Mapping Out the Promotion Shopping Experience

Though promotions sounds like a way to stimulate irrational shopping behaviour, there are actually different types of shopping patterns which not all  are so irrational as we think. Studying these patterns helps us receive a better understanding about how our users feel about the shopping experience we designed for them. It also asists us with mapping out the obstacles under different shopping patterns allowing us optimise the whole shopping experience.

Team: Yuzhou Guo, Houjiang He
My Role: User Research Lead
Methods: Cognitive walkthrough, Diary Research, User Experience Map
Date: Jan, 2016

Behaviour Patterns

To categorise user shopping behaviour patterns, we applied the 4S Model from DSCOUT, a mobile user behaviour research company based in Chicago, IL. Below is the model that classifies these patterns by two dimensions: one is aperture, which is the specificity of a search. The other is mindfulness, which is the awareness of searching.

Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 3.00.59 PM

Photo credit by Dscout


This is a classic impulse purchase pattern.  It usually goes like “see it, love it, buy it”.

[ Typical Scenario ]

“These are Steve Madden boots. I found these  boots on JD home-page banner and immediately realised that I had to have them. They look very stylish and edgy and made with good leather, and plus they are on sale. The deal was 50 RMB off every 500 RMB purchase. These boots are about 400 RMB, so I had to purchase some other stuff in order to get the deal. I definitely would like to do that, but in the promotion list-page, it was really hard for me to purchase something that I like and at the same time have this deal applied to.” 

[ Behaviour Path]



It is a sudden recollection of the need to purchase something, only realizing after encountering the deal by chance.

[ Typical Scenario ]

“I had been searching for a well functioning and good looking electronic toothbrush like this since forever. I totally love the Philips Sonicate DiamondClean Toothbrush, but it is so over priced. It is like a luxury for me and I really need to save up enough to buy it. I was so excited that I saw it on sale for 20% off when I was browsing the JD homepage and was going to purchase some shampoo. I clicked on it immediately, but it was sold out. Sure, I was disappointed but I would definitely buy it when there is such a good deal.”

[ Behaviour Path]



This pattern is a deliberate search for an item in a particular product category for when requirements are clear yet the landscape option isn’t available.

[ Typical Scenario ]

“My shampoo is running out, I need to buy a new one. I don’t care which brand to buy. You know, as a guy, you don’t spend too much time on this. I just want to buy a simple one. When I search this stuff, I want you to give me something quick, with OK quality and of course a reasonable price.”

[ Behaviour Path]



A laser-focused mission to acquire something specific, right down to knowing the brand and model in advance.

[ Typical Scenario ]

“Is is a GoPro Hero+ Black. I am a fan of mountain-climbing, and I love building my collection equipment. Plus GoPro Hero+ is awesome! I’ve always known about this camera. First time I came across it  I was climbing with my friend. I learned more about it from playing with it hands on and researching it online. I am not sure if I should buy it now or not. I am kind of waiting for the Double-11 Shopping Festival to buy,  but I also want it now!”

[ Behaviour Path]


User Experience Map

Experienced mapping illuminates the holistic customers experience, demonstrating the highs and lows users feel while interacting with our website and the services we deliver.

Therefore, after figured out the typical shopping behaviour pattern and the key obstacles in each pattern, we tried to map out the whole process in order to reveal the key customer moments which will keep improving and unlock a more compelling and more valuable overall experience.

Experience Map

According to these finding, we redesigned our promotion shopping experience. One example is our coupon redeeming page. Coupons’ display algorithms based on users’ purchase history, wish-list and profile information.

personalized coupon

If  a user still unable to locate an ideal coupon, there is a function called Make A Wish. It lets us know which product you want as a coupon. By collecting this data, we get to know our users better.

Make a wish coupon page


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