A website built in a week by Kentish digital firm Kayo, has helped their newest client to save 150 jobs and £400,000 of food stock.
It’s also led to a partnership between the digital experts and a distribution firm, to help other businesses to get back to selling, with the delivery easily organised.
Coronavirus lockdown meant that Watts Farms was left with warehouses full of food and drink at its 10 sites across Kent, Essex and Bedfordshire.
Due to the food service industry grinding to a halt, restaurants, hotels and schools were cancelling their orders, so the food was looking like it was going to waste and jobs would be at risk with such a huge loss.
They needed to do something and fast, and so they turned to digital experts Kayo and asked for the usually impossible – a website in a week to ensure as much food as possible could be sold before it started to spoil.
Whilst the website was being built, Watts Farms was working on delivery logistics, using their vans and staff for home deliveries rather than commercial ones.
Managing Director Richard Pilton, said: “Currently, the large companies are monopolising online sales because they have the ability to sell online and deliver. We wanted to give smaller businesses the opportunity to do just that and open again.
Digital plunge a success
A month after thinking their 68-year-old family business might be facing collapse, 14,000 orders have been taken via the website. The initial £400,00 stockpile was saved, plus more has been ordered in and sold on top, with the online sales their sole route to market now.
2,000 orders were taken in the first fortnight, worth £100,000.
The e-commerce is linked to logistics, offering full automation for deliveries – a totally new side to the business, turned to in response to the coronavirus situation. It also sparked an idea for Kayo – to offer a reasonably priced website and logistics package, suitably named The Garden of England.
Managing Director Richard Pilton, said: “After working with Watts Farms, we realised that some businesses needed not only a website, but logistics too. We’re in unprecedented times where some companies are being forced to be storage companies due to them being unable to sell or deliver their goods. This needed to change.
“When we emerge from isolation they’ll have taken a big leap in going digital – something they may not have thought of before or were hesitant in doing; they’ve now been pushed.
“We spoke with logistics experts Alan Firmin to see if it was possible and we are now able to offer websites with a click and delivery system in place, online store, payment gateway and fully accessible on mobile, tablet or desktop. “We can also provide an app alongside it too.”
The reductions are made possible by smaller businesses sharing deliveries with others – instead of setting up their own logistics.
It’s better for the environment too – less journeys will be made with less of an impact.
A spokesman for Alan Firmin said: “It’s great to be partnering with another Kent company, offering something unique at a time when many businesses need to take a different approach to get back on their feet.
Kayo’s idea means that not only will they have the online sales platform they need, but also the distribution network too.
It’s not something we’ve done before but when Kayo asked us, we thought it would be good to be involved.
We can now work with clients we may not have had the opportunity to meet before, offering them a great deal on logistics; growing their business and ours too.”
The website can be viewed here: