How is on-the-go design being reimagined in a consumer ecosystem in which the rituals of life have changed?

With the average commute for many now consisting of travelling from the bedroom to the office, ‘on the go’ design urgently needs to adapt.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director

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“I miss Pret so much I might make myself a bland sandwich and throw a fiver out of the window.” The sentiments of this viral tweet underline the impact of lockdown on consumers’ everyday rituals. Don’t worry, Pret got in touch with the tweeter in question and delivered her a sandwich of her choosing.

Joking aside, lockdown has revolutionised consumption habits and one of the biggest shifts has been the change in ‘on-the-go’ consumption habits. This is a trend which is likely to impact brands for the long-term as a growing number of the UK’s leading employers encourage their staff to work from home well into 2021. 

So, how should on-the-go design be reimagined for a world in which many consumers have ditched their on-the-go consumption habits?

Whether it’s coffee or a gourmet meal, brands that leverage new technology to provide personal, fast, convenient and no-queue solutions will win.

Michelle Whelan

Michelle Whelan

Michelle Whelan - New Lores.jpg

CEO

Geometry

As we emerge slowly from months of hibernation, being back to school, the office, the local, feels strange, but great.

The weeks and weeks of ‘staying at home’, for most of us non-essential workers, has broken old habits and created new ones. Post COVID, our ‘on-the-go’ needs will centre on convenience & hygiene to fit around new commute times, new work weeks, the absence of work canteens and more solitary consumption moments.

We are already seeing restaurants, cafés and bars change their businesses, enabling us to pre-order & collect or click & pay using apps. Whether it’s coffee or a gourmet meal, brands that leverage new technology to provide personal, fast, convenient and no-queue solutions will win.

Convenient also needs to be demonstrably safe, especially for ‘on-the-go’ occasions when there is less opportunity to clean and wipe. Plastics were already under attack for environmental reasons but now we know the virus can live on the material for 72 hours, they will be under further pressure. Brands need to embrace safer, more sustainable alternatives like paper.

Apps, QR codes, paper packaging, no queueing, no waiting, no touching are all the component parts of our new ‘on-the-go’ moments.

‘On-the-go’ needs to be re-imagined from being a consumer behaviour to a brand behaviour.

Louise de Ste. Croix

Louise de Ste. Croix

Louise de Ste. Croix, Head of Growth, BrandOpus.jpg

Head of Growth

BrandOpus

On-the-go consumption is something we crave because of its utter commitment to convenience at a high (enough) quality. So, even though our daily routines are changing dramatically (wfh’ing) our habits and behaviours aren’t. Many of us are still consumed by hectic schedules with likely only five minutes for lunch in between Zoom calls and possibly even childcare. We are still fundamentally time poor and what precious time we have, we don’t want to ‘waste’ on, if not cooking, then certainly washing up. It’s no wonder we crave Pret meals.

So, convenience, as a by-word for on-the-go, still matters more than ever. The brands that have been created to serve that need still matter. The temptation to translate these brand experiences into DIY experiences might be misplaced. KFC’s ‘We’ll take it from here’ campaign is a perfect response to the actual needs and wants of consumers.

Brands in the convenience space should instead retain confidence in what they offer. Their challenge is a physical one: getting to consumers. ‘On-the-go’ needs to be re-imagined from being a consumer behaviour to a brand behaviour. Local East London brand Forest Road delivered possibly the perfect blueprint for how ‘on-the-go’ can be re-imagined with their beer delivery service. If ‘on the go’ brands can transform into ‘go-to-you’ brands, then they should be able to continue serving the needs of consumers without diluting their brand and product offers.

It’s time for brands and businesses to get creative and to move from passive to proactive brands.

David Miller

David Miller

David Miller, Red Brick Road.jpg

CEO & Owner

Red Brick Road

On-the-go brands need to move, fast. They can no longer rely on daily ritualistic behaviour. Experts predict high street footfall won’t recover for a long time, if ever. So, the sleepwalking commuters who created coffee-shop culture and built lunchtime into a sector with 15-20% annual growth need to be lured into new routines.

Brands must carve out new opportunities. Pret-a-Manger moved quickly; they had to, publicly confirming an 80-90% drop in sales. Their speedy metamorphosis has reframed their offering into something much more innovative and customer-centric, a home delivery service, a click-and-collect brand, a take-out proposition, an Amazon retailer and a heat-at-home business. In short, you can now get Pret anywhere: it’s more ‘Get a Manger’ than Pret-a-Manger.

Deliveroo also pivoted quickly, lapping up increased demand for home delivery; Will Shu their founder thinks adoption has leapt forward three years in just three months. And now they’ve created tech-enabled ‘Table Service’, to remove human interaction from the ordering and payment process, broadening beyond takeaways in one deft move.

It’s time for brands and businesses to get creative and to move from passive to proactive brands. What excites me is that they’ll all need advertising to help.

With WFH, our needs haven’t changed; just simply how we satisfy them.

Ed Silk

Ed Silk

Bulletproof_Ed_PR_2019_LR[4].jpg

Growth Strategy Director

Bulletproof

With WFH, our needs haven’t changed; just simply how we satisfy them. However, this does prompt changes in our behaviour, forming new habits as a consequence. On-the-Go needs to respond in three ways to remain a habit.

Firstly, brands in this space will need to maintain physical proximity. They need to be where we are. Which isn’t the office. So, whether through location, delivery or subscription, we need to be able to quickly grab a sandwich, salad or snack with ease. This warrants a seamless digital interaction with people that can flex to different contexts: time, day, and the individual too.

Secondly, you need to design an experience that people will value. Take Pizza Pilgrims, who have responded brilliantly by offering a homemaking pizza kit so you can recreate their restaurant experience at home. On-the-Go brands need to consider these kinds of inventive ways, whether it is the lunch box meal kit or the mobile sandwich bar, creatively delivered through the lens of the brand and its distinct personality to build equity.

Thirdly, consider a more elevated offer, as On-the-Go will certainly be more of a treat than it was before. With people spending fewer days at the office, they might be more tempted to push the boat out when they do.

Related Tags

Design Convenience