Aligning UI to "in store pickup" motivations drove orders up 89%.

What motivates people to use in store pick up? Why do they choose it? Does our UI design align with people’s motivations?

These questions laid the foundation for user research conducted for PetSmart. To understand the gaps in their current in store pick up experience between their online experience, and customer expectations, we crafted a research plan where:

  1. Users’ motivations for using “in store pick up” were probed.
  2. Participants tasked with an “in store pick up” shopping activity on
  3. Participants engaged in a “in store pick up” shopping activity on WalMart’s site, and compared both experiences, uncovering delights and disappointments.

Drive for Speed & Convenience Motivates

The drive for speed and convenience motivated participants to use store pickup. Therefore, anything that obstructed particularly frustrated them. Consequently, they prized online experiences that efficiently delivered information when and where they needed it most.

Participants called out these delights:

  • The ability to see what was available for pick up, not what was eligible. Eligible did not convey availability – so even if an item could be shipped to a store and picked up there, that information did not matter to the customer. They wanted to be able to pick up today. Worse, when an item was eligible and not available, this frustrated customers more.
  • “Although this store is near you, it doesn’t solve [my] problem right now I need it immediately and can’t wait for shipping or it’s a specialty product.”

    – P05 Ashley M.

  • Quicker ability to sort by what was available based on store location. Online participants wanted to see sooner what products were available to them in their store. They valued this most on the grid page, as an attribute they could filter against. They also valued this on the homepage, as an attribute to filter against within the whole site. This desire was consistent with their motivation: driven by speed, they wanted to see the product possibilities sooner, rather than later.
  • “It’s kind of pointless. What’s the point of having it up there? If I can’t pay for it and pick it up in store, it shouldn’t be available. I would purchase it online, and have the ease of paying for it.”

    – P06 Chris S

  • Seamless transitions for selecting a store: Participants expected seamless transitions in selecting a store. They treated store selection as important as selecting “Add to Cart:” to them it was one in the same choice. This carried through to the end of checkout, where they looked for explicit messaging regarding pick up times and directions to the store. They reasoned, they just needed to bring their e-receipt to the store, and show it to the retailer.

In Store Pickup Orders Accelerate

PetSmart embraced these valuable insights, baking in changes to their interface, particularly making enhancements to the Store selection process on the product page, and introducing filters by availability on the grid pages. They also turned off all stores that did not have products available. YOY, in store pick orders grew from 19% to 36%, a whopping 89% increase.

We delivered learnings to the in store product team, to ensure findings were prioritized for future releases of the product. They eagerly received them.

Commerce Insight: More than ever, designing responsive experiences necessitates we look beyond the site experience itself, to uncover the various contexts in which a device is used, the motivations that drive the usage, and the transitions that support this. This demands a more holistic outlook, that probes deeper, and examines the experience within the multiple, overlapping contexts.


  • About PetSmart:With over 1,433 stores nationwide, PetSmart celebrates and lives the power of pets to enrich lives.
  • Process: Usability Testing
  • Skills: Research, UX Architecture
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