Blog#2 – A Trip to Woolies

For my Immersion task I decided to take a trip to our local Mall and get some shopping. Its the largest Mall in our area and I arrived about 2.45 pm – hopefully about the right time to catch Mum’s with toddlers grabbing some shopping before picking up older children from School. I picked these criteria because I wanted to observe the self service tills that so many people misuse by trying to use them with trolleys – something Mum’s with small children often have to do – the children are in the trolley seats and contained (so to speak!)

From outside the store
From outside the store

I know this store well – but I spent about 20 minutes immersing myself before I went off and tried it for myself

I counted the people with and without trolleys coming through and they were about the same. People with trolleys have to turn them to empty them which blocks the exit. 2 members of staff were always hovering – often blocking the exit too

Overhead Plan
Overhead Plan

The tills are crammed together making loading your shopping and the bagging area next to you almost one space

Then I picked up a trolley and went shopping myself. I deliberately picked up large items (30 pack of Diet Coke)


3 of us decided to go through with trolleys at the same time – people were on edge and agitated – which wasn’t apparent from my outside observations, the woman behind had a 2 year old having the biggest hissy fit and screaming at the top of her lungs – I got some black looks from people with baskets and started to feel bit of a pariah for using the trolley. It was hot and glarey and a bit uncomfortable. The 30 pack of coke was too large for me to scan easily as the scanner in Woolies is fixed – unlike the scanners in Kmart. Bagging ¬†was awkward due to the lack of space – in the end I chucked it all in the trolley and got out as fast as I could EFTPOS…….. Through a very small exit covered in part by flowers!


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4 thoughts on “Blog#2 – A Trip to Woolies

  1. A-trip-to-woolies = nightmare! I think the design thinking exercised in grocery stores is purely to frustrate the shopper…tempting and generic brands strategically located….eg dashing in to get milk ad having to traps to the back of the store! So, I think a bit of concept space [at least my current understanding of K-space ~ C-space] would be well received from the customers’ viewpoint!

  2. Ronnie, I can absolutely visualise your description! This area could do with some serious ‘design thinking’ with an inter-disciplinary team. Brown suggests that ‘A competent designer can always improve upon last year’s widget, but an interdisciplinary team of skilled design thinkers is in a position to tackle more complex problems.’ (Brown, 2011).
    Make sure that there are parents with young children on that ‘interdisciplinary team!!

    Brown, T (2011), Change by design, J Prod Innov Manag: 28:381 – 383

  3. Sharon,
    I loked your activity, it really bought home how some spaces can be absolutely frusstrating.
    Intersting I think how a supermarket, which is heavily designed to take the buyer on a journey for maximum benefit to the shop can get parts of the experience so wrong.
    It would be interesting to see the user testing data from the new checkout design as it ireally is a source of continuing frustration for so many users.

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