Taking the joy of food online

Hemköp is one of Sweden’s biggest supermarkets, built on the back of a reputation for what they call matglädje – the ‘joy of food’. But although they have a proud tradition of being an inspiring voice in the market, they were beginning to suffer from new grocery shopping trends; their largely city centre-based stores were mainly picking up the occasional shoppers who bought irregularly and in small quantities. But the young, active families who buy regularly in bulk, were increasingly moving their weekly shops online, to better fit around their busy lives.

“The beauty of being online,” Anna Åkesson, Hemköp’s Head of e-Commerce, tells us, “is that you don’t need to be near a physical store. Being online means we can be everywhere.” So it was clear that a move into ecommerce was imminent, but it needed to be done right – with high-level design thinking to make sure this was going to work from a logistical and technical perspective. But just as importantly, that it was going to keep the matglädje alive online.

Fjord helped us get thinking in the right way for this market.
Anna Åkesson Head of eCommerce at Hemköp

Step by step, from conception to delivery

The first step of this project was to carry out an in-depth pre-study, where qualitative interviews and shop-alongs were carried out with customers to understand their needs before, during and after grocery shopping. It became clear that matglädje is about more than just the products themselves – it should relate to the whole customer journey. Above all, we wanted shopping in the online store to be the familiar joyful experience that you get in Hemköp’s physical stores.

So we focused on addressing the pain points for customers buying their groceries online. We found that a lot of people actually find it quite hard to use an online supermarket; products can be hard to find, and the inability to touch and feel your food before selecting it can sometimes create a lack of trust.

We knew that in order to create an online store that was authentically Hemköp, we would need to address these problems. That meant creating an all-encompassing experience; making it possible for customers to find what they are looking for easily, to book delivery slots, build up loyalty points, see recommendations and even weigh food digitally. Our desire to make the experience as smooth and effortless as possible drove our design thinking – and also led to some interesting innovations.

Joining the dots between retail and online

From the beginning, we knew that this needed to be an omnichannel approach. “We wanted the physical stores to form the heart of the ecommerce stores,” says Anna. We weren’t looking to divide Hemköp’s audience in two; the physical and online sides of the experience needed to work together flawlessly.

One opportunity to create this link was the store’s loyalty programme; when customers create an account on the new online store, it automatically enrolls them in the physical store’s loyalty programme, so you can earn rewards on both platforms and also be shown your most popular purchases straight away – whether you brought them in-store or online.

This had the added advantage of bringing Hemköp an increased flow of data, meaning a greater understanding of their customers. With more knowledge they can take customer service and matglädje to new levels with better suggestions on what you might want to buy, new meal ideas and even related content you might enjoy. The content of the platform focuses on meals, not just individual products, communicating the joy of cooking.

Another online customer pain point that we wanted to take on is the difficulty of arranging delivery times. We built Hemköp’s store with multiple delivery options – customers can choose between having their groceries delivered to them at home or click and collect from the store, which makes receiving their purchases much more convenient.

The future of matglädje

For now, Hemköp’s online store has been launched as an MVP, so there’s lots more to be built in. But the beauty of large scale digital projects is that they’re never finished. You can always make them better by listening and responding to customer behaviour, new innovations and new demands.

In this first release Anna Åkesson is most proud of the link between the physical and online experiences. “Everyone who uses the site says that it still feels like Hemköp. That was so important to us when we started out.”

After working for two years on every stage of this project, we’re excited to see how Hemköp’s culture has adapted to deal with their new challenges. Their expertise in their sector, combined with Fjord’s design approach, has created something really exciting; “It’s been a really valuable collaboration,” says Anna. “Coming from a business that is mostly physical, and then working with a creative company like Fjord – with your rumbles and different working processes – it’s helped us get thinking in the right way for this market.”