Kimberly-Clark: Using a conversational research solution to optimize e-commerce conversion & drive 20% sales lift

Kimberly-Clark click-and-collect market research study

About Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark is the manufacturer of some of the most trusted brands in consumer goods, including Cottonelle, U by Kotex, Huggies and Kleenex. Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population in more than 175 countries use Kimberly-Clark products every day.

The Challenge

For Kimberly-Clark, online sales of their products were not keeping pace with adjacent categories at one of their biggest retailers. It wasn’t the online shopping model — “click-and-collect,” the term for buying online and picking up in-store — was already a $26 billion market and their retail partners were leaders in the category. The real challenge for Reach3 then was to help Kimberly-Clark discover the answer to why.

Why weren’t shoppers buying the personal care items (in particular, their feminine hygiene and incontinence products) online at a rate akin to similar product categories? What were the underlying barriers and emotional drivers preventing shoppers from buying these items online, and what improvements in the user experience can be implemented to improve sales?

The Solution


A mobile-first, conversational approach was deployed to engage with hundreds of shoppers in a three-phased approach. Using the mobile messaging-based research platform from our sister company, Rival Technologies, the first phase of the study was a robust, quantitative exercise that incorporated Drivers and Fully Saturated Reach (FSR) advanced analytical techniques. The goal was to understand the implicit drivers and barriers for in-store-only and click-and-collect shoppers.

Kimberly-Clark-notificationThe second phase utilized a mobile notification capability to recontact select consumers to deep dive into their personal care online shopping, incorporating immersive diaries and projective techniques. In the third phase, participants were brought into one-on-one, in-depth interviews where screen-sharing technology allowed a deep exploration of the online and mobile app e-commerce shopping experience, including search behavior, UX & UI pain and passion points. Rich video selfies helped to uncover emotional drivers and contextual dynamics behind the e-commerce shopping experience, revealing several specific optimization areas that, if optimized, could increase conversion

“With this type of research, it is like you are texting back and forth with a friend. The use of emojis, the use of memes, makes everything a lot more conversational and we see that people can let their guard down a little bit more and we get great results.”

Senior Manager of Shopper Insights for Kimberly-Clark

The Results

The project was a terrific success. Kimberly-Clark was able to make UX and design recommendations to their retail partner, which once implemented contributed to a 20% brand and category sales increases. And the “why” they were seeking to answer? “It was called online grocery, so people think ‘food,’” says the client. The retailer’s website and app now call attention to a number of different categories of personal care products that were previously bundled together.

The timing of the changes was almost uncanny — the project started in the Spring of 2019 and Kimberly-Clark was already passing recommendations to their retail partners a few short months later. Now, the online share of grocery sales in the US is already approaching 10%, four years ahead of last year’s predictions. “What we thought would take four or five years is happening today,” says the client.


One particular point of pride for Reach3 — aside from the customer results, which are always our “why” — was the fact the project won the 2019 EXPLOR Award at the 2019 Corporate Researchers Conference.