Seamless shopping










The Challenge

The UK retail landscape is going through a revolution because of the transformative effects of eCommerce.  This change has already revolutionised the way we buy books, DVDs, holidays and even switch energy suppliers.  For the last 20 years it has slowly grown in the FMCG industry and is now the fastest growing channel. According to Nielsen, online consumer packaged goods (CPG) sales are expected to grow at a 25% compound rate from 2012 through 2015. It is revealing that even among categories that have been slow to capitalise on the eCommerce revolution - such as food, home, health and personal care - annual eCommerce growth is well above 10%, demonstrating the potential opportunity for CPG. 

This trend towards eCommerce has meant that retailers and suppliers need to adapt to the new shopping experience. Shopping online is all about convenience.  The consumer can purchase items from the comfort of their own home or on the move; compare prices and read reviews of products and brands; easily apply discount and coupon codes; and can complete a transaction in a matter of seconds. That said, shopping online could be even more seamless. 

Unilever are working with a number of UK retailers to help improve the online shopping experience for their customers. The key barriers faced by the consumer when shopping online often relate to forgetting to order products, and the hassle of adding individual products to a shopping basket. Amazon began to address this through Amazon Dash which, at the touch of a physical button, orders a replacement for the product it is assigned to. However, there is significant opportunity to further enhance the customer experience, level of accuracy and security when driving product replacement.

This challenge therefore, set in partnership with Unilever, seeks solutions to make the replenishment of regular products even easier. The winning solution could be software or hardware related, but must be scaleable, simple to use, and cost-effective. It is imperative that the solution is suitable for grocery home shopping, and enhances the process of adding the product to the online shopping basket of their retailer, rather than addressing delivery.

Additionally, applicants may wish to explore one or more of the following points for consideration:

  • ways of innovating rewards and loyalty incentives;
  • exploring personalization;
  • improving frictionless purchasing; 
  • flexible ordering built around customers needs, habits and product lifecycles;
  • utilising connected devices and the Internet of Things;
  • communicating with the customer to make the process as convenient as possible.


The successful company will have the opportunity to trial their technology with Unilever for a minimum period of three months, with the potential to commercialise their offering more widely. Unilever will support the winning company by providing access to experts on eCommerce who will provide guidance on how to take the solution to market, and there is potential for the winning team to test their technology with a UK national retailer.


About Unilever

No matter who you are, or where in the world you are, the chances are that Unilever products are a familiar part of your daily routine. Every day, around the world, people reach for Unilever products. Their brands are trusted everywhere and, by listening to the people who buy them, they've grown into one of the world's most successful consumer goods companies. In fact, 150 million times a day, someone somewhere chooses a Unilever product.


Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of fast-moving consumer goods. Here are some recent highlights from their three global divisions - foods, home care and personal care.


  • The acquisition of Bestfoods in 2000 brought them leadership in the culinary category. Knorr is now their biggest Food brand, with a product range covering soups, bouillons, sauces, noodles and complete meals.
  • They have met consumer demand for healthy foods by launching Flora Pro.activ, a spread which contains ingredients that can help reduce cholesterol levels.
  • In the branded olive oil category they are a leader, the most important brand being Bertolli. Appealing to consumers' taste for Mediterranean food, they have launched Bertolli pasta sauces and dressings.
  • Unilever are the world's leading ice cream producer, with brands such as Wall's and Ben & Jerry's. Innovations such as Magnum snack-sizes and Cornetto miniature and multi-packs have sparked progress.
  • They are the largest seller of packet tea in the world through our Lipton and Brooke Bond brands.                

Home and personal care

  • Unilever lead the home care market in much of the world, which includes cleansing and hygiene products.
  • Many of their home care products are market leaders including Cif, Comfort, Domestos and Persil.

Within the personal care market, Unilever are global leaders in products for skin cleansing, deodorants and antiperspirants. 


Learn more:

Awards: 5 x £35,000

Briefing Event: 21 January

Contest Brief

Guidance for Applicants

Deadline: noon Tuesday 23 February 2016