The Usability Blog
A Practical Guide to User Experience Insights

Behold the New Retail Persona – the Two Handed Shopper

Based on a 1,000 respondent survey of Smartphone users, Wave Collapse, a Washington D.C. research company, recently asserted that 93% of in-store app users make a purchase in a physical location. I can believe it. These people can flat out shop. App-accessing shoppers behave differently from “regular” shoppers, in that their Smartphone sits in their hand while they shop. It’s no different from wearing a watch. It’s just there. All the time. Here’s an example of what I mean.


Yesterday, I was at a Whole Foods store in Dallas. I asked one of the shelf-stockers which kind of pepper (Serrano or Habanera) was hotter. He said he wasn’t sure, but thought the Serrano. Behind him, a lady shopper overheard the question and said to me: “I’ll tell you in a second.” At which point she one-thumbed her way through a Smartphone search and told me: “Habanera. See.” She did this without releasing the shopping basket in her left hand. Shopping was a two-handed exercise. One for the basket and picking out products; the other for shooting barcodes and running searches. This lady is the digital equivalent of the persona formerly known as the Coupon Queen, the most avid shopper known to retailers. The Coupon Queen was knowledgeable but did her research beforehand – in the kitchen, with the Sunday newspapers, a pair of scissors, and an accordion file folder.The Smartphone-wielding, app-assisted shopper does her research as she goes, and she’s looking for much more than just price. So retailers pay attention.


That lady or guy pushing the cart with one hand and manipulating the Smartphone with the other is a prized customer. She may not need help with her decisions, but an assistant should be right there to help her with products that require two hands to lift into the cart!

–Roger Beynon, CSO, Usability Sciences


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