Case study

Load balancing for e-grocery warehouses

When ordering groceries online, shoppers choose times that suit their schedules, often favoring evenings or weekends over morning deliveries. This leads to some warehouse shifts being hectic, and some very slow.

In an attempt to balance the workload in their warehouses, Migros Online introduced surcharges on deliveries during the busiest shifts.

We had to determine how and where to introduce such a change in the e-grocery checkout flow, without negative impact to the user experience. Basically using a user-centered approach to change the shoppers' behaviors through transparency and communication.

UX Design
Migros Online
Live site
Migros Online


Increasingly complex pricing structure

The delivery price is determined by the size of the basket, with lower costs offered for larger orders at different tiers.  The new surcharge would add another dimension; depending on the time and day of the delivery, an additional fee would be applied. Additionally, free delivery was to be offered for certain days for larger baskets. 

Keeping the cognitive load at bay 

To provide customers with an easy-to-read overview of upcoming deliveries, we presented delivery slots in a delivery schedule. However, the schedule was already quite busy due to the numerous time slots offered each day. Our challenge was to include the additional pricing information without cluttering the visual display.

This case was exciting because of the multiple challenges: working out interaction and visualization, keeping the delivery slot selection comprehensive, and communicating an increasingly complex pricing structure. At the end of it all, we still had to provide a solution that our shoppers would understand easily.


Close collaboration with the in-house team

We carefully considered how the new pricing could be introduced without causing visual overload to the delivery schedule. It took multiple rounds of iterations with developers, business development, product owners, UX writers and researchers until we reached a solution that worked both for technical, business and user needs.

Making long slots attractive

Extra attention was paid to making the longer delivery slots more attractive. Shoppers prefer to know more accurately when their groceries will be delivered, so the long slots were rarely selected. However, many shoppers also care about sustainability. The long slots allow for better route planning, leading to fewer miles driven. To encourage customers to choose these, we introduced a green leaf to indicate the connection to the environment, and added information to give shoppers insight into how it works.

Iterations and tests

Together with the UX researchers, we conducted user tests of the new delivery schedule to see if it fulfilled the shoppers' needs. Only after validating the concepts, we specified them and handed them over for development.


From a user experience perspective, the new communication and visualization worked well. Shoppers easily navigated the new pricing structure and selected their desired delivery slots.

The long delivery slots gained popularity, and the green leaf empowered shoppers to make conscious decisions about their environmental impact. 

By testing and validating the concepts and carefully measuring the impact of the new scheme as it was launched, we could roll it out confidently. The load-balancing efforts were launched in 2023, and early results show that the measure is effective. More users shifted to delivery slots during the day, allowing for better warehouse shift balancing, even a bit too good, as the warehouses experienced over capacity on the previously hectic shifts. 

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