Xtra offers a broader view on usability

Anyone using a smartphone knows that shopping is more fun with the right apps. The Xtra app of Colruyt Group ensures a smooth shopping experience. At the cash register your payments and discounts are processed effortlessly, your purchase history is kept up to date and refuelling your car along the way has never been easier. The 500,000 active users of Xtra use this powerful tool in all our stores and web shops (Dreamland, Spar, DATS 24 …). Colruyt Group therefore has an excellent instrument to further strengthen the relationship with its customers. That is why the company’s head office in Halle is fully committed to the further development and the usability of the app.

Tags Innovation Projects

“I want to build things that actually solve something, for real people,” Diana Schneider says. The service designer of Xtra is contributing to the constant renewal of the app. “I want to understand how people shop and where their snags are. Empathy is important, we should not make generalisations and view customers as statistics. We need to stay away from clichés when it comes to usability. We do not work for the average customer, but for a single dad, a newly formed family with different eating patterns, digitally skilled grandparents who like to keep up with their grandchildren …”

“Making something understandable, that is how usability is often defined. But we have a much broader view,” Inga Borodina, product owner of Xtra, says. “The new app must be absolutely relevant to the customer. We used to build things without wondering if it really made a difference for the customer. Too often we think we know what a customer wants, but in the end the customer is the expert. Firstly, we want to know what his motivation is.”

“We don’t want to bother the customer with gimmicks or apps that are ten a penny,” Diana says. “That’s why we go very far in our consumer research. We review the entire customer journey, also before and after the actual shopping. It gives us a better picture of the customer’s behaviour and mindset and the snags that often come back. This way, we can look for solutions in a targeted manner”.

Innovation through thorough research

With good groundwork and customer surveys, the Xtra team is developing a unique tool. At Colruyt Group, we believe that relevance for the customer and not the company’s profit must be paramount. That requires courage and a different way of working. That is why we are organising design sprints, a five-day thinking and testing process, during which we consider the customer’s needs from day 1. Every assumption is tested. Otherwise, we risk spending a whole year building something that is later dismissed by the customer. Moreover, we test each release via a digital (corona-proof) panel: 60 test persons from all language groups in Belgium give us their unsullied opinion on different versions of our prototypes. Measuring is knowing, instead of just following your gut feeling!

Flexible cooperation

From the very beginning, the Xtra team has been composed of complementary disciplines: service design, marketing, product owner, data scientists, business analysts … “Our work accelerates tremendously when we just throw ideas at each other. Because we don’t have to wait for feedback. We can build something together immediately. And because we work collectively, we can break through hierarchies and squeeze the ego thinking out of the development process. The customer is the only one who counts,” Inga says.

For Diana, these solutions do not have to be limited to digital platforms. “If we do our job well, we can influence people’s behaviour and lives. We can discover new patterns that we do not yet know and respond to them. That way, we build relevant solutions to help our users in their daily lives, so that they can make time for things that really matter”.

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