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End-to-end digital transformation, what we can learn from online supermarket Picnic



Date  11 July 2022
3 min read
“Today we will deliver your groceries! We expect to be with you between 20:00- 20:20!”

The doorbell rings. Eight o'clock on the dot. An achievement in itself for the centre of Amsterdam. Apparently, a small electric car that you can park on the pavement helps, instead of one of those big diesel trucks. A respectable young man stands at the door with the groceries. He shakes my hand and says: "According to my information, you're new to Picnic. Let me briefly explain how we work!” The plastic bags in particular, are getting special attention. These are biodegradable and you can give them back with your next delivery, in exchange for a deposit. Wow, that’s personal service! Butterflies in your stomach, when everything is right! These people understand what they are doing. And that with a very strong digital component quickly brings me to my own field of work. Because you can learn from this company! The digital world, and in particular the new services you can develop based on smart data, offer endless possibilities. UBER founder, Travis Kalanick, spoke at a keynote address about the four “Dimensions of Magic” that explain his company's success:

Time, Calm, Joy and Money. It seems that Picnic also scores highly on these four dimensions.

Time Picnic's excellent algorithm ensures that they can indicate exactly what time the delivery person will be there. In the morning, the app will tell you which 20-minute slot you are in. In my opinion, besides the online ordering, they mainly solve the delivery issue.

Calm Relieving the customer by delivering the groceries to their home. Initially - so I've been told - with a limited assortment, but this seems to have expanded considerably in the meantime.

Money No delivery charges and a low-price guarantee because you don't have your own supermarkets. That’s smart.

Joy Well, joy is of course something very personal. My daughter was very happy with the whipped cream cake we received with our second order.

Personally, I think the electric cars are a great improvement for the environment. No more dirty diesel pollution in the city centre, but a quiet little car that also doesn't cause traffic jams on the canals.

“The one who follows the crowd usually goes no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. (Albert Einstein)”

Main takeaways from Picnic

  1. Users will use your smart services if you are clear in your proposition. For instance, Picnic consistently uses three clear USPs: Free home delivery, lowest price and never waiting for your groceries.
  2. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. The modern city dweller does not want to receive their groceries in time slots of four hours. Picnic has very cleverly discovered that this is a major annoyance with other suppliers.
  3. The reliability of your data is extremely important. You can make promises about delivery in a time slot, but you have to keep it. This requires very smart algorithms.
  4. A new approach is needed to deal with an exponentially large amount of data. The goal is never the data itself. Note: a programmer is not the same as a data scientist.
  5. Digitise the entire chain. Don't stop at digitising your front-end channel but keep on going and apply digital transformation throughout the entire chain.

Picnic's online delivery service is a wonderful example of end-to-end digital transformation. A source of inspiration, showing that great strides can still be made in every industry. Cheaper, more enjoyable, more relaxed and time-saving. Always with the customer journey at the centre.

P.S. No, we don't work for Picnic, but this is what customers do if you really make them happy. They are going to write a blog about you ;-)

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Jeroen would like to tell you more:

+31 10 436 5050jeroen.soeterbroek@harborn.com