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To keep screen-weary shoppers happy, brands are working to make sure their online experience is convenient, reliable and - importantly - enjoyable.

Screen time increased by 76% during the pandemic.* The ‘new normal’ is a fairly tame euphemism for the tumultuous changes that Covid-19 has caused to our daily lives. For some, it meant more family time, leisurely lunchtime walks, and a new hobby or skill. For others, there were harsher side-effects. Many home-workers reported symptoms of ‘techno-stress’; a screen-inspired decrease in focus, concentration and motivation.

As one of our Client Directors, Sarah deals with our biggest corporate clients. For her, the transition to home-working has been fairly bittersweet. “I enjoy it,” She begins, “But I do miss the interaction.” Sarah also admits to a pivot in her work-life balance, if only because of the lack of travel to and from work  - “I log on earlier and work later,” She says, before informing me that these hours culminate in a clear rule at the end of the day - no more screens.

To ensure internet buying isn’t just another online chore, it’s clear that it needs to be as seamless as possible. Shoppers expect the most convenient purchase process, top notch delivery options and the best customer support. So how are brands meeting the demands of shoppers? How are they making sure their online experience is the best it can be?

Being reactive as possible

58% of the British public now say that the way a brand is acting impacts their purchasing intent - for some, even impacting whether they’ll buy from them in the future.**

Brand reactions evidently have a long term impact.

Towards the start of the pandemic, Unilever updated their product descriptions to highlight their antibacterial qualities as a way of recreating the experience of picking up a product and reading the label in-store. They also encouraged teams to ‘walk the store’ online to make sure they deliver the best possible user experience.***

Another example of good reactive decision-making came in the form of four alcohol brands that decided to work together to revive the clubbing scene. Budweiser, Carlsberg, Remy Martin, and Pernod Ricard joined forces with JD.com to create an online clubbing experience, streamed directly to people’s living rooms. Attendees could purchase their drinks online and have them delivered to the door.

Updating the online customer experience

Customers are now willing to pay up to 16% more if it means a great customer experience†† and brands can deliver this by updating the online customer experience.

Our client Broadberry Systems manufacture high-tech servers and workstations used in some of the world’s largest organisations. They built a one-of-a-kind configurator for their website to finesse their online buying experience. In their General Manager Bryn Downing’s words, “It can supply a valid quotation build on the customer’s ideal specification or automate an order.” With a dedicated team working solely on their website too, Broadberry Systems adapted quickly to offer a great virtual customer experience.

Ocado integrated a live chat feature that produced great results^ – with sales surging by 40% in the initial lockdown period^^ – whilst Homebase upped their social media activity to maintain a frequent and thoughtful engagement with their consumers.

Taking in-store, online

93% of people are more likely to be repeat customers with brands who offer excellent customer service.‡‡ Naturally then, there was a huge push by retailers to replicate the in-store experience online.

Fashion brands found innovative and high-tech ways to add even more convenience to their ‘Try Before You Buy’ offering. Burberry teamed up with Google Search to create a new and immersive, augmented reality shopping experience that gave customers the option to view products in 3D from the comfort of their own homes.

Converse also launched their ‘Sampler’ iPhone app that allowed consumers to try on a new pair of trainers in the virtual world. This app showed a live image of shoppers’ feet, overlayed with their chosen style of shoe.◊◊

As shoppers’ lives return back to normal, the delivery experience needs to match the new capabilities of the buying experience.

For complete convenience and flexibility, DHL’s ‘Change It’ options put customers in control with options to change their delivery date or leave their parcel in a safe place. Alternatively, our network of 3,500 ServicePoints are open 7 days a week ’til late in local convenience stores for customers who are out and about.


* hrnews.co.uk/screen-time-has-increased-by-76-during-the-covid-19-pandemic
** weareroast.com/news/reactive-pr-why-is-it-important-for-brands-to-be-on-the-ball
*** unilever.com/news/news-and-features/Feature-article/2020/how-were-clicking-with-consumers-in-ecommerce.html
† thedrum.com/news/2020/03/17/budweiser-r-my-martin-carlsberg-pernod-ricard-partner-with-jdcom-online-clubbing
†† chattermill.com/customer-experience-statistics
^ retailtechnology.co.uk/news/6843/ocado-using-new-integrated-live-chat-software/
^^ thegrocer.co.uk/results/city-snapshot-ocado-sales-surge-40-during-coronavirus-lockdown/604633.article
‡ thedrum.com/news/2020/05/21/are-brands-getting-it-right-during-lockdown-here-are-10-examples-brands-upping-their
‡‡ econsultancy.com/how-has-covid-19-accelerated-customer-service-trends-digital-technology/
◊ harpersbazaararabia.com/fashion/featured-news/burberry-launches-augmented-reality-search
◊◊ highsnobiety.com/p/the-sampler-iphone-app-by-converse/