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Rebuilding the online shop for one of the UK’s largest retailers

Groceries next to man typing on computer

Kin + Carta partnered with one of the UKs largest retailers to revolutionise their shopping experience

  • Category: Cloud Modernization Connected Customer Experience UX Research and Design Retail

Migrating the app to a modern technology stack, we helped create a future proof solution supporting rapid innovation, A/B testing, and the regular release of new features. With over 100K reviews and a 4.7 star ratings, the app has received exceptional user reviews for its ease of use and accessibility standards.

This retailer generated over £55 Billion in annual revenue last year and serves over 80 millions customers every week through physical and digital stores. It was one of the first to market an app revolutionising grocery shopping in the UK and generating over £1 billion every year. While the app evolved and improved from its origins, the technology stack remained dated, limiting the customer experience and pace of improvement.

A supermarket, in customer's pockets, on the go

The app allows customers to:

  • Shop their favourite products in a few seconds and make changes to orders on the go
  • Restock your kitchen cupboards using a barcode scanner
  • Add products instantly from previous orders for easier repeat shopping
  • Arrange delivery 7 days a week or arrange to Click+Collect
Women working on app

"I am blind and this app is beautiful! Everything works like a dream! Just want to say a huge thank you the developers, this makes a huge difference to blind people so thank you."

App Store Review

Building a robust, intuitive digital experience with accessibility in mind, from the start.

Around 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability. Which is why building truly accessible digital products and embedding these requirements early in development is so crucial. The joint team took advantage of native accessibility tools to ensure the app was able to reach and serve a large portion of their customers with vision impairment or physical disability. Besides adopting accessible colour combinations and legible text sizes as standard, we designed flexible layouts that enabled us to intelligently support dynamic text sizing. App content was structured logically and optimised for mobile screen reader technology (Talk Back and VoiceOver) to make it easy to use via switch control. The app has not only proven its robustness, withstanding the current surge in demand due to the COVID-19 crisis, but its accessible design has proved vital in ensuring the app serves today's most vulnerable customers.

Fostering a one team mentality across a distributed team

A co-sourced team of designers, engineers, agile delivery leads and testers worked in close collaboration. As a distributed team across India and the UK, the high levels of collaboration and team unity were facilitated through key ways of working:

  • One-team mentality: Encouraging responsibility and technical ownership across regions and building team meeting cadence to fit both timezones ensuring participation from all team members regardless of location.
  • Communication: Representatives from both locations were involved in decision making from the get-go ensuring conversations and ownership were not siloed by location. This ranged from low-impact decision making on acceptance criteria to larger decisions around timelines and communication to c-suite stakeholders.
  • Feedback loops: Regular and interactive retrospectives utilising online boards and worksheets to ensure feedback on ways of working and processes were captured across locations.
  • Breaking cultural barriers: Simple team bonding activities such as “Take a photo on your way to work” or “If the last sprint was a film, which film would it be?” succeeded in creating camaraderie, friendship and reduced potential barriers caused by cultural disparity.

Creating and future-proofing the solution 

Developing the app natively using Swift (iOS) and Kotlin (Android) enhanced the user experience for customers while ensuring the app was easy to maintain the clients internal teams. A modular architecture allowed features to be plugged in and swapped out with ease. Common modules are already in use across the clients other apps. Maximising reusability enabled us to implement new features—and entire new apps—at a pace that their stakeholders had not seen before. For users, a bespoke design was created for each platform, making the app more familiar and palatable.

Additionally, building across two code bases allowed the team to keep platform-specific logic completely separate. It also meant development was faster as the team could take advantage of a range of native components across both platforms. Not only did this benefit the team when building the first iterations of the app, but this set up the apps to be easily maintained for years to come and allowed us to take advantage of changes to each platform without waiting for the cross-platform framework to be updated.

 

Leveraging data and coaching to build internal capabilities

Kin + Carta played a key role in helping the client grow their engineering team and capabilities by assisting in the interview process of hiring new engineers, coaching in agile practices and ways of working.

In order to measure improvement and development, the team had been tracking data for over 18 months since the beginning of the project. Particularly important indicators included cycle time - enabling the average speed of tickets to be tracked from ‘in development’ through to completion and throughput. This data was used in numerous ways, including:

  • Tracking progress and forecast timelines. This wealth of data facilitated forecasting and communicating timelines to stakeholders with a high degree of confidence, based on previous trends and historical data.
  • Speeding up internal processes. The data provided the team with context for retrospectives, enabling them to identify a block in peer review. Through remedying the peer review principles and analysing the data, we were able to half the time in took to move tickets through the column, reducing the overall cycle time by 40%.
  • Increasing team morale. Tracking the cycle time and throughput motivates the whole team to improve performance. They can see in numbers when they’re improving or slumping, gamifying the approach to our development process and encouraging the team to actively speed up the development process to see an improvement in the metrics.

Results

When looking at results, we focused on futureproofing the app and making the existing app substantially better than it was. We successfully future-proofed the app by using native components that will enable the internal team to develop new features and keep the apps up to date with new releases. We provided a solid foundation for future development of new features, form factors that were all A/B tested with business insights capability built-in. 

Since launch, the new app has outperformed the old in these ways:

6% growth in average basket size
72% quicker loading time
12% increase in revenue through the app

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