Planning for ecommerce part 3: How personalisation can help protect and increase online baskets at checkout

If you have been following our series of articles looking at how grocery retailers can deliver a seamless omnichannel experience, you will know this is the third and final step in the customer journey.

Already we have focused on how dunnhumby’s propositions support retailers to navigate the ‘Plan’ and ‘Shop’ phases with personalised, customer data-driven solutions – if you haven’t already, follow the links to catch up with those articles.

Now we turn our focus to the last mile of the online customer journey; the ‘Buy’ phase. Delivering a great customer experience at this last step is critical not only for securing the purchase itself, but for ensuring your customers walk away feeling satisfied and confident they will shop again in future.

Here we explore some of the ways that grocery retailers can personalise the customer experience to protect and even increase basket size at the point of purchase and post-purchase.

Recognising customer challenges

In every phase of the customer journey, the goal of the retailer is to reduce friction for the customer. This is especially true in the Buy phase – ensuring an easy online checkout process is key to making sure customers don’t remove items from their basket or abandon their purchase entirely due to frustrations.

Our global Retailer Preference Index survey from 2021 shows that omnichannel customers (those who shop online and in store) are most satisfied with the ease and speed of online checkout. However, they are least satisfied with retailers’ ability to fulfil their online orders properly, namely when offering substitute products and relevant recommendations. This highlights a clear pain point to be overcome to ensure higher customer retention, especially since our study shows that omnichannel shoppers spend 25% more than in-store only shoppers.

Customers want to avoid making another trip to the store when products they usually buy are out of stock online, or they can’t find relevant alternative items to those that are unavailable online. In some cases, they may even need a reminder to make sure they don’t forget to purchase certain items.

Even after the customer has completed their purchase online, the final delivery can still be a disappointing experience if the retailer has not chosen relevant substitute products for items that were out of stock at the time the order was packed.

Our ‘Have You Forgotten’ and ‘Substitutes’ propositions – part of our Recommenders suite of solutions for grocers – help to ensure customers are not left without.

  • Have You Forgotten helps customers to remember items they may have forgotten at the point of purchase by suggesting items they regularly buy that are not currently in their basket. By using past purchase data from online and in store transactions, Have You Forgotten helps to improve customer satisfaction and helps retailers increase basket sizes by delivering highly relevant product recommendations at the right time.

In practice: For one North American retailer, Have You Forgotten helped to drive a $7 uplift per customer and $70,000 incremental sales in a 12-month period. Almost two thirds (65%) of the customers exposed to Have You Forgotten added at least one product recommendation to their basket.

  • Substitutes helps to mitigate the frustration of low availability and protect basket size by offering relevant alternatives to the customer while they are shopping online. Substitutes can also be used to provide a list of relevant alternative products to online fulfilment teams/pickers when fulfilling online orders. This proposition works for both click & collect and home delivery and helps to address last mile concerns by fulfilling orders in full, on time, and with alternative items that customers are least likely to reject and return.

In practice: For dunnhumby clients, Substitutes delivers a 38% conversion rate and 11% sales uplift on average, when comparing test customers to a control group.


dunnhumby’s propositions for the ‘Buy’ phase help to ensure customers don’t forget anything and are offered an alternative, protecting and increasing online baskets whilst overcoming last mile challenges too. Crucially, they improve satisfaction – helping to drive all-important repeat visits.

Together with the other propositions identified in our previous articles, they help retailers to personalise and maximise value in the final step in the customer journey of planning, shopping and buying their goods online. This supports the delivery of a seamless omnichannel shopping experience that inspires customers and drives margins.

Find out more

To find out more about our propositions and how we use our global insights to help shape strategies, get in touch.

The latest insights from our experts around the world

customer first data science analytics & machine learning services
Ready to get started?

Speak to a member of our team for more information

Contact us