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Case study

From Farm to Faram, Hop Shop With an Innovative eCommerce Platform

How do you maintain the personal relationship with your business partners and digitalise your operations at thesame time?

Charles Faram is one of the top global suppliers of hops with their headquarters in the United Kingdom and offices in the USA and Canada. Charles Faram is one of the most trusted partners in the brewing industry, they have established strong personal relationships through the supply chain from the hop farmers to the breweries. Charles Faram has demonstrated continuous innovation and ability to stay contemporary throughoutthe more than 150 years of its history, this has kept the company ahead of its competitors. The increasing popularity of craft beer and resultant growth in micro-breweries set new challenges for Charles Faram: expand the range of varieties offered and fulfil more and more (but lower volume) orders. These changes generated significant overhead in order processing and fulfilment. Totackle this, Charles Faram had to step up again, challenge the status quo and explore the possibility of new ways of working in this very traditional market. The company decided to embark on the journey of digitalising their business, with the goal of optimising and streamlining their operations while maintaining the friendly and personalised customer experience built over decades.

Zoosh Digital was selected to take ownership of the end-to-end B2B eCommerce solution including UX design of the customer journey and development of the overall solution. The main requirements from the user experience perspective were to create a warm and personalised atmosphere, a smooth purchase flow, and an uncluttered visual appearance. From the technical angle the solution had to be prepared for upscaling and ready to support multiple markets considering country specific product ranges, taxation and shipping, to name a few differences. The cross-functional delivery teamlined up different profiles covering UX design, full-stack SW development, quality assurance and product management. The design led, agile software development approach and the prototypes helped Charles Faram to prioritise their product backlog and control a phased development in line with their business priorities. While the B2B eCommerce solution has been originally developed to serve UK based customers, the scalable cloud based platform is customisable for different markets. Additionally, besides serving the business customers directly, the solution proved to be invaluable for Charles Faram’s internal sales team by allowing them to place orders on behalf of the customers, significantly reducing the processing time of the orders previously received by emails or over the phone. As well as the ability to order from the full range of stocked products customers are also able to view and order from their pre-ordered or ‘contracted’ hop stock. This development not only gives customers up-to-date information about their hop position but saves a considerable administration effort for Charles Faram staff. The B2B eCommerce solution delivered by Zoosh Digital applies responsive web design approach, that addresses the range of devices and device sizes, enabling automatic adaptation to the screen, whether the content is viewed on a laptop, tablet or phone. This allows customers to easily switch between different devices while receiving the same excellent customer experience.

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Charles Faram has advanced into the digital era with their sales and now leads the hop supplier market with a best-in-class B2B eCommerce solution that has been very well received by their customers. More and more customers are choosing to use the new eCommerce platform in place of email or phone ordering, this is a direct result of the exceptional customer experience they receive through the use of the eCommerce platform. In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, Charles Faram has managed to heavily reduce the manual work of order intake caused by the lengthy phone calls andemail processing.

As a company with an extremely customer-oriented ethos, we approached this project with a mission that digitalisation should not detrimentally affect our customer interaction in any way. Zoosh's understanding of our business, attention to detail and commitment to a seamless customer UX allayed those fears and we are pleased to have augmented our offer and indeed in many ways improved our customer service

Ben Adams
Special Projects Manager, Charles Faram

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