This is particularly true for Brakes, the UK's leading foodservice wholesaler: with the sudden closure of pubs and restaurants, Brakes was able to step in, alongside its wholesale colleague Bidfood, to help the government provide food and other essential goods to the clinically vulnerable who needed to "shield" themselves for at least 12 weeks.
Responding to changing demand
Brakes helped supermarkets bring food into the stores and worked with several retailers to meet the surge in demand for specific products. Brakes then began delivering its restaurant-quality products directly to consumers who could not secure delivery or did not want to visit a supermarket. Click and collect and consumer delivery options were launched from a number of depots.
Within two days, Brakes opened its B2B site to the public and took telephone pick-up orders from a few selected distribution centres (DCs). In parallel, and with the help of the e-commerce specialist KPS, they added Direct to Consumer (D2C) e-commerce site to their offering. From planning to execution in less than nine days, Brakes now offer click and collect and click and deliver to over 6.8 million households in the UK.
In the past, KPS has supported Brakes in many digital transformation projects, including the launch of a new e-commerce platform for restaurants, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools in 2019. As one of six SAP partners with the world's best customer experience and extensive expertise in implementing SAP solutions, KPS was the partner of choice for the D2C site. KPS also has a deep understanding of the Brakes business and its tech stack.
Alex Protasiuk, Business Relations Manager at Brakes, commented on the rapid implementation:
“As a business, we knew we had to respond quickly – which we knew would be challenging, but we have innovative and resilient colleagues at Brakes, so we were able to launch a really great service, in record time. What also made it possible was the support of a trusted partner, and one we felt could deliver exceptional results at pace. The support we received from KPS was nothing short of exceptional, with fast turnaround, and best practice at every stage of the implementation. As a result, we were able to launch the B2C site in just a week.”
A great challenge
New registration, location, payment and customer service processes were to complement Brakes' traditional business - a major challenge, as all processes had to be developed, tested and implemented quickly.
The new consumer website includes a postcode check that allows shoppers to see if they live within the delivery zone, which has a radius of 35-40 miles. Consumers have access to over 6,000 Brakes products - including fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, bread, milk and much more. The site allows shoppers to select a delivery date, compile their shopping basket and complete the checkout process - including payment by credit card using a newly integrated payment solution.
Barnaby Moffat, Commercial Director at KPS, described the success of the cooperation:
“Helping Brakes launch a completely new service, while ensuring the business can still provide essential food supplies to the trade, has been a rewarding project for all the KPS team involved. We understood the importance of delivering this digital transformation project at pace, so we doubled our team and worked around the clock to do all we could to achieve fast and effective results. We look forward to working closely with the team at Brakes as it evolves its D2C offering further, adding further capabilities to deliver ongoing improvements to CX and UX on site.”
The article was first published here.