At a glance

Unilever is pivoting ever more of its business toward e-commerce, both through owned channels and big online retailers, which has required the business to make profound changes. As well as getting senior leaders on board, this has required nuanced thought about how customers encounter the brand online, and how that experience drills down to the delivered product.

Why it matters

Unilever’s size and ambition in this space illustrate where future retail growth is expected to come from. It involves bringing about changes in how new products are developed, with whom an organisation must partner in order to do so, and thinking with delivery at the core of the offer.


  • E-commerce is of critical importance in fast-developing markets, where e-commerce has spread faster than big box retail in a short space of time.
  • Online shopping leans heavily on online signals that signal future demand; Unilever has been working to understand and innovate on these signals.
  • The balance in e-commerce is between convenience for the consumer and keeping that side of the business profitable.