Designing a digital experience driven grocery store


In the last few years the grocery sector has been under huge pressure to adapt and change in the face of mounting disruption. We worked with our client, a national grocery brand, to ensure their strategy for digital experience in store was future proof and well in advance of changing customer demand. Our client is one of the worlds most successful grocery companies and has a long-lasting legacy in the Dutch market. There are few retailers that drive such strong feelings from their customers, and they have true customer loyalty in Europe.

One of the key focus areas in the organisations strategy was to accelerate growth in-store. With major players like Amazon shifting their strategy and pressuring the market this has become a major priority. This comes as competition is readily steepening in the sector and there is further demand being put on businesses to innovate. To do so the organisation was looking to create a digital store of the future vision that had close alignment to IT to bring the vision to life.

In six weeks we built and consolidated a design thinking driven digital store of the future strategy

We worked closely with our client over a 6-week period to conduct internal interviews, external customer research, and bring market examples to solve this problem. The first phase was to understand the store strategy, roadmap and integrate our SME knowledge of the consumers and market.

Once we had collected this information, we opened the floor for internal people to challenge and add to our view in a “garage session” – a full day workshop to take feedback and inputs to our collaborative work. From here we adjusted our ideas and prepared to run an intense Design Thinking Sprint to ideate and visualise what we were trying to achieve. Bringing IT and design together to create a vision that can be achieved

This Sprint session was carried out over a busy week period. We started at the grassroot issue of what we were trying to solve and brought these ideas to life, working closely with a visualising expert. The output of these were a series of real-life sketches with the technology required to make it a reality.

Figure 1: Design thinking sprint with the client

The report issued to the team included a detailed roadmap over a 3-year horizon highlighting components that should be a priority over the coming months. We mapped the dependencies and gave clear insight to other retailers that were exceeding these spaces.

This was a collaborative effort, involving a strong team of internal people at the client organisation, Riverflex consultants, and partners. The output has remained a priority and we are seeing many of the components begin to make it onto the roadmap

Snapshot of impact made so far

Our work is going to be integrated with the business vision on digital store and the materials are being used to define the European strategy for store of the future for the larger Group.

  • Consolidation of thought and agreement within client  team
  • Detailed visualisations of the future and the IT required to make it a reality
  • Report to begin building the store of the future

One of the highlights of the digital store case was being able to work in an impactful way over such a short period of time. We created some lasting change and are really enjoying seeing it being put into place.