Ocado is an online supermarket delivering both groceries and general merchandise direct to the door of its customers. With over 580,000 active customers, Ocado is the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailer and a brand that is built on delivering the best shopping experience in terms of service, range and price. As one of the first online only retailers, Ocado built a digitalĀ  experience which contributed towards the broad shift in shopping trends by using an innovative approach to make the service they provide the easiest to use and giving a high level of customer service. Ocado believes that the key driver to shifting consumers online is to improve the customer offer and experience in shopping for their groceries. Having the trust of its customers is hugely important to Ocado and something which needs to be consistent throughout the customer lifecycle from the moment they begin shopping to the point their groceries arrive.

“Ocado believes that the key driver to shifting consumers online is to improve the customer offer and experience in shopping for their groceries.”

Brian Parkin, Operational Recruitment Manager, Ocado

The Challenge

Ocado had developed a personalised, positive online shopping experience, but wanted to make sure this great service continued when their drivers came to make the delivery to the customer. ItĀ  therefore wanted to ensure that every delivery driver was an advocate for their brand, would demonstrate the same values and would complement the overall experience.

Ocado’s Operational Recruitment Manager, Brian Parkin, knew that the delivery service provided by their drivers was one of the great ways that the business goes the extra mile, and something that customers really value. Ocado being the online supermarket means that their drivers, or as they’re known, Customer Service Team Members, are significant representatives and the face of their brand.

The personalised experience Ocado provides means that customers receive a notification when their driver is on the way to them, so they know who to expect. The driver that delivers is an extension to this great customer service, delivering into homes including those containing vulnerable people. Brian felt they needed a way of making their customers feel comfortable with this part of their shopping experience. Their existing team members always go above and beyond to deliver the best experience they can, but Brian wanted a rigorous recruitment process for the additional people it would need as the company grew.

To address the challenges Brian knew that suitable background checks would be a good way to introduce a rigorous recruitment process, in line with showing that the drivers were trustworthy and reliable, but this wasn’t something they were able to do in-house at the time.

The Solution

Knowing that they would need to bring expertise from outside of the organisation to address their screening requirements, Ocado approached a number of different external providers to help.

With the planned growth rate of the company, Experian was chosen as a well-known, trusted brand that was well placed to manage the high number of checks that would be required. The check chosen to meet the requirements was a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and Disclosure Scotland (DS) criminal record check, which checks the record of each applicant, with their consent.

Being a Government ‘responsible organisation’ criminal record check provider, Experian’s large UK-based team are highly skilled and well-resourced to ensure these checks are accurate and always completed for Ocado, meaning they have peace of mind when it comes to screening staff and can focus on choosing the right people to join its growing team.

What this means for Ocado

The Experian solution would enable Ocado to automatically send driver applicants a quick and easy online assessment, which once completed, would return a real time DBS or DS result for Ocado to review as part of the recruitment process. The system allows Ocado to manage all applicants through one portal and can be used by several different people throughout the business. It also provides management information reporting, which is particularly useful with the increasing volume of applicants. In addition to this, it was felt the identity score that Experian provides for each applicant was a good feature to add to the background checks.

Brian Parkin, Operational Recruitment Manager commented “Although Experian is a large organisation all the team are very helpful and attentive; they seem to have time for their customers, are willing to listen to suggested changes and have the infrastructure to deal with the demand. I would recommend them to other businesses with similar challenges.”

“We were really pleased to be appointed to help find the right solution for Ocado. Our capability to upscale at any point is a great feature that allows them to put a successful process in place that doesn’t need to be changed as they continue to grow. The team were great to work with and it’s always good to hear how happy clients are with the solutions we provide.”

Paul Burdett, Experian Background Checking Specialist


Ocado has a best-fit solution that is now in place, which gives a smooth, robust process for screening the prospective employees, as well as added reassurance for their customers. The investment has delivered a positive result. Operational Recruitment Manager, Brian Parkin comments:

“As we had always been the leader in the industry; first with one-hour slots, first with taking the shopping inside the house; we wanted to be able to offer that little bit more than our competitors as well as reassuring our customers we had done everything possible to provide the best, most secure service. We now have an up-front recruitment process which means we get quality candidates who we’re able to quickly and efficiently screen.”

The project at Ocado introduced a new Experian-powered system, which, owing to its simplicity, meant there was very little training required internally. This, along with the full support of all senior managers, greatly aided the introduction of the new process which was quickly adapted to.

The positive experience provided as a result of this solution puts Ocado at the forefront of customer service and allows them to continue driving towards their vision ‘shopping made easy’.

Experian’s background checking service offered:
A quick and easy way to introduce a more rigorous recruitment process to onboard the most suitable team members
Real-time reports of background checking results to aid decision making before on-boarding
new candidates
A scalable solution for any amount of checks that may
be required
A single view solution to manage all background checks.