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Garden Central goes online

After several months of consultation, design, setup and onboarding support, I’m now delighted to deliver another successful Ecommerce website project to a long-standing freelance client of mine, Church Street Garden Central – now happily trading online as Plantmail NZ.

Plantmail.co.nz is now fully up and running with a brand new WooCommerce-based webshop

I first worked with Tania & Mark when they opened their new garden retail business in Auckland several years ago, when I helped them to get set up with a basic online platform and assist with their Point-of-Sale setup using the now very popular Vend POS system.

Since then the shop has grown from strength to strength, and their customer base has grown further afield across New Zealand. To take advantage of this just over a year ago, Tania & Mark began offering delivery for a selection of houseplants to serve their customers far and wide; demand went through the roof, and they soon began to feel the strain of managing hundreds of orders without a dedicated online sales platform!

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Church Street Garden Central is now a hugely popular garden retail destination in Auckland, NZ

The challenge

I was approached in late 2019 to solve this challenge and support the growth of the business with a new Ecommerce solution. There were a few key criteria this solution needed to meet:

  • Automation. Processing hundreds of delivery orders every week was far too time-consuming, and needed to be slicker and faster. The new web shop had to make the order process as frictionless as possible to minimise time spent on the phone with customers and entering data into multiple spreadsheets & systems.
  • Integration with existing platforms. To maintain full visibility and prevent overselling, the new web shop needed to integrate with Vend, so that stock levels and order information could be sent between both systems seamlessly. Tania was also making waves on social media with Garden Central’s Facebook and Instagram profiles, so integrating with these was also a “must have”. Finally, the system needed to allow courier tracking information to be entered easily, so that customers could be automatically kept up-to-date with the status of their order shipments.
  • Brand promotion. As the delivery offering was becoming so important to Garden Central, a new “Plantmail” brand was created. The new website needed to be built around this new brand with a consistent design language used throughout, giving Plantmail the best possible chance to flourish in a competitive market.
  • User-friendly design. The website itself had to be beautifully simple to use, both for customers making purchases, and for staff when managing orders and product listings.
  • Cost-effective. Every small business understands the need to minimise unnecessary costs. For that reason, the new Ecommerce solution needed to solve all of the above challenges, without breaking the bank.

The solution

After much initial discussion and research, I identified WooCommerce as the ideal platform to meet these needs. While Shopify was also considered, its lack of flexibility and additional monthly costs made this a less-than-perfect fit for Garden Central. With the platform agreed, work began on designing and developing the new web shop.

As the project progressed, we were all impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and so the need for an Ecommerce platform became stronger than ever. With retail stores forced to close during a strict lockdown in New Zealand, Garden Central began selling exclusively through Facebook messenger and via email and delivering product to their regular customers. This meant that demand skyrocketed higher than ever before, so the launch of a new webshop had now become vital to the ongoing success of the business – and timeframes quickly accelerated!

Upon selecting and configuring Stripe as the chosen payment solution, I set up a full two-way integration between WooCommerce and Vend, which means that products can now be published to the website with just one click in their POS system.

The web shop is also configured to automatically sync their online product catalogue with Facebook and Instagram, making it easier than ever to promote and sell products to their thousands of followers on social media.

Stock levels are automatically kept up-to-date across all of these platforms thanks to the Vend integration, and Tania & Mark can easily reserve stock for in-store or online sales on a product-by-product basis, so they’ll never have to worry about overselling.

With Plantmail now launched and fully online, Garden Central can easily satisfy their customers and grow their sales with a bespoke Ecommerce solution – happy days!

Do you want to sell more online? Get in touch with me today to discuss your own Ecommerce project!