Shopping in confidence for
Ceres Fairfood

Ceres and Melbournians

CERES Fair Food has a physical location and an online store, but despite being popular, the digital platform is struggling.

Our team worked on a two-week project to enhance the CERES online shopping experience, making them better equipped to thrive in the expanding organic market.

In essence, the objective can be condensed into a single statement: Enhance the customer's online shopping experience to drive sales in organice produce.

So Much Potential

Our research has uncovered the enormous potential of the organic grocery market.

By conducting contextual inquiry and user interviews, we have determined that customers who support a social enterprise are willing to pay higher prices, rendering a reward system as an ineffective solution.

User Research

Our research aimed to either validate or disprove our initial assumptions while also uncovering insights and behavioural patterns.

To achieve this, we employed various research methodologies, including user interviews, competitive and comparative analysis, usability task flows, guerrilla interviews conducted at physical organic stores, and contextual inquiries carried out at the CERES and the Community Environment Park.

First look at Ceres

We also compared multiple tasks (sign up, purchase of items, recipe feature) on competing websites such as Coles, Harris Farmers Markets and Green Soul Organics and found that the CERES website consistently required the most amount of steps.

Conducting a feature inventory revealed key features such as shopping lists, add recipe ingredients to cart, catalogues, product suggestions and organic certification are missing from the CERES website when comparing to the market standards.

First assumption

We conducted a series of usability tests on the existing website, tasking our users to search for the website and purchase banana.

The tests revealed the website was causing the following frustrations and confusion:

• Locating the website via search engines was difficult.

•SEO needs improvement.

• Navigation was poor and the information architecture was confusing.

• Key information such as minimum spend for delivery is only shown at the end of the shopping process.

•The shopping cart empties after log-in.

Second assumption

Through user interviews we were able to determine this was mostly true. Most people did buy organic groceries for sustainability and health reasons.

However, we also found that people preferred the taste of organic food over non-organic

Third assumption

This was not necessarily the case. From our interviews we found that people in all kinds of financial situations were buying organic groceries.

Depending on their situation, customers were specific about which products they would buy organic.

A key insight from the interviews revealed that most shoppers would only buy organic if it isn't overpriced (in comparison to the non-organic option).

Fourth assumption

Predominately true — most people buy online to save time and also for the convenience of not having to carry items home (specifically large bulky items).

They also enjoyed browsing the catalogues online and knowing what items are on sale.​

We also found that most users would prefer to shop physically in store if the time allows for it.

The experience of picking fresh fruit, browsing the aisles and comparing options is lost within the online experience.


Main insight from our users:

Users choose where they shop depending on time restraints. They will shop local if time is limited, but will travel farther (and often to multiple places) for specific items if there is time.

Most people who buy organic live an active lifestyle which is why they are careful about the kinds of food they consume.

Most shoppers prefer to buy ethically but often don’t due to financial or time constraints.

Meet Alex

Alex is the research persona who represents someone who wants a hassle-free way to buy high-quality organic produce online.

As a mother who prioritises spending time with her family, she recognises the importance of feeding her family with fresh and nutritious food.

Therefore, Alex seeks a time-efficient solution to purchase organic groceries online while ensuring that the quality of the produce is top-notch.

Alex's Problem

This is the problem statement that carried the team through the ideation stage.

We found through our research that people like Alex are more likely to buy more organic food if they could expect that their produce being picked and delivered is the best quality.

How can we help Alex?

We used the Crazy 8 design sprint method to ask ourselves three important questions to help solve Alex's problem.

As a result, we developed a simple idea that enables Alex to browse the highest quality organic products available online.

This idea provides her with the assurance to shop online more frequently, saving her time to spend with her family.

Supporting features

During the Crazy 8 design process, we identified two supplementary features that could enhance the primary feature:

A browsing experience with real-time images of the organic produce. And an option to choose the quality of organic produce in the seasonal boxes.

By incorporating these features, the product can attract a more extensive audience and complete the cycle of building trust and credibility.

How we think it will work.

The user is directed to a link to the special boxes page. From the specials page, customers are able to add items directly to cart, or share the product to family and friends.

The customer can then continue browsing for their remaining items before checking out.

After they will visually review the boxes they have ordered - with the option of refunding their choice if they are not happy with the quality of choice.

The task and user flow was developed with all the previous research in mind, with a particular focus on improving the process to be on par with market standards. This led us to the first sketch prototype which was used for initial testing.

Card sorting and information architecture

Based on multiple usability tests conducted on the existing website, it was discovered that the product categorisation was confusing, indicating a poor information architecture structure.

To address this issue, we performed open card sorting exercises and analysed how users categorised the products.

By enhancing the categorisation and information architecture, our goal is to enhance the customer's browsing experience when searching for products.

Testing through iterations

Progressive testing provided us with feedback on what was working and what wasn’t working.

Starting with a low fidelity prototype and conducting usability tests, we were able to efficiently progress the design and product.

Homepage call to action

"Pick Your Own" shopping category.

Onboarding pop up!

Pay, confirm order.

Verify Order

Check quality of produce from images uploaded to the user.

Choose your box,

Look through options.

Confirm order

Your delivery is on the way!

Site Interaction

Users can use the drop down bar
to view the newly categorised menus or
if they are unhappy with the quality of produce, a refund is issued.

The results

By improving the process to be on par with the market standards, we aim to improve the user’s experience which will drive up sales for CERES.​

By adding the verify features, along with emphasising the specials on the home page, we aim to provide consumers confidence in purchasing organic produce online.

This will also remove the connotation that CERES's digital website is poor and attract more customers to their business.

Other improvements to consider

Our reflections

In our reflection of the project we thought our solution was too basic. But sometimes the simplest idea has the greatest affect.

The outcome is not particularly innovative — instead, we improved the product to be on par with market standards with is the first step to seeing growth in the business.

Lessons next time

More user interviews 
The insights from the user interviews were incredibly valuable. However, most of the people we interviewed were not regular CERES users which could have provided further insights.

Timeboxing for tasks
Whilst the discussions were great, we could’ve been more efficient with our use of time, by timeboxing each task or discussion.