scales iconFor food retailers

Supermarkets have set the standard for selling food and groceries online and therefore the expectations of online food shoppers. With FoodCommerce you can offer a similar service, or even surpass it. Most things are optional and customisable so you can pick and choose what you want to do.

Delivering to local customers

All supermarkets deliver using their own vehicles and staff and most operate out of their local stores. With FoodCommerce you can set delivery areas and therefore operate locally in a similar manner.

Additionally you can offer collections and national delivery by courier. Collection points can be anywhere and you can have as many as you like. For example your customers could collect their order from the post office in the next village or the local pub in the evenings. The most obvious collection point however is your own shop, which works really well for products that you need to order in. The best example being Christmas turkeys and we make it very easy for you to start selling them in October for a Christmas collection.

Delivery slots

Supermarket shoppers choose when their order is delivered by selecting a delivery slot from a grid. Usually they are either one or two hours long and prices vary depending on the day and time.

FoodCommerce does exactly the same and we call it “home” delivery. Slot lengths can be between one and eight hours long and overlap each other. Each slot can have a different delivery charge and maximum number of orders. Once you have set up your rules you can largely forget about it as new slots will be automatically created and old ones will disappear.

Home delivery doesn’t suit every retailer so FoodCommerce also has a “milk-round” delivery. Typically you will have a set route and the customer will get their order when you pass by. The delivery slots are displayed in a list as there are usually only one or two a day.

Collections and courier deliveries also display their delivery slots in a list similar to “milk-rounds”.

Order values do change

The amount a supermarket charges is usually different to the original order value. This is because some products will be sold by weight, some products may not be available and some products may be substituted. For this reason they take payment after they have prepared the order and know what the final amount is.

FoodCommerce does exactly the same. When the customer places their order their card details are verified and securely stored with your payment gateway provider.

Selling by weight

You can sell products by the kilogram and add one or more guide weight options for the shopper to choose from. Once you have prepared the order you enter the actual weights causing FoodCommerce to recalculate the order value and display it back to you. When you click on the “confirm” button payment is taken from the customer’s card.

Substitutions

You can substitute any product in the order with another product. If you don’t have a suitable substitution then simply enter the quantity as zero. Both these actions will affect the final order value.

Shoppers change their minds

Until you need to start preparing an order it is left “open” and the shopper can go back into it and make changes to the products they are buying, use a different payment card or even cancel it. Many shoppers regularly shop like this and will often change their order several times as they add things they hadn’t previously thought of.

Shoppers cannot change their delivery slot, but we have made it so you can. You can also change their delivery address and customer comments. Unlike the shopper you can make these changes after the order has locked.

Keeping you organised

Delivery slots makes this possible as we take the delivery date and work backwards to tell you what needs doing when. Delivery slots also have lead times, which we use to tell you when to start preparing an order and the day it needs dispatching if it is going by courier. A lead time can be added to any product that needs more time making any order containing it "lock" earlier.

Affordability

You may be wondering how all this can be done for an independent food retailer when supermarkets have spent millions creating similar online shops. Well just like them we want many stores to operate through our one web application and that gives us the economies of scale necessary to justify our investment in it.

We are also continuing to develop new features and improve on existing ones, most of which you will get for no additional charge. We already believe we have made it possible for you to offer a better online food shopping service than the supermarkets for a reasonable charge and little risk. Add to that the prices and quality of your products and that people like to shop local if they can…

We have included as many technical things as we can into our monthly charge like hosting, domain name renewal, SSL security certificates and 10 email accounts so it just leaves you to concentrate on selling and delivering.

There is no set up charge and you can cancel any time by just clicking a button.

Can I use my local web developer?

Yes, we actively encourage other web developers to get involved and hope they will really help us push the boundaries. Typically they can help you set up your store and with ongoing marketing. Styling your online shop to your company brand and professional images of your products are very worthwhile. Ongoing you should be sending out regular marketing emails with associated updates to your home page.

Can I do this with conventional e-commerce?

Probably not. FoodCommerce takes local retailers well beyond the capabilities of conventional e-commerce and in that we believe it is unique. Doing it right is important because shoppers will only use your online shopping service if they like it. When they do and you become busier the true value of FoodCommerce’s features will become apparent. No more so than at Christmas. If you are selling widgets to the world conventional e-commerce may still be the right choice for you, but if you are selling food, especially to local customers, then FoodCommerce is the right tool for the job.

For more information see overview