Putting Customers First: River Bell Market Garden

Located in Dresden, Ontario, Joe and Eraina Grootenboer grow organic produce for over 130 customers on their 20 acre farm, River Bell Market Garden.

Before Local Line, River Bell Market Garden provided a weekly CSA membership service where they supplied and delivered, seasonal produce boxes to their customers. Looking for a new business model, they wanted to transition to selling to individual customers through an online store. This is when they found Local Line.

“Surprisingly more affordable than I expected, Local Line’s software made it possible for our company to take a giant leap forward in providing customer satisfaction.” – Joe, River Bell Market Garden

Putting Customers First: River Bell Market Garden

Treating customers as individuals

Every customer is different. Trying to be generic to fit every type of customer, Joe and Eraina, were finding that sometimes the fixed boxes didn’t fit the needs of everyone. Making the switch to an online store, they were concerned that by giving customers more freedom, there would be a higher chance of having lower sales per customers compared to the CSA model. However, this was not the case – customers are placing larger orders and getting exactly what they want.

“Local Line allows me to treat everyone as individuals, not as one bulk group. No other businesses like us are able to offer the same variety or customer service now that I have this tool to help me. The customers are very appreciative and excited about the change, placing larger and larger orders and signing up their friends.” – Joe, River Bell Market Garden

In addition to offering customers more variety per order, in the case of an order mix up, Joe is able to work with that customer individually, by easily finding their individual order and customer information on Local Line and offering new product or a refund. This is impossible to do with a series of lists. Providing great customer service is essential for growing a business.

Room for growth

Currently servicing 130+ customers, River Bell Market Garden is excited for growth in their future. Customers have the ability to shop on their store, place their own orders and have that information immediately passed on to the farm. The ease and simplicity of managing so many customers on one system, makes them confident that they can easily grow their business without worry.

Putting Customers First: River Bell Market Garden

Planning for the future

Providing personalized orders for their customers has helped them learn what their customers want and at what quantities they want it. Local Line’s reporting and analytics helps them track all of their order data to help them know what their customers are looking for and how to plan for the future.

“The online shopping platform is the most important part, of course, but the customer accounting and reporting is essential for planning and distilling data for the near future and for next season.” – Joe, River Bell Market Garden

Joe and Eraina can now feel confident growing their business using Local Line.  They are reaching more customers and continuing to sustain healthy relationships with current ones. Curious to see what they’re producing? Check out their Local Line store here.

“I appreciate the support of their system – they understand the importance of my customers’ experience with the system and are a real team with me in continually improving upon that.” – Joe, River Bell Market Garden

Offering pricing for variable weighted products: Spray Creek Ranch

Far from their roots of Northern California, BC ranchers Tristan and Aubyn Banwell are passionate about raising livestock to benefit the health of people and the environment.  Using tools such as management intensive grazing, permaculture, holistic management and agroecology, these farmers produce BC Certified Organic products that will make you feel good about eating it.

Spray Creek Ranch is home to many different livestock including cattle, chickens, turkeys and pigs. All these animals work harmoniously together to regenerate the fields and ensure diverse and healthy pastures in the future.

Operating in their fifth season, they’ve seen tremendous growth but were starting to feel the pains of growing their business.

Too many orders, no way to keep track

Spray Creek Ranch’s main sales channel was farmers markets. But to ensure sales and that they had the right product available, they would ask repeat customers to pre-order. Aubyn was overwhelmed with orders through email, phone, in person and social media. Keeping track of it all manually meant mixed up or missed orders.

They knew they had to get efficient and fast.

Going paperless

Aubyn and Tristan knew they wanted an online system that could provide one central hub to receive orders, manage inventory and get paid. No more scrambling through different spreadsheets and notebooks, it had to have everything you need in one place.

After looking through various online ecommerce platforms, there was one thing everyone was missing the ability for pricing for variable weighted products!

Unlike produce or packaged foods, meat is different. Different individual animals have varying weights and sizes; therefore it is next to impossible to create one fixed unit for each product. A pricing tool for variable weighted products is necessary to give the customer correct prices for what they bought.

Local Line, mimics the in person farmers market experience with a software platform created specifically for food suppliers and farms. No more scrambling through different spreadsheets and notebooks, “it has everything we need in one place!” says Aubyn.

Spray Creek Ranch was able to create an online shop that included the ability to show an average price to customer at order, then actually weigh the product at purchase, and adjust the price accordingly. The updated prices and weights then show up on the final invoice to customer so that they are aware of what they are getting. 

“As a small farm, we don’t want to offer the average price per cut to our customers – there is too much variability, all our animals are different. We needed flexibility built into our system. Pricing for variable weighted products allows us to charge customers for exactly what they actually receive. Local line allows us to show customers both the price per pound and average price per unit, so they know what to expect, and then we just adjust the final invoice based on the actual weight of each product we pack.  Local Line makes this process easy!” – Aubyn, Spray Creek Ranch.

Implementing successful (and profitable) co-delivery in livestock farming

As we have been discussing, in the earlier parts to this co-delivery series, as a food supplier, your most important cost is distribution. It’s the difference between a profitable and unprofitable operation.

In part one of this series, we talked about the importance of co-delivery and why it needs to be implemented and in part two, we looked at the parameters of shipping food and how to properly implement co-delivery into your business.


As a small supplier, you can’t do it all yourself, and sometimes you get caught between a rock and a hard place. You know you need new customers to grow your business, BUT shipping to new customers is so expensive!

So, how do you find the right balance and keep a healthy margin?

Last year, three Local Line suppliers were all working on their own independent distribution plans: Vibrant Farms, Arrowhead Meats and 5 Chicks and A Farmer. Once they connected through the Local Line marketplace, they were able to combine delivery routes, increase efficiency, dramatically lower distribution costs, and ship to new customers.

What does it look like for them?

Shipping company – Arrowhead Meats

Shipping frequency – Every other Saturday

Transportation – Non-refrigerated delivery truck

Pricing – Farms are billed after delivery by Arrowhead Meats (shipping company) for their orders based on weight and size of boxes.

Conditions – The customers must be home to accept the delivery.

Schedule

Thursday:

6:00-8:00 PM – All orders for shipping need to be in to Arrowhead Meats

Friday:

6:00-8:00 PM – Customers are given delivery schedule to ensure they are present for delivery.

Saturday:

5:00 AM – All products are taken out of the freezer and put into insulated packs.

7:00 AM Arrowhead Meats truck hits the road from Listowel, ON. Picks up orders from Vibrant Farms and 5 Chicks and a Farmer, just outside of Waterloo, ON.

7:30 AM – Delivery starts for the day making customer stops in Hamilton, Oakville, Toronto, and Markham before turning around and heading back to Arrowhead Meats.

A successful co-delivery system is based on an understanding between farmer, driver, and customer. When communication is frequent and expectations are clear and realistic, you can create a well-oiled co-delivery machine!

What have been the benefits of co-delivery to their businesses?

“Co-delivery makes our distribution more efficient. If we can get the truck as full as possible for the driver, we can deliver to more locations and everyone wins.” Luke, Arrowhead Meats

Efficient distribution

The new co-delivery program allowed Arrowhead Meats to fill their truck. Sounds simple but this is not always the case for farms. Often transport vehicles are left 50% empty; therefore transporting the products of other local food suppliers allows Arrowhead Meats to be methodical when delivering. Co-delivering also allows the driver to hit as many locations on one route.  The route optimization tool in the Local Line platform ensures they see decreased fuel costs and more efficient schedules for their drivers.

Reach more customers

The ability to provide shipping to a larger area due to co-delivery, allows 5 Chicks and A Farmer and Vibrant Farms reach a larger customer base as Arrowhead Meats already provided shipping to the GTA.

“Co-delivery has allowed us to reach more customers. We didn’t have the staff to be able to offer delivery services, therefore having the ability to share the cost is very helpful.”  Kathryn, Vibrant Farms

Ensuring PRODUCT quality control

This form of distribution allows you to work with people who know the industry. When using an outside distributor, sometimes they are unaware of how to properly store your products and how to manage direct to customer deliveries. If you’re not careful, this can lead to lost product. Luke from Arrowhead Meats explained that he once used an outside distributor, and at the end of the day the meat was returned to the farm barely covered in plastic and completely un-thawed because a customer was not there to answer.

What are the challenges of implementing co-delivery?

1. Temperature controls

When co-delivering meat products, you must maintain a consistent temperature during transportation. This can be a challenge on hot summer days, especially if each farmer is delivering to different customers. Each stop adds up, so you need to monitor your products condition carefully. That said, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Arrowhead Meats simply ships the products already frozen, and packages them with insulated boxes.

2. Insufficient orders

The challenge for Vibrant Farms and 5 Chicks and A Farmer is ensuring that enough orders are placed during each order period to make shipping financially feasible. The fewer the orders being shipped, the more expensive it is to ship per box. To help them with this, they followed some tips on how to increase your order intakes.

Any tips for farmers and food suppliers looking to start co-delivering?

  • Start small – This allows you to scale your business and make sure the key things are working. Start with one vehicle and less frequent delivery trips. See how that goes and think about growing.
  • Work with like-minded people/businesses – Working with farmers nearby who deliver similar type products will allow for the best partnerships. The people you are working with will understand the challenges of shipping your product and will make doing business easier.
  • Consider parameters of food shipping – Always keep in mind the three parameters of shipping food products: timeframe for optimal freshness, temperature control, and compatibility of shipping partners.
  • Beginner? Find a farmer that is already shipping – If you are just starting out to offer delivery for your business, look for a farm that has been shipping for a while and see if you can add your products to their vehicle. Delivery takes a lot of time, and requires employees to be able to execute; therefore use your time more effectively at the beginning.

For Arrowhead Meats, Vibrant Farms, and 5 Chicks and A Farmer, their businesses are much better off now that they’ve found each other! This kind of partnership allows for local food to reach more customers and make it more feasible for food producers to do so.

Managing Outsized Demand: Top Shelf Collection

Today’s food producers are constantly competing for shelf space. Products need to be clearly differentiated to stand out and so does their branding.

Josh Lines from Sarnia saw the gap on Ontario’s hot sauce shelf. Sure, there are a variety of brands with mashed up hot peppers in vinegar, but they all lacked substance and none of them had nutritional value. This gap in the market quickly turned into Josh’s opportunity, and Top Shelf Collection was born.

Josh uses all-natural ingredients to ensure the product has the freshest, boldest flavour. Then, he uses Canadian honey, not refined sugar, to add a slight sweet touch to his hot sauces.

Josh has worked in the food industry his entire career, bartending at the local pub. If you know anything about bartenders, then you know they’re fun, chatty and extremely likeable. So it should be no surprise that as a bartender of Sarnia’s local watering hole, he pretty much knows the whole town. Because of this, Top Shelf’s beginning success started in Sarnia when local businesses showed their support by stocking Front Street Heat on their retail shelves and enhancing menus (and the Canadian Caesar) across town.

It was no surprise that Top Shelf sauces didn’t stay a secret for long. Front Street Heat’s quality ingredients and catchy branding caught the interest of neighbouring restaurants and retailers in other cities, who were making room on their top shelf for this hot Canadian condiment.


The Problem All Food Suppliers Actually Want

Top Shelf premium hot sauce gained demand faster than anticipated. He had a website but no formal ordering or delivery process for his customers. And because Josh is always thinking forward, he knew he wanted to launch two partner programs to selected customers which includes an awesome handcrafted wooden display shelf, menu and social media collaborations and discounted pricing. He had all the right ideas, just no platform to bring them to life.

Local Line or Life Line?

Josh saw immediate value in Local Line’s easy-to-use platform.

“The team at Local Line has simplified our challenges and organized what was unorganized. Through incredible hands on customer service, they helped put our business on track during a difficult period of product growth. Truly a life line for a small but growing business.” Josh, Top Shelf Collection


Here are a few examples of how Josh uses Local Line for his rapidly growing business:

Pricing Catalogs

  • Josh got immediate value with Local Line’s unique private pricing catalogs that can be geared specifically to his different and ever-growing customer list.
  • Once he quickly and efficiently uploaded his products (2L jugs and 296 ml bottles), he created catalogs for his retail, wholesale and partner customers. He then added his customers into his Local Line account, assigned them to appropriate catalogs, and sent invites to their inboxes.

Marketing

  • Josh took advantage of Local Lines web services, and gave his website a fresh look. He also took his Local Line store and embedded it right on his website so that his customers were only seeing the Top Shelf brand when they were ordering. Everyone from small independents to Metro stores across Ontario are able to place their orders directly on the Top Shelf website. This kind of ordering experience is critical, because it enables both consumers and his wholesale customers to order directly from his website, enforcing a consistent brand and experience.

The nice thing about Local Line is that the platform is built to grow with your business. This means Josh has new services available to him that become important the more momentum his brand gains.

With no plans to slow down anytime soon, Josh knows Local Line has his back and can grow with his business.

How We Built the Flanagan Market

If you’re in the food & hospitality industry in Ontario, you probably know Flanagan Foodservice. Flanagan’s is Canada’s largest family-owned foodservice distributor, serving restaurants, institutions, and bakeries since 1977. Their story is one of service, quality, integrity, and hard work.

Today, Flanagan’s serves more than 6,000 customers across Ontario. They have three warehouses, more than 500 employees, a fleet of 80+ trucks, and list well over 10,000 products. Still, even with their Ontario-wide distribution, world-class team, and award-winning products, Flanagan’s needed to improve in one difficult area: local.

For mid-large foodservice distributors, supplying fresh local food is difficult. Logistics are complicated, as is vendor management and product pricing. For this reason, foodservice distributors tend to avoid local food procurement, but what happens when customers start to demand local food? Local food is more popular than ever but it’s basically impossible for foodservice distributors to list. For Flanagan’s, they knew the traditional model of foodservice distribution was not going to work, so they sought us out, and we built them the Flanagan Market.

The idea for the Flanagan Market started in early 2017 as a way to figure out how Flanagan’s could list all the local food their customers were asking them for. They were already listing more than 400 Ontario products in their Our Ontario program which was a good start, but they were still missing the unique, niche, and diverse selection of products their customers were hungry for.

We were able to help Flanagan’s in three ways:

Discovery

The first thing we had to do was determine whether the products being sold by Local Line suppliers were a fit for what Flanagan’s needed, but with customers like Top Shelf CollectionFull of Beans, and Artisan Farms, it didn’t take us long to know that our suppliers and their products were a fit!

We built a “discover” tab in the platform so that Flanagan’s could stay up to date on which suppliers and products were available to them, and they could start conversations with anyone they wanted.

 Discover local suppliers in your area Discover local suppliers in your area

Currently, Flanagan’s has been able to find and list over 1,000 Ontario food products from three dozen Ontario suppliers, effectively more than tripling their local food offering.

Ordering

Once we knew how to identify and onboard suppliers, we had to figure out how Flanagan’s customers would order. We couldn’t list the products in the traditional Flanagan’s catalog because the products weren’t being scanned, stored, and shipped from the Flanagan’s warehouse. In most cases, we thought a drop-ship approach would be the best. So, we took Local Line’s already award-winning e-commerce module, modified it, and made it usable by Flanagan’s. Now, it lists all the local products in one online store, accessible by any customer 24/7.

Distribution

The main reason foodservice distributors haven’t been able to make local food work is because of distribution, so it was clear to us from the beginning that we couldn’t just warehouse products and ship them with normal Flanagan orders. Margins would be too tight, logistics would be complicated to manage, and as a result, customers would probably end up unhappy.

After conducting an analysis of customer geographies and supplier shipping options, we determined that most Local Line suppliers already ship to the major cities Flanagan’s customers are in. We also built the technology so that customers couldn’t place orders from a supplier who doesn’t deliver to them.

To make the products more accessible, over the span of two months we built out a network of third-party distributors to help ship products in hard to reach areas. Today, we work with Flanagan Market suppliers to find the right shipping partner and get them set up to ship Ontario-wide, just like Flanagan’s.

There were many other details that went into building out the Flanagan Market including invoicing, quality assurance, ensuring food safety, and commissions. All of these, however, were details in relation to the fundamental questions about how to list and distribute products. Once the model, technology, and suppliers were in place, we launched the Flanagan Market on May 29th, 2017. Today, over 400 customers are on the platform (and growing)!

Small Business, Big Impact: Vibrant Farms

Organic food is more than a 4 billion dollar industry in Canada, but it’s really only gained mainstream popularity in the last 15 years. Before that, organic food was niche and for farmers, the business case for going organic wasn’t as strong. That didn’t stop Dennis Baer, owner of Vibrant Farms from becoming certified organic more than 30 years ago. Back then, becoming organic was not a popular decision but he wanted to feed his children natural, wholesome food.

Today, more than 30 years later, Vibrant Farms continues to serve the Waterloo Region community with grass-fed, certified organic meat. After 30 years they’ve generated a big local following, and today they use social media as a way to keep in touch with customers. About 6 months ago, Vibrant Farms began searching for a more modern way to serve customers. Historically, they’d take orders via email, text, and phone calls, then they would enter invoices, accept e-transfers, and schedule pick-ups/drop-offs with customers. Their popularity was growing so quickly they needed a more sustainable process but didn’t want to lose their personal relationship with customers.

As Vibrant Farms got started with Local Line they realized it had everything that they needed; from an online store to custom price lists, from CRM to invoicing and online payments, and even inventory and email scheduling. Since launching their Local Line store, Vibrant Farms is processing 2 new orders per day and has expanded their delivery areas to serve customers in new markets.

Serving Customers

Vibrant Farms serves hundreds of household consumers. They have multiple pick-up and drop-off locations spread across the region. Kathryn Little-McEwin, Business Manager at Vibrant Farms says,

“I like to think about where our customers are. Where are they hanging out? Where are they going? Where can I reach them in one place?”

This kind of thinking led Vibrant Farms to partner with leading naturopathic clinics and Crossfit gyms around the city, knowing that many people going there are health conscious and looking for organic meats. Today, when customers order from the Vibrant Farms online store they can select their preferred pick-up locations to accept their order. For Vibrant Farms, pick-up locations are an economical way to get products to customers, because they couldn’t deliver them all door-to-door.

They also serve wholesale customers like local restaurants. One of the reasons they love Local Line is because they can simply create a new price list and delivery schedule for their restaurants, but still track one inventory set. This eliminates manual entry time and helps process orders faster.

We asked Kathryn how farmers should go about getting new customers. Her response:

“You have to think outside of the box. Who should I be partnering with? Who should I be marketing our products to, and thinking about different ways to reach those people”

Getting Distribution Right

A couple of months ago, Vibrant Farms wanted to break into the Toronto market. They had served a small number of customers there in the past but logistical challenges prevented it from taking off. Thankfully, Vibrant Farms was able to partner up with Arrowhead Meats, another Local Line supplier who delivers beef into Toronto each week. Vibrant Farms and Arrowhead, along with a third Local Line customer, 5 Chicks and a Farmer, were able to organize a collaborative delivery system that enables Vibrant Farms to leverage pick-up locations in Toronto and serve new customers. In their first week alone, Vibrant Farms got three new customers! Without the Local Line network, Vibrant Farms wouldn’t have been able to access the Toronto market and process new orders.

Let’s get Social!

When it comes to social media, being active and integrating yourself into the online community has also proven to be a major aspect of Vibrant Farms’ success. Sharing the link to their Local Line store, offering Black Friday specials and doing pop-up shops are a few examples of how Vibrant Farms has used social media to leverage new sales and find new customers. You want your products to be as accessible as possible. Currently, there are more channels than ever where you can promote your business, all of which have a relatively low (if any) barrier to entry. So what are you waiting for? Create that twitter account, share that link on Facebook, post photos of your products and farming operations! You don’t have to share your entire life, but share aspects of it that consumers these days want to see. Pictures of you feeding the animals, finished products, your beautiful property, etc. If you need assistance with this, we can help!

The Bottom Line

As we move into 2018, Vibrant Farms now has a sustainable method of growth. They’re serving customers while serving themselves. Life is easier for customers and for them, and they’ve found a way to increase their distribution to start scaling their business.

Mastering the Juggling Act: Dalew Farms

They say one of the hardest jobs in the world is being a full-time parent. Now try looking after 4 youngsters, holding down a full-time job, and running a successful farm. Our friends, Chantal and Dave Lewington have mastered this juggling act!

When Dalew Farms first opened for business 14 years ago, the intention was to raise and sell lamb to folks in their community. But when their customers tasted the “Dalew Difference”, demand struck and so did their product variety. Today, Dalew Farms has pasture-raised lamb, cattle, and goats, all of which are grass fed & non-GMO. To keep up with rising demand, Chantal took their branding to new heights by creating a website and focusing on customer relationships.

Managing Never Ending Tasks

Early on Chantal and Dave quickly realized that the good comes with the bad when you’re a small business owner – especially on the farm. The upside for them was obvious: starting a family farm was a great way to expose their kids to new experiences and work together to help feed their community. However, when tasks pile up, it’s not always easy to find someone you can rely on to help you with your day-to-day. This is where Local Line helps!

Easy Integration with Current Website

Previously, Chantal was using Farmigo to track her website sales but still struggled with keeping on top of her inventory and coordinating delivery dates with her customers. Chantal wanted to fix this but didn’t want to rebrand her business and create a whole new website.

Enter Local Line.

With Local Line, Chantal could integrate her new online store to her existing website and gain all the inventory and delivery functionality she needed. This made it easy for her customers to place orders and for her to accept payments.

“The software is easier to use, simpler, and straightforward. It runs itself when I’m doing other things and I like the way it appears on my website; it looks very professional. To top it all off – the integration was very easy!” Chantal, Dalew Farms

Attracting New Customers

To help Chantal increase her order volumes and customer base, she’s been using Local Line’s catalog feature to reach out to new wholesalers. All she does is built a new catalog, customize it, and share it. This makes it easy for her new and existing customers to see a list of her available products with accurate pricing, inventory, and delivery info.

Getting New Customers: Say Cheese

Saskia and Hans Sloeserwij arrived in Canada from Holland in 2008. As they adjusted to their new life in Canada, they found themselves missing the European style cheeses they grew up with. Back in Holland, Saskia and Hans created amazing cheeses using local ingredients and traditional European processes, but they couldn’t find similar products in Canada. They felt like the Canadian market lacked “authentic, traditional, European cheeses”.

In an effort to fill a gap in the market, Saskia and Hans took it upon themselves to create those cheeses that they missed so dearly, calling their new business Say Cheese.

Over the years Saskia and Hans have been getting the business off the ground. For cheese makers, this is a long, labour intensive process. They had to set up their facility, source local milk, gather proper licenses, and perfect their recipes and products. By mid-2016, Say Cheese had to figure out how to get new customers and expand the business.

“When we heard Local Line got the Premiers Award, we contacted them to tell us more about the platform. We had already heard about the concept and were convinced that the set up would work.”

Say Cheese joined Local Line in December 2016 and since then, the business has grown steadily. Today, Say Cheese is a growing brand, offering some of the best sheep’s milk Ontario has to offer. They service household, wholesale, and retail customers all across Ontario and credit Local Line as an important ingredient in their growth. Prior to starting, Say Cheese had three questions about gaining new customers:

  1. How do I find new customers?
  2. How do I sell new customers?
  3. How do I service customers once I get them?
Finding New Customers

When it came to finding new customers, Local Line helped by exposing Say Cheese to a wide variety of potential customers on the Local Line marketplace. A half-day consultation helped narrow down to the niche Say Cheese was targeting. This helped identify customers with the greatest probability of placing an order. We determined that the customers most likely to purchase were independent cheese stores and independent restaurants who promote local on their menus.

Selling to New Customers

Once Say Cheese was able to identify the right customers, they had to consider what it was going to take to sell them on their cheese. We discovered that there were three important factors that influenced a customer’s decision to order:

  1. Products: Was Say Cheese offering the right products? Did their products fit a chef’s menu? Were the products traceable and safe? Was the quality consistent?
  2. Delivery: How often were their customers going to order the cheese? Where were the customers located? What was the minimum order?
  3. Story: It turns out this was the most important part! Customers can market a unique story to go with high quality products, so Say Cheese had to find a way to promote her business through their story.

All of these factors are accomplished through her Local Line store. Say Cheese can inform potential customers of their products, delivery info, and share their unique story.

Servicing New Customers

Good service quickly became an important part of keeping customers. “Other than my cheese, what else do my customers need? How do I keep them happy and ordering?” Saskia learned that continuous communication is important to maintain relationships. The relationship with a customer doesn’t stop after the first meeting. It’s important to keep the customer informed of product changes, price changes, and other info that affects the relationship.

Say Cheese makes sure to send out updated product catalogs to all her customers through her Local Line store every week, effectively answering all questions her customers have about pricing, inventory, or delivery before they even need to ask. It saves her customers time and keeps them happy. Today, Say Cheese has more than 50 customers in their Local Line account!

When discussing how they use Local Line, Saskia says, “I use it as an order system; I have customers submit orders and also submit orders on behalf of them as well. This helps me track everything.” Their favourite part other than gaining new customers? The answer is simple:

 “Whenever there is an issue or a question arises about how to do something on the platform, the team at Local Line is always there to take my call.”

Owning Your Brand: Woolleys Lamb

Starting a new business isn’t easy.

One of the biggest challenges for food suppliers today is getting your product in your customer’s hands. Many new food businesses understand that traditional marketing tactics like flyers just won’t cut it anymore. Customer behaviours are changing, and businesses need to change alongside them.

With a more connected world through the internet – customers spend more time online. Therefore, the need to beef up online marketing efforts by investing in social media and website properties is starting to become a high priority for suppliers.

But, this begs the question: does an investment in an online solution increase sales or productivity?

To help answer this question, meet Brett Schuyler, the co-owner of Woolleys Lamb.

Woolleys’ Lambs are born in Norfolk County Ontario on beautiful lush, spring pastures in May. Following the harvest of sour cherries and apples, the Lambs are turned out in orchards to graze freely. Occasionally, grazing occurs on cover crop fields of turnips, oats, and peas. These natural and nutrient rich grazing practices are similar to those found in rural United Kingdom, and are definitely a contributing factor to the unique tasty leanness of Woolleys’ Lamb!

While the team at Woolleys Lamb had an authentic story, a fantastic-looking website and the best-looking lambs on Instagramthey wanted to see all this effort turn into real sales, not just Likes on Instagram.

That’s when the light-bulb went off.

Brett realized that while he was investing time, money and effort into getting the Woolley’s Lamb brand out there, there was one big problem.

If a customer wanted to order his product, it would go something like this:

Frankly, it was a long, drawn-out and overly complicated process for both parties. Customers are accustomed to one-click online ordering that they didn’t want to go through all the back-and-forth to place an order.

Brett knew that if he wanted to give his customers the best service, he needed to find a better way. He wanted to create an elegant ordering tool for his customers, but he didn’t want to rely on an outside IT person to make changes for him. He wanted an easy-to-use tool that gave him full control of his products, customers and information.

That’s when he came to Local Line with one goal:

“Get an online platform for sales that is user-friendly that can also work for invoicing”

Unlike other food suppliers, he realized that he could provide an amazing and simple-to-use ordering experience for his customers with an online platform.

So, Local Line worked with Brett to turn his website, invoicing tool and Excel documents into one, easy to use, simple online platform.

Simple, Straight-Forward Ordering

First, Local Line worked with Brett to build an online store where new customers can find Woolleys Lamb and order products.

Previously, Brett just had a website with some information about his business, but no simple way for his customers to view his products to order.

He added a ‘BUY NOW’ button at the top of his website which directs his visitors to his Local Line Online Store.

Now instead of the ordering process taking days and weeks, customers can order within 2 minutes.

One Store, All Customers

Second, Brett had two different types of customers: retail and wholesale. Unlike most online stores where there is only one product and pricing list, Local Line’s catalog feature gave Brett the ability to give his all his customers custom product pricing.

This meant that he could service all of his customers with Local Line, not just retail or wholesale.

One-Click Invoicing

Lastly, he needed a simple and fast way to invoice his customers. Since he was already taking orders through his Local Line store, it had all of the information pre-loaded to send an accurate invoice.

Now instead of creating invoices from scratch, Brett uses Local Line to create, download and send the invoice to his customers saving him precious time every single day.

The Best Part

While Brett and his customers may benefit from having a shiny new online sales platform, he admits that his favourite part of Local Line is the team behind it.

“Honestly, I just wanted to work with Local Line because I had a high level of confidence with the people behind it helping my business succeed.

The team at Local Line listens to my feedback and makes changes to the software as needed. I am still shocked at how responsive the team is to making improvements to the software.”

Learn more about Brett and the team at Woolleys Lamb, you can find them on InstagramTwittertheir website or their Local Line Store.