|Competitive Analysis, User Interviews, Affinity Mapping, Sketching, Prototyping|
|Kewal Shah, Srijan Jhanwar|
|Languages and Tools|
|FigJam, Qualtrics Research Suite, Adobe Fresco, Figma|
|High-Fidelity Figma Prototypes|
1. The Problem
In 2020, Starbucks formalized its 2030 environmental goals to cut its carbon, water, and waste footprints by half. They decided to focus on five areas – expanding plant-based menu options, shifting towards reusable packaging, investing in regenerative agriculture, better waste management, and innovating the manufacturing and delivery process. In this semester-long project with Starbucks, our goal was to help the company in its journey of becoming resource positive by 2030 and focus on customer-centric problems.
How can Starbucks influence its customers to be more sustainable/eco-conscious?
|Client||Starbucks (Customer Retail Technology Team)|
|Advisors||Dr. Richard Henneman (Director, MS-HCI), Dr. Carrie Bruce (Assistant Director, MS-HCI), Neharika Khandavalli (Teaching Assistant)|
|Primary Stakeholders||Starbucks customers and employees|
Although we had to focus on customers, our problem space was still expansive. We weren’t sure if we were to focus on a digital or physical product, mobile or web, purely educational, or something that directly impacted sales. We were free to explore out-of-the-box ideas but also had to ensure we had high-fidelity deliverables ready at the end of the 3.5-month timeline.
We started by scouring the internet to find existing literature on sustainable coffee consumption. We documented our findings on a digital mind-map using Xmind, and later met with the Starbucks user experience research team to discuss our findings and narrow down the problem scope.
Based on the discussion, we decided to focus on two problem statements – “How might we encourage users to consume more plant-based products?” and “How might we boost the borrow a cup program to reduce waste?” The Starbucks research and development team had already discovered that the most dominant shift in consumer behavior was a shift towards plant-based items. They had started testing vegan menus and 100% plant-based stores in Seattle.
If I were to say what is, probably, the most dominant shift in consumer behavior is this whole shift to plant-based. And that is a shift both in beverage and in food.– Kevin R. Jonson, Starbucks CEO (2017-2022)
The other major problem was the waste generated by plastic and paper cups. While Starbucks contributed to 1% of the 600 billion paper and plastic cups distributed globally, it was still a significant amount, and they had already launched the borrow-a-cup program, which encouraged customers t use reusable coffee cups. Our task was to make these programs appealing and help them gain more traction through the Starbucks mobile app.
- How might we encourage users to consume more plant-based products?
- How might we boost the borrow-a-cup program to reduce waste?
We decided to focus on mobile because we found that in 2020, 53% of American youth ordered from a cafe using a mobile app, as opposed to 41% in 2019. This trend would only increase with various discounts, and reward point offers available through the mobile app.
To expedite research and design, we divided the ownership of the two problem statements. I was more passionate about plant-based menu innovation; therefore, I led the area’s background research, interviews, and design. Therefore, this article will focus on Problem Statement 1.
Once the problem space was decided, we wanted to talk to customers and understand their perspectives on the topic. We followed the following steps to get the data we required
i) Research Questions
We made a list of key research questions we wanted to be answered during our interviews:
- What motivates users to buy plant-based products?
- What is their current view on consuming a plant-based diet?
- What concerns do they have about a plant-based diet?
- What would incentivize them to increase consuming plant-based products?
ii) Semi-structured Interviews
We decided to conduct semi-structured interviews as we wanted to gather more data through open-ended questions. We drafted an interview script on Notion and revised the questions and their order based on feedback from our advisors. Each semi-structured interview was approximately 20 minutes long, and we recorded these sessions with the user’s consent to refer to them while analyzing the data in the latter stages.
iii) Affinity Mapping
We used Otter.ai to transcribe the interview recordings. After combining these transcriptions with the notes made during the interview in a Google Sheet, we used FigJam to make sense of the data by creating an Affinity Map.
iv) Key Findings
After creating the affinity map, we conducted a virtual “Walking the Wall” activity by marking the most relevant findings on the map with a heart. We shared and discussed these findings with the Starbucks team before moving forward with concept sketches:
To translate our findings into designs, I created sketches using Adobe Fresco. Users felt they would be curious to try out a new product if Starbucks handpicked it and if it could tell them how many calories it would help save. Inspired by these, we introduced a “Drink of the Day,” which would address health and taste and motivate users by providing additional rewards. We also introduced special badges that users could earn by buying plant-based products. Inspired by a toggle feature in food ordering apps in countries like India, where many people follow a vegetarian diet, we introduced the plant-based toggle in our sketches.
5. High-fidelity Prototypes
After discussing the sketches with our advisors, we started designing Figma. We used Starbucks Creative Expression as a reference for creating a visual design system and then converted the sketches to high-fidelity prototypes.
Drink of the Day
A featured plant-based drink that lets users earn bonus stars
Special offers on plant-based drinks and new plant-based milk categories
Plant-based Menu Toggle
A menu toggle for people who want to switch to a plant-based diet