedure to enter, and then to carry out your shopping inside the MIMEX store were generally perceived as simple by the participants. The greatest challenges were found in the registration phase (23.5% of participants had some issues) and in the exit phase (18% of participants reported some issues). One thing that stands out in the registration phase was the necessary time to log into the app, since it took longer than expected. Concerning the exit phase, participants reported the absence of a clear exit sign, which would have given more perceived control to the shopper during the purchasing procedure. The results clearly demonstrate that the user wants to be in control of what they buy and to have the option to perform a final check before leaving; they perceived the action of uncontrolled exiting of the shop, without providing any confirmation, as a form of stealing.
Participants reported that MIMEX would be a great solution for cities and crowded places, for situations where a swift grab-and-go shopping experience was needed. After trying MIMEX, 76% of participants said they prefer MIMEX for quick shopping compared to traditional supermarkets, and 70% would prefer using MIMEX to automated vending machines. However, 47% of participants said that they would still prefer bars and coffee shops for their social experience.
The major negative aspects reported came from: a) their perceptions of isolation related to a sensation of not being able to receive help while inside the shop (reported by 59% of respondents), b) safety related to a concern about the confined space of the store (18%), and, c) of being constantly observed while shopping by AI-powered cameras (47%).
On the whole, feedback was very positive, and this study illustrated that MIMEX micro markets can provide a completely new kind of innovative store that would lead to a substantial time saving for lone shoppers in a hurry.