A design of an iOS application prototype supporting the handling of issues in retail environments

University essay from KTH/Skolan för informations- och kommunikationsteknik (ICT); KTH/Skolan för informations- och kommunikationsteknik (ICT)

Abstract: The development of new technology has made it possible for new ways of shopping. By providing more digital services in the physical stores, there is a possibility for the stores to provide a more ubiquitous and smart shopping experience for its customers. The report will present an iOS application prototype, as part of an ubiquitous store system concept, which will turn an iPhone into a temporary, integrated part of a smart store system concept. The purpose of the system is to enhance the shopping experience by reducing known non-technical issues such as perceived low level of service, lack of product information and the slow speed of the shopping process, with the use of technology based solutions, such as self-scanning with the use of an iPhone and indoor localization for easier navigation and faster service. The developed iOS application enables a user to scan any product, with a barcode, in the store and get further information about availability, color options and so forth. It will enables the user to request products from the staff members if sizes are not available in the actual store. It also provides easier and faster service with the use of indoor localization and positioning, to find the user or find product sections in the store faster. The focus of the report was the development of the iOS application prototype, and a case-study was used to evaluate the prototype in a retail store setting. The evaluation included a case scenario where participants were asked to perform three tasks related to a general shopping scenario, as well as the identified problems. The time difference to finish each task was observed and measured to determine the actual impact in time on each task, together with a survey to determine the perceived impact of the developed application prototype on each task. 83,3 % of the participants found it easier to navigate in the store, as well as getting product information with the use of the application. 66,3 % found that the application did not fully compensate the services generally provided by the store staff, but was a good complement. The overall experience of the application was positive, with emphasis on the scanning possibility in store, as well as the great concept with having indoor location. Further, a total time improvement of 31,6 % for the full scenario was achieved with the use of the application. The thesis conclude that an application can be designed to reduce some common time-related issues, such as low level of service, lack of product information and the slow speed of the shopping process. Although the proof of concept is deemed satisfactory, further work and test are needed to fully implement and integrate the prototype and store system concept in reality.

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