Moving to an e-commerce site was a big jump for our farm three years ago, but I knew it was the direction I needed to go with our farm business. This was pre-pandemic. At the time we had a basic website with an online form that operated as our means for placing orders.
Recently, we just did a website refresh and upgraded to a new e-commerce platform for an improved customer experience.
The early years: Our makeshift online ordering syste
Here’s how our older system worked: a customer would place an order with the online form. I’d confirm we had inventory. I’d email them back to confirm their order, total and pick up options. They’d email me back a pickup time. They’d pick up and pay. Often, it wasn’t as smooth of a process as it sounds. Those bumps weren’t on my customers, or even me, it was the logistical process that was quite lengthy.
Deciding to move to a real e-commerce platform
I knew I had to make the process of buying as easy as possible for my customers. We live in the world of Amazon-expectations for online purchases. A few clicks and done. Painless, and then you get your goodies on your doorsteps a few days later.
Thankfully, customers buying direct from farmers know there’s some variability since we’re small businesses, not Amazon operating a giant warehouse. But we could still improve that experience. So that’s when we made the decision to move into e-commerce three years ago, with the additional goal of adding shipping as a delivery option.
I’m so glad we made the move for not only our customer experience, but also streamlining our work in fulfilling orders. Additionally, once we made it easier for customers to do buy from us, our sales increased for both local pickup and shipping orders. Even though our original e-commerce launch was about the same time as the pandemic hit, I really believe that with our specialty products our sales increased because it was easy to buy from a farmer without a lot of run around.
Future opportunities for our website and customers
Now as we enter the next stage of e-commerce for our farm, I’m excited for the increased streamlined experience for our customers with orders, as well as an easy to access recipe library. This new platform also sets the stage for future capabilities with future features such as chat support and a quarterly subscription program for whole goats and variety boxes (if you’re interested on getting on the waitlist sign up here). There’s so much opportunity to serve our customers.