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Performance metrics compare January 2022 to January 2020.
Food is fuel for the body and GourmetFuel, a meal delivery service located in Dublin, Ireland, probably knows it better than anyone. Since 2014, this digitally native company has made creating and delivering delicious, healthy cuisine its business.
GourmetFuel understands that sometimes a person just wants to eat healthy and not have to think about it. Its service frees health conscious and time-starved customers from the grind of weighing, prepping and counting calories. A team of chefs and nutritionists takes care of the taste and time-consuming details.
“So the concept was to have an online website where people can place their orders and have our production facilities do the food preparation and doorstep delivery to anywhere in the country,” said GourmetFuel Managing Director Rob Buckley.
Plugged out on so many plugins
Chargebee, a subscription billing and revenue management system, was GourmetFuel’s first ecommerce platform. The company soon moved to WooCommerce and had to delve into what Rob called: The wonderful world of plugins…67 of them to be precise.
“Trying to get so many different pieces of software, nearly 70, to work seamlessly together was like trying to herd cats. We used WooCommerce subscriptions and a whole lot of different third-party plugins. If anything ever went wrong with one piece of software, we had to get developers to help out and try and identify which needle in a stack of needles was the cause of the problem. We also found ourselves relying heavily on exports and using spreadsheets to assimilate customer order information to create meal production plans,” Buckley said.
By 2018, GourmetFuel began looking for an ecommerce platform that would be a better solution for the company.
BigCommerce is all that’s needed
GourmetFuel took a look at Shopify and even considered trying to make WooCommerce work. But once the company discovered BigCommerce, the search for a new platform was soon over. “We didn't have to look too far once we found BigCommerce. The platform ticked all the boxes for us. And even better, it ticked a few boxes we didn't even know needed ticking,” Buckley said.
Rob found BigCommerce less complicated than other platforms and he was impressed the platform had a better support structure for improving uptime. “On BigCommerce, our platform downtime has gone from what could have been as high as 10%, down to less than 1%,” Buckley said.
The subscription service has become more efficient too, thanks to the development agency, Be A Part Of. The agency created the MINIBC app, which allows subscription purchases within GourmetFuel’s store.
"GourmetFuel initially came to us with the need to transform the way subscription programs were managed. They needed a solution that was more scalable to operate, while providing customers with the ability to build and manage subscriptions with a full view of their orders and ingredients. With this in mind, we worked with GourmetFuel to develop a FuelWizard, which would help to grow their custom meal subscription programs and customer base significantly,” said Be A Part Of Business Development Director Arman Iranpour.
Arman shared that the solution involved leveraging MINIBC Recurring Billing & Vaulting alongside a custom front-end application that Be A Part Of developed with many unique custom requirements.
“These requirements include an assessment tool that considers the customer’s caloric requirements to build them a meal plan accordingly, as well as a fully-managed weekly program that allows customers to manage their subscriptions at the caloric and micronutrient level," Iranpour said.
The heavy lift of site and page development is left to agency developers. However, the GourmetFuel team can and does update content and upload new blog posts. “It's [BigCommerce] been very easy to use. It doesn't require much training and it's quite quick if we need to make any changes or add a new page,” said Buckley.
GourmetFuel configured its enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool, Odoo, to complement the BigCommerce front end and subscription management software. It manages all the website’s product information and assimilates all customer orders into streamlined production plans. Other features of the GourmetFuel ERP system include customer relationship management (CRM), automated marketing, billing, accounting, manufacturing, warehouse and inventory management. Integrations for Facebook, Instagram and Google Analytics are connected into the store as well.
“And that's the simplicity of going from using nearly 70 different apps on WooCommerce to BigCommerce. BigCommerce is all we need,” Buckley said.
“On BigCommerce, our platform downtime has gone from what could have been as high as 10%, down to less than 1%,”
“And that's the simplicity of going from using nearly 70 different apps on WooCommerce to BigCommerce. BigCommerce is all we need,”
Success with a simplified system
The ERP system GourmetFuel created also works out the nutritional value of its products. By simply creating enough custom fields within a product, GourmetFuel was able to map all the information rather easily to BigCommerce making it easy for customers to get a better understanding of what they are eating and what benefit it has to their health. To date, this is the only website of its kind offering this extra level of detail.
“A series of API scripts were developed to allow us to push our product information from the ERP system through the scripts to populate all the products within our BigCommerce store. The subscription software then can combine those products in whatever arrangement a customer wants and create future subscription orders,” said Buckley. “I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get the APIs and the scripts produced between the two systems. The real beauty was being able to feed order information back into our ERP system to create accurate and efficient production plans, increasing quality control and reducing waste.”
Serving up goodness internationally
“Moving to BigCommerce from WooCommerce was a bit of a nervous, scary thing, but in hindsight, it's the best move we ever made for our business,” Buckley said.
The success GourmetFuel has experienced since it launched on BigCommerce has put dreams of international expansion on the company’s roadmap. “As soon as we launched on BigCommerce we saw our sales take off. So we're looking to now franchise our service internationally beginning this year. It would be easy for us to create multiple stores for various marketplaces and connect them into our ERP system,” Buckley stated.
Potential markets for GourmetFuel’s expansion include the United States, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and countries across Europe. Whichever direction the company takes, BigCommerce is on the ready to help GourmetFuel create a recipe for success.
“Moving to BigCommerce from WooCommerce was a bit of a nervous, scary thing, but in hindsight, it's the best move we ever made for our business,”
Published: March 2022