Direct Plants eCommerce case study

Frooition have been working closely with Direct Plants since 2010. After a recent eCommerce website project, the owner Shaun approached Frooition to provide a case study of his experience. This is Shaun’s story in his own words:

Covid-19 update – some positive news!

"Since the outbreak, we are seeing up to a 70% increase in sales to the same point as last year – we are seeing increased sales from all areas, people are using this lockdown to make use of their garden space, we are seeing many people trying online ordering for the first time and being impressed of the efficiency & ease of ordering through a website like BigCommerce!Our yearly increase is looking now approx 600%!!! compared to our old Open Cart site!

Customers are just happy to have a link of normality in shopping online, but also being able to make their gardens better.

We have put in strict social distancing between staff, drivers & ourselves, all staff are health checked each morning before entering site aswell."

Shaun O’Brian – Direct Plants

Are you struggling to move from Bricks to Clicks? #wecanhelp

Shaun’s eCommerce story:

My name is Shaun O’Brien from Direct Plants Ltd – a nursery set in the heart of the Norfolk countryside.  We’re a multi-channel eCommerce retailer and sell a full range of outdoor garden plants and trees. A mail-order only business we deliver nursery fresh plants & trees to our customers throughout the country.

We began online trading on eBay in early 2006 before expanding to Amazon and then launching our first website. However, within a few months of trading, we realised we could no longer support all three shopping channels without new software to handle sales and stock levels.

We tried and tested many early models and in 2010 we settled on a system. It had its flaws but we had no choice but to accept them. We struggled with this system for many years but it was never quite right, There were always issues which only became more serious as our business grew and order volumes increased.

The platform we were using was very outdated and could no longer handle our increased volume of orders and the number of products we stocked. There were major issues with under & overselling across the main marketplaces and channels not updating orders correctly. Added to this the website was very slow but we had no way of resolving these problems with the platform we were using. In December 2018 we made the massive decision to temporality close our existing website and search for a solution.

Frooition eCommerce websites?

We approached Frooition in early 2019. We had used Frooition for our eBay design since 2010, so already had some experience with the company. Up to this point, I wasn’t aware that Frooition also provided website design and build services. But after browsing their portfolio I was very impressed!

When I first explained our issues to Andy P & Andy E at Frooition, they were very understanding. They knew exactly what we had gone through and how they could resolve the issues we faced. They swiftly offered us a range of options fully explaining every option in great depth. And they were happy to answer the many questions I had for them.

Due to the complexity of switching to a new platform, it was a very daunting and worrying time for us. Our peak spring/summer season was quickly approaching so a decision had to be made. But the guys at Frooition took the time to answer all my concerns. They were very confident in what they were offering and made a detailed action plan with realistic timescales, along with keeping within our budget. We had looked at other design companies but they were quoting tens of thousands of pounds with unrealistic time scales. We decided to go ahead and asked Frooition to build our new website

The plan…

The action plan and solution for our business was to use the BigCommerce eCommerce platform for our main website and to use Linnworks for our multi-channel selling. Frooition introduced us to both providers and after some initial trials and examples with both providers our decision was made. We felt very confident and gave Frooition the go-ahead to complete the eCommerce project.

Frooition instantly got to work and handled all the organising impeccably. They actually suggested that we started using Linnworks as our multi-channel tool instantly for eBay and Amazon whilst they were designing the new website. We never knew this was possible but this option allowed us to switch from our problematic platform to Linnworks immediately.

Both Frooition and Linnworks handled the multichannel switch over in less than a few hours over the course of one morning. It was like a breath of fresh air using Linnworks and we could see straight away how efficient the tool is. Orders instantly started coming into the system from eBay and Amazon and stock was updating correctly. Linnworks provided training during the switchover and by the end of the week we knew we had made the correct decision.

It was like a weight was lifted off our shoulders. Linnworks really did take the stresses out of multi-channel selling instantly! One of the key features we love about Linnworks is the additional users. The system allows you to give staff your chosen level of permission and for the first time in our company’s history I can trust and feel confident in allowing my staff to handle more of our day-to-day operations. This frees up valuable time for myself to focus on expanding the business.

Building the site:

We then literally sat back and watched Frooition build our new website. They kept us up to date during all of the design stages and set up training sessions to show us how powerful Big Commerce is. The date finally came when the website was ready to launch. We couldn’t have been happier with the outcome and the final design. The launch was handled professionally and as scheduled.

We soon started using the many features BigCommerce had to offer, including cart level discounts, multi buy options and much more.  One of the great things Big Commerce allows you to do is handle promotions, add features via its apps and make changes. This provides a massive cost saving for on-going projects, but if things get too technical for ourselves, we email Frooition with the idea or problem and they quote us to handle to the work directly, and they never fail to impress! Frooition’s communication, professionalism and understanding of an eCommerce business is the best service I have ever experienced.

Direct Plants special offers

They offer a no hassle, non-pushy sales process, which allows us to feel in control of our business at every step.

Amazing results:

We have been using BigCommerce and Linnworks for six months with Frooition design. We have seen an increase in direct online website sales of up to 60% compared to our busiest year when using our old platform, and are set to turnover 1.5m in sales for 2019.

In addition to increased sales, the one thing we are most happy with is that we finally feel confident and can trust a solution which is a fully updateable platform. It gives us all the tools and solutions to allow us to scale up and continue to grow in the future. Along with Frooition being our main partner in helping us achieve our goals.

…we finally feel confident and can trust a solution which is a fully updateable platform

eBay Award Winning!

I’m also pleased to confirm Direct Plants Ltd has won the eBay business award 2019 for the specialist product category. We can honestly say that Frooition with our eBay shop design and Linnworks for the multi-channel selling solutions has certainly helped grow our eBay business to what it is today. We are also excited to confirm we now have recently agreed future plans with Frooition to update our eBay branding and also handle our Amazon brand storefront which should be completed in early 2020.

Check out the amazing functionality on Shaun’s site, as well as some of the amazing special offers available here:

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