How our shopping experience has shifted to the virtual world and will we ever want to go back to normal?

With the majority of people now working from home, although incredibly lucky to be able to do so, people are constantly reminded of the apparent need to repaint the living room, convert the box room into an office or fix up the garden. 

Lockdown may have halted all physical retail, but we have seen brands quickly shift their approach towards online and virtual appointments, enabling shoppers to continue with their house and garden renovations.

Even post lockdown, social distancing measures will remain in place and we will spend more time in the safety and comfort of our own homes.

As a result, it will be the retailers who are building virtual relationships now, that will benefit from this shift in behaviour. 

Here are 5 retailers building virtual relationships successfully:

John Lewis

A free home design service, where design experts will show you how to make the most of your space and tackle that interior project you’ve been thinking about. You can even share your personal Pinterest boards via the online booking system. 

And if you feel that now is the right time to switch up your wardrobe, you can book a personal styling video appointment with one of their style partners, giving you the help and confidence you need to change your look.

Behavioural Theory Applied: ‘Authority Bias’ We listen to the word of experts and value their opinion even to the point of investing in products they recommend.

Farrow and Ball

Their expert colourists are now offering online colour consultancy for just £99. This small investment can help with the overwhelming decision on what colour to paint your home.

Behavioural Theory Applied: Choice Rejection’ occurs when too much choice is overwhelming and procrastination pervades.


Started as a digital first brand offering virtual consultations to help you measure and choose the perfect curtains or blinds. Through a simple website with excellent user-experience you can order samples, book appointments and watch videos on how to install the product yourself, without ever needing to visit a store or see another human.

Behavioural Theory: Chunking’ complex tasks more appealing when ‘chunked’ into manageable pieces.


Started by combining a seamless shopping experience with a plant delivery service to your door. They now offer online workshops and 1-2-1 virtual consultancy to give advice on plant care, tips and maintenance to keep your house plants alive & luscious. 

Magnet Kitchens

Showrooms are closed but with Magnet’s virtual appointments you can design your dream kitchen, explore the showroom and get a guide price. Plus, if you order via the virtual design consultant you’ll get half price kitchen units and an extra 15% off everything.

Behavioural Theory Applied: Hyperbolic Discounting: irrational emphasis on what matters today, preference for immediate payoffs.

These are just 5 retailers building virtual relationships during lockdown but other brands across different sectors are starting to adjust the way they interact with their customers.

With just a few clicks of a button you could have these 5 industry experts transform your home for free, without leaving your house. Even better, you don’t need to have someone come to you house during the current Government restrictions. And there’s also the knowledge that no sales person will be in your home unwilling to leave until you’ve bought something!

Will we ever want to go back to the old ways before the health crisis? Will we have a choice? 

Our next blog in this series will feature our views on how retailers will be operating with social distancing laws in place.  

What is Behavioural Science?

Behavioural Science has been around since the 60s. It blends elements of psychology and economics to identify the mental triggers, or bias, nudges and heuristics, that affect the decisions people make.

This blog series is your go-to guide for a snapshot into what these triggers are, and how they can be used in marketing to influence consumer behaviour.

The Behaviours Agency

We’re a creative agency that uses behavioural science to create impactful ideas and experiences for retailers and brands. We call it creativity informed by behavioural science. If you want to know more about how do this, get in touch now.


By Janey Leonard-Myers

Senior Account Manager