At The Retail Practice, we love a cup of coffee and it fires our creative brains, so we were delighted when Douwe Egberts Professional (DEP) asked us for help in getting to grips with the online marketplace. As a leading supplier of both coffee and machines to the hospitality, healthcare and leisure industry, amongst others, they felt their online presence lagged behind that of some of their competitors.
We took a detailed and thorough look at not only the market place but also got in touch with many of their customers, all over the world, to find out what they needed from DEP as an online business. We also looked at what the leading names in the industry offered and compared their online presence to that of DEP. As part of this, we reviewed how each competitor and DEP ranked against the following:
- Rank in search results
- Social presence
- News/Press/Blog content
- E-mail contact
- Customer service
- Mobile app
We found that in many of these areas, DEP did indeed trail behind, as many of their competitors had a significantly more substantial and developed digital business. We also found a variation within their own DEP webshops. The Netherlands and Denmark were leading the way with their sites, as these were not only better than most of the other DEP webshops in terms of content, but they were also proving that online was a great way to increase sales.
What do customers really want?
With the review of the market in mind, we carried out in-depth interviews with over 70 of DEP’s biggest global customers. The results were mixed. On one hand, most were very happy with the company as a whole but at the same time, there was a feeling that the online side of the business was letting them down. 64% of customers wanted to be able to order online but 70% of these couldn’t as the local website didn’t have the capability. We asked what else they’d like to see from a DEP online site and consistently they told us that ordering was high up on the list of priorities. Alongside this, they also wanted greater support, product knowledge and training guides. They told us that coffee drinkers are very loyal (we suspected this, as we’re amongst them) and they wanted to engage with the DEP brand so they could pass on greater knowledge and insight onto the end-consumer.
“Currently there’s no experience online – the website is too clean and business-like. It needs to breathe passion for coffee and how we can help customers with our expertise.”
DEP stakeholder (BE)
Shaping a digital future for DEP
We provided DEP with a detailed report that highlighted their overall position in the market, the digital strength of their competitors but also summarised the needs of their customers. The report broke the key criteria down into red, amber and green ratings so they could really see where to focus their efforts. We gave them an in-depth analysis of their online presence, across their key markets and showed them how this stacked up against the nearest competitors. To ensure that the findings and actions defined in our review were really driven home, we carried out a workshop with key stakeholders and then arranged country level follow-ups, tailored to each market.
We defined the opportunities in response to their customer’s needs. Our findings showed DEP that 68% of their customers wanted to communicate with them digitally, 35% wanted to be able to find product information and 33% were looking for details of promotions. The research we carried out with their customers, also showed that in countries where the online presence was already and established, it was working well and improving sales. 100% of the customers we spoke to in The Netherlands and Denmark told us they always purchase online, as it’s quick, easy and convenient.
“Online ordering is very convenient, very easy and I decide myself when to order, so I can do it whenever I have the time.”
Horeca customer, Denmark
The opportunity for DEP to build greater emotional engagement with customers was significant and they now have a very clear plan across their digital channels understand which initiatives DEP should be involved in. Resource planning is more efficient allowing them to avoid duplication and plug any gaps. Having quantitative and qualitative insights into what their customers really want helps them to engage with them and provided a more targeted web experience. Improvements to their online offer enhance the loyalty they already have with their existing customers, whilst allowing them to start engaging relationships with new ones too.