User Research

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Over 200% improvement on the findability of e-commerce products.


Carrefour UAE is a leading retailer selling a wide range of products, from produce to technology. Today, Majid Al Futtaim operates over 320 Carrefour stores in 16 countries, serving more than 750,000 customers daily and employing over 37,000 people. Carrefour Marketplace provides businesses across the UAE with an e-commerce channel to reach their customers and currently lists more than 250,000 products.

Business need

Carrefour recognised that there was a problem with the findability of their products, which was due to their categorisation on their digital channels. They wanted to understand their customers and ensure their taxonomy matched the expectations, languages and mental models of their users.

Through this process, Carrefour wanted to:

  • Understand the diversity of their customer base
  • Understand whether their categories aligned with their user’s expected product locations
  • Restructure the website and product locations to increase usability, findability and the customer experience


We set a baseline by evaluating the taxonomy of Carrefour’s website in its current state before modifying and improving it so we could compare the results at the end of the project.

We asked shoppers in the UAE to find specific products on the website, with only 31% of the shoppers successfully finding the products.

If users can’t find the products they need, they simply will not buy anything. Drop-off rates are typically high in situations like these.

Carrefour UAE’s customer base is broad, their customers come from all over the world, including India, Pakistan, the Middle East and Europe, with 60% female and 40% male. This is important to note because the final output must include all the various cultural nuances of Carrefour’s customers.

We set out to improve the findability of products on Carrefour UAE’s website by designing a user-centric taxonomy that matched their user's mental models and expectations.

We used a variety of different research techniques to understand the ‘whys’ and learn more about the user's expectations when navigating the website.

Some of the research methods we conducted included:

  • Competitor benchmarking
  • Usability evaluation
  • Card sorting
  • Physical store analysis
  • Tree testing

In over 3 months, we tested over 1500+ categories on the Carrefour website and conducted 10 different studies with over 300+ participants using 5 different research methods.


We saw a 257% improvement in the baseline test.

To measure the success of the study, we repeated the baseline test using the same products with the new taxonomy. The success rate jumped from 31% to 83%.

While a 100% success rate is the ideal, there were some unavoidable nuances during the research project tenure. For example, when searching for lemons, some people looked under Vegetables, whilst others looked at Fruits. Such human behaviour cannot be controlled and therefore it's important to keep it in mind and cater for the scenarios in different locations.

With a proper taxonomy structure, you can greatly impact the success of a retailer, both online and offline. Investing time and resources to understand how consumers navigate stores, both online and offline, will likely increase sales and positively impact a customer’s overall experience.

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