Shipping Food: How We Built A Custom Shipping App
Selling perishable goods online can be tough if you don't have the proper operations in place. There's so much to account for when shipping food, like product availability, shipping on time, displaying accurate costs and more.
Shipping Food With A Custom Calendar Shipping App
We had the opportunity to work with one of the top crab cake destinations in Baltimore. A restaurant that was once a brick-and-mortar now offers both dine-in and online ordering. With an emphasis on high-quality ingredients and a high-quality staff, the company now offers overnight nationwide shipping on their famous crab cakes.
To achieve this level of success, their website needed updating, and more importantly, they were faced with a few issues when it came to shipping food and delivering the perishable goods. So, the company reached out to our team for help.
Prior to working with Groove Commerce, the restaurant struggled with accurately presenting their customers with shipping costs and delivery dates/times. Their customers didn't know when to expect their food to be delivered.
Since food is perishable, their team needed to create a way to tell their customers up-front how much shipping will cost and when to expect delivery. The inaccurate shipping costs and delivery times was a huge roadblock for the company, so our team stepped in to help.
The Solution: A Custom Shipping App
To help, we created a custom detailed shipping calendar application that allows their customers to:
- Order ahead of time
- Estimate the exact costs of shipping
- Choose the exact day that they want their perishable food product delivered
Delivery Rates & Dates
Since the company charges a different delivery rate for Saturday deliveries, we've combined Advanced Shipping Manager to provide a more accurate shipping cost. They do not ship on Saturdays, Sundays or certain holidays (because their products are perishable), so the calendar automatically blocks out those days for delivery.
Further, the back-end allows the restaurant to filter through many categories, like the number of days between the order and delivery date. If the company wants to extend a specific order out at least 3 days, the calendar shows the first delivery availability 3 days later.
In addition, we set the maximum number of days to 27 for credit card rules. Our team added a delivery cutoff time, so customers who order before 6:00 p.m., even if they place the order at 5:59, are able to get their order delivered the next day. However, those who place orders at 6:00 p.m. or later must wait an additional day to receive their order.
How Does It Help?
From an individual standpoint, the restaurant can choose a product and mark on the calendar that they only have x amount to sell on a specific date. Though their perishable food items don’t necessarily go out of stock, a customer can see the exact quantity of a product that the restaurant has left to ship that day.
Orders come on a first-come first-served basis, and once the stock number hits zero, it’s no longer available to be delivered on that date. This is important for a restaurant like this because they have limited items for their perishable goods. If they didn’t use this calendar app, their site would default back to the BigCommerce inventory settings which shows everything as “in stock.”
How We Leveraged The BigCommerce Platform
As the restaurant industry continues to provide unique experiences to consumers, this calendar app can go a long way for BigCommerce stores that are selling and shipping food. This app is not native to BigCommerce, either.
This app requires the Advanced Shipping Manager, and the Advanced Shipping Manager only has a scheduling app on Magento. Since they don't have a scheduling app on BigCommerce, our team developed it to provide better service to our client's customers.
We leveraged the Bigcommerce Webhook events to capture order data. Using this information, we would update the inventory database of our custom private app for the purchased product. If a product’s inventory within our app hit 0 on a specific date, that day would then be blacked out on the Calendar picker.
Our private app utilizes the Products API to create a User Interface for managing the inventory of products by date, and it uses the Orders API for gathering reporting information on the orders to go out on the requested date.
Using both BigCommerce and the Advanced Shipping Manager, we made the shipping app readily available to the company and have allowed them to offer more accurate shipping rates. Since this client sells perishable goods, their shipping rates are natively expensive. However we've been able to make their shipping rates as close as possible to their negotiated FedEx rates − which is great for companies that offer perishable goods. Since there’s not a current solution, we created the solution.
Compared to their last Magento website, this client saw a 14% increase in conversion rate. With the implementation of the calendar shipping app, the company's conversion rate was 5.4% on September 25th, 2020, which is a 28% increase from the prior month's conversion rate of 4.2%.
We're excited to see how this company grows with the implementation of this shipping app and are thrilled to implement this functionality in the future for other companies that sell perishable goods.
Do you any questions about this calendar shipping app in particular? Or are you encountering any difficulties with shipping food? Contact our team by filling out the form below with any questions or concerns, and we'll be happy to get in touch with you!