Created by Lucy Knops, Brandon Washington and Jung Soo Park for their Intervention Interaction course taught by Sigi Moeslinger and Masamichi Udagawa, "Running Errands" is a speculative intervention designed to activate, educate and motivate Americans to increase physical activity during their weekly shopping trips. More than 35 percent of adults and 17 percent of children in America are obese (Source: CDC.gov). 90 percent of Americans live within 15 miles of a Walmart and more than 100 million Americans shop in Walmart every week (Source: Walmart.com). This intervention hopes to reach those millions of Americans through a campaign for Walmart called “Stay Fit.”
Stay Fit is designed around the insight that most Americans spend around 30 minutes shopping, several times a week, and over an hour on weekend trips. This is a significant amount of time, which if reframed, can be allocated for physical activity. A 155-pound person can burn 130 calories in one 30-minute shopping trip while pushing a grocery cart for example (Source: Livestrong.com), so this amount of time alone will meet the 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity recommended by the Center for Disease control to combat obesity.
The two core components of the Stay Fit initiative are the physical “Burn + Earn” Shopping Carts, and the Stay Fit digital platform. Users of the system carry a “Burn + Earn” Membership Card containing the shopper’s profiles and activities on the platform. The carts feature an interactive touch screen centered on the handle of the cart that shoppers log into by tapping their card on the built-in reader. The carts track the calories burned by the user during each shopping trip, and customers are rewarded with discount points for healthier food options. By learning about shoppers over time—logging their trips and reconciling them against their purchase profiles—the software provides personalized tips, and points them (literally) to discounted healthy options. Additionally—analogous to a Nike+ FuelBand—the system tracks their miles walked and calories burned over time so that shoppers can track their continued progress at home via a web portal or mobile App.
Unique to this system is that the carts provide “guided journeys” through the store, moving shoppers along prescribed paths that increase their calories burned, and direct them toward discounted Great for You items—a labeling system for healthier options launched by Walmart in 2012. As customers travel through the store, the touchscreen on the cart will ping shoppers when they are about to pass these discounted healthy options, offering more detailed information and suggested recipes.
For customers waiting on pharmaceutical products, the screen will provide notifications when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up at the dispensary. Again, this will allow the shopper to walk and burn calories, rather than sitting and waiting for their medications to be filled.
Finally, for customers uninterested in pushing a cart around the store but prefer to use a hand-held shopping basket, a mobile app can be used to access the Stay Fit platform to activate the smartphone’s pedometer and add to the progress in their profile. (Plus, of course, they’ll be “carrying” increasing weight in their hands as they progress through the store—presumably all-the-while adding items to their basket!)
Other potential features of the Stay Fit campaign include fitness installations located throughout the store, and a Stay Fit juice bar. The campaign may be expanded to include themed workout days at Walmart, and downloadable workout soundtracks.
From a business perspective, the Stay Fit campaign is mutually beneficial for Walmart and their shoppers. By creating a valuable reason for shoppers to stay in-store longer, customer spending is likely to increase, adding to Walmart’s sales figures. For shoppers, the visualization of calories burned, and the ability to earn discount points, motivates them to walk farther with the carts. And along the route, they are provided with valuable health information that they can apply beyond the aisles of Walmart.
Finally, the Stay Fit campaign creates a healthier brand image for Walmart, as well as a new and unique platform for customer engagement.