Farmlands accelerates its e-commerce plans under lockdown
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New Zealand, the country announced a lockdown. Farmlands was deemed an essential business, supplying farms and ranches with the materials they need to work the land and keep animals alive. Its shops closed to the public, but the co-op needed to find a way to continue fulfill orders. In the 36 hours leading up to the lockdown, Farmlands got a taste of just how high the order volume could get in a crisis.
“It was bedlam,” says Wilkinson. “Vehicles were queued up at our shops and everyone was buying about 10 times what they would typically buy. I think we sold a month is worth of chicken feed in a day.”
Farmlands had a powerful new ERP platform in the cloud, which helped centralise and streamline orders. But it had no e-commerce site. So when shops closed, shareholders flocked to phone and email in overwhelming volumes.
Suddenly, Farmlands had to stand up an e-commerce site much faster and sooner than planned. The co-op turned to Datacom and Adobe for help building a Click and Collect store. The goal was to create something highly secure and functional in less than four weeks, using best-of-breed technology with Adobe Experience Manager Managed Services.
Getting a minimum viable product up and running with an aggressive timeline was a challenge, but Datacom and Adobe came through for Farmlands. “At one point, we had a team of 40 people working on the Click and Collect store,” says Wilkinson. “Datacom worked around the clock and on weekends. It’s an amazing team—and the answer from them is never ‘no’.”
In three and a half weeks, the team built the Click and Collect store from scratch, featuring 2,000 of Farmlands’ highest-selling products. The product information comes from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 system and Adobe Experience Manager serves the content online.
“Customers select the products they want to purchase and then one of our employees calls them to confirm that they have what they need, answer any questions, collect payment and arrange pickup,” said Reidie. “Click and Collect will be with us for as long as needed to keep everyone safe. The reception has been wonderful both from our employees and shareholders.”
The site caught on quick, with hundreds of orders pouring in every day. In just 23 days, the Click and Collect store brought in more than three times more revenue than the previous site did in a whole year.
“E-commerce volumes have grown 30x. In just the first six days, we had 1,000 transactions,” says Wilkinson. “Online revenue is now healthy and growing, whereas before it was marginal.”