Online shopping platform for Farmers Choice to capitalise on health trend
Today, online shopping is all the rage. Global e-retail continue to boom and online shopping platforms are springing up like mushrooms. The Covid-19 pandemic has also spurred people to turn to online shopping platforms, which offer greater convenience during the health crisis. This has changed shoppers’ past practice of purchasing things (especially apparel and electronic products) mainly from physical stores, and shopping for daily necessities and foodstuff via the Internet has also become a popular practice. Meanwhile, demand for organic fresh produce has been on the rise in recent years as people are becoming more health-conscious. In view of all this, Farmers Choice has been quick to take advantage of the new shopping trend by developing a well-established e-commerce platform.
Founded in 2012, Farmers Choice owns and operates own farm and grows organic fresh vegetables that are free from pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. Its mission is to provide consumers with healthier options and promote the benefits of organic food. Every year, Farmers Choice’s farm grows more than 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, corn and okra. The company also conducts research and development into new vegetables and fruits and have recently started offering salads to meet people’s different needs. With business diversification and expansion, Farmers Choice knows it is not enough to rely solely on offline retail if it wants to boost revenue. Diversifying into online shopping is the way to go, and with that comes the need to upgrade the functions and enhance the interface design of its online platform. Some time ago, the Farmers Choice team encountered specialists of the Ricoh Hong Kong Limited team, who introduced to them Ricoh’s professional e-commerce solutions. The two teams got on famously right away.
- Professional e-commerce solutions with various payment methods
- Broader customer base, higher sales revenue
- Membership system and analysis of shoppers’ habits
Professional e-commerce solutions with various payment methods
Speaking of Farmers Choice’s efforts to diverse business, marketing consultant Lucia Chong says: “In addition to producing organic vegetables, we also make an effort to develop products for different customer clusters to meet their specific needs. For example, we have come up with a vegetable powder for children who don’t like vegetables and elderly people who have difficulty swallowing solid food. We also offer ready-made salads with high nutritional value.”
Before collaborating with Ricoh, Farmers Choice faced several problems that undermined its ability to increase revenue. For one thing, it retailed products mainly through its physical stores. Besides, its website only had limited e-commerce functionality, and the domain name of the site was about to expire. Another problem was that the company did not have enough IT staff and the few IT team members it had were not particularly experienced. All these meant Farmers Choice’s e-commerce platform was limited in its ability to drive business, and the company’s growth prospect was hindered.
Supported by Ricoh’s cutting-edge e-commerce solutions, Farmers Choice’s new online shopping platform features an attractive user interface, a shopping cart system and a member login system. Apart from credit card, there are new payment options such as Payme, Alipay and Octopus, making it easier for shoppers to make purchases while encouraging them to shop.
Broader customer base, higher sales revenue
The 60-plus vegetables and fruits produced by Farmers Choice, including watermelon, salad greens, asparagus and sweet potatoes, are all remarkably fresh. As no chemical fertilisers and pesticides are used, it takes longer to grow the products and the yield is lower than usual, but the crops are more natural and delicious and have received SAC and IFOAM accreditations that confirm their organic status. Luwin, a business solution consultant overseeing the online platform project, says: “A comprehensive online retail platform can definitely help Farmers Choice boost its market visibility and broaden its customer base.”
Throughout the collaboration, the Ricoh and Farmers Choice teams maintained good communication. Ricoh was keen to understand the needs and views of Farmers Choice’s customers while offering suggestions accordingly. To ensure users enjoy a smooth, mobile shopping experience, Ricoh developed bespoke functions that meet customers’ needs. These functions encompass the product interface of the shopping platform, delivery procedure, WhatsApp-based instant customer service and order tracking. The shopping platform also has a blog that features new product information, user reviews and videos.
Membership system and analysis of shoppers’ habits
In addition, Ricoh created a membership system whereby repeat business is incentivized via loyalty points scheme encourages Farmers Choice’s customers to keep shopping on the online shopping platform. There is also a member referral programme that promotes the Farmers Choice brand and the shopping site by word of mouth, which will widen the customer base.
In designing the shopping platform, Ricoh made sure to provide convenience to Farmers Choice’s employees - the company’s administrative personnel can simply log in to the backend of the site to update product information such as prices and amounts of stocks. They can also track customers’ payment records and analyse their shopping habits. With the new platform, Farmers Choice is able to promote its products to customers in a more targeted manner and identify best-selling products each month with greater ease.