Leveling Up WooCommerce for a Leading Grocer

Posted 9 months ago by Meghan Goetz, Director of Marketing

The last decade has seen an increasing number of retail organizations expanding their revenue capabilities by optimizing their digital properties, specifically focusing on eCommerce integrations. Whereas retail expansion used to focus on the number of storefronts or brick-and-mortar locations, now the Internet has become the pivotal hub of commerce. Using the web to drive more sales is no longer just for startups and forward-thinking companies.

Organizations of all sizes and types are looking for ways to gain market share and serve customers in more locations, and the location accessible to the biggest, most concentrated audience is the one found online. Many brands are looking to create an experience for their customers online as dynamic and personal as their in-store experience. A WooCommerce integration solution allowed a local grocer to do just that- create an online shopping experience for their customers, retain the high level of customer service, and increase holiday sales by double digits!

It isn’t just Amazon that has developed a sophisticated sales and supply chain to serve customers through the web. From jewelry stores to car dealerships, offering customers a chance to browse inventory and complete purchases from their connected devices is table stakes for businesses in most every retail sector.

But what happens when legacy inventory, shipping, and sales technology isn’t configured in a way to serve new initiatives? What happens when antiquated ERP systems put up roadblocks, preventing the speed and agility necessary to match customer expectations with a company’s ability to deliver?

Almost all large organizations have made significant investments to bring their brands online. Learning later that the systems they purchased and integrated don’t have the features and functionality necessary to meet new strategic initiatives is disappointing to customers, and causes a significant blocker on the company reaching even the most modest targets.

Integrating eCommerce on the current digital platform

A premier regional grocer approached Crowd Favorite to develop a solution to an issue that was diminishing the full potential of their annual holiday hotline/sales center. With the holiday season representing a huge opportunity to drive sales before the end of the year, it was imperative that this grocer capture revenue not just from the multiple local stores, but also online as well. The holiday hotline serves as a unique offering that provides customers the option of ordering prepared holiday meals, bundles, and sides directly from their website. By offering customers this convenience during such a chaotic time of year, they hoped to increase sales while also delivering the high-quality service that makes the brand so popular.

In order for the holiday hotline to reach its full potential the grocer needed a unique solution that would enable online customers to purchase items through multiple channels. Their primary eCommerce solution would have to allow for the seasonal holiday hotline storefront to run in tandem without negatively impacting either experience.

The company’s shopping solution of choice, WooCommerce, is more than capable of handling the day-to-day traffic of the large grocery chain, but was not prepared to also integrate a key feature that this grocer needed for this launch — multiple scalable fulfillment channels and shopping carts. Unfortunately, the existing WooCommerce variations add-on didn’t provide the flexibility and scalability needed. The grocer’s team was stuck: how could they expand the scope of their commerce solution for the holiday hotline without rebuilding their entire platform from the ground up?

WooCommerce integration solution for the holidays

Because the grocer’s team chose an Open Source solution like WooCommerce, customization and new capabilities could be added to existing code. They chose to partner with an eCommerce Agency and Crowd Favorite based on the agency’s extensive experience not just with WooCommerce and Open Source software but also with complex digital environments supporting large retail brands.

To address this challenge, Crowd Favorite created a custom plugin that enabled the creation of multiple product variations along with separate carts and a distinct UX. Additionally, the Crowd Favorite team developed a lightweight, performance-monitoring tool and dashboard to manage both customers and their orders during high traffic periods. The use of Elasticsearch greatly helped in streamlining the customer’s experience towards order display, order lookup, and product display, decreasing the time it takes to query data compared to a solution that might rely on the WordPress API.

Crowd Favorite was able to leverage the WooCommerce extension and customize it to the client requirements without negatively impacting or refactoring existing commerce code. The new holiday hotline WooCommerce solution facilitated the ordering of products under a single umbrella, combining various items into a single bundle while still tracking component items as separate products.

The solution is secure, scalable for holiday traffic volume, and dovetailed nicely with their existing WooCommerce integration. The enhanced reporting features created by Crowd Favorite for the holiday hotline are reusable for the grocer to expand to general curbside orders and catering services. Finally, the new plugin follows all WooCommerce best practices, allowing it to serve as an extension of the world’s most powerful Open Source e-commerce solution instead of simply serving as a bolt-on piece of software that doesn’t properly fit.

Double-Digit Holiday Sales Growth

The grocer saw a double-digit growth over the prior year’s Thanksgiving holiday hotline platform with the WooCommerce integration. Additionally, by creating this type of solution, they can and will be using this integration and code for future initiatives that delight customers and keep inventory, fulfillment and order processing running efficiently. The grocer now has access to robust e-commerce extensibility to serve over 300 stores in its retail network, and the future is limitless for new programs and initiatives to generate more revenue online.

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eCommerce solutions for the future

The web is evolving at an exponential rate and along with it, customer needs and expectations. Today’s businesses require flexible, intuitive solutions to not only keep up, but to remain innovative and keep their place among the leaders in their industry.

Digital Transformation is important for every industry and can positively affect the user experience for your customers. If you’d like help with getting started or need a partner to work alongside you through this process, reach out to us. Crowd Favorite has worked with partners in many industries as they’ve modernized their online presence, and improved their user experience.