Digital economy drives growth for leading artisan baker
Wild Breads is a market-leading wholesale bakery offering speciality bread products, including stone-baked sourdough, gluten-free, specialty flatbreads, and rolls using traditional recipes under the Sol Breads, Nomad Breads and Wild Breads brands.
Headquartered in Darra, Queensland, Wild Breads has been marketing their products through leading supermarket retailers, cafés, and restaurants. With these business channels, the bakery faced the following challenges:
- Lack of direct engagement with the end consumers meant zero visibility of customer feedback, which is crucial for innovation and expansion of their product line
- Changing retail landscape as many health foods stores had gone into liquidation and customers had limited options to purchase organic bakery product
These limitations made Wild Breads open to new ways of marketing their products and engaging their customers with a new channel through an untapped direct-to-consumer (D2C) model.
“Innovation was the key—we didn’t know what’s available or where to look and that’s where it all started,” said Kim Carrigan, Founder of Wild Breads.
Understanding the importance of digital accessibility
Certain businesses have found success with the D2C model. However, Wild Breads was aware not all of them achieved their desired results. For the initial phase, Wild Breads required a low-cost market validation to ensure D2C feasibility for their own business. This new model would leverage the baker’s existing strengths including:
- Increased optimisation of existing fleet of trucks that have been delivering their products to retailers, cafés, and restaurants
- Niche products like fruit loafs, canape rolls, and sliders
Another crucial factor that influenced Wild Breads decision to explore a D2C model was a report on future trends of bakery that cited 29 per cent of consumers would be interested in bread delivery.
Telstra Purple, Australia’s biggest ICT services company, started a conversation with Wild Breads to discuss the wholesale bakery industry, its challenges and opportunities, and suggested the idea for a new channel to market. Telstra Purple proposed a design engagement as an effective way to mitigate risks by testing ideas and validating assumptions in a low-cost way. It could also help acquire customer feedback and provide insights for a business case justification for any future investments.
“Identifying the challenge early was crucial and the challenge was the cost of customer acquisition as our average order was small and needed to be repetitive. We needed a cost-effective, digital way of reducing it. Delivering one loaf of bread to a customer was not an economically viable proposition and that’s where Telstra Purple came in. D2C is not an easy market to approach, however the situation demanded it,” Kim said.
Recognising the need for a digital platform, Wild Breads worked with Telstra Purple to build an e-commerce website where customers could securely place their orders and get them delivered to their homes.
Turning to an internet-based digital economy
Consultants from Telstra Purple and subject matter experts from Wild Breads formed one product team to answer the problem statement: “how can we leverage technology to access the D2C market segment to increase revenue?”
As Telstra Purple consultants gained an in-depth understanding of business areas such as business goals and processes, and the wider industry, they came up with a recommendation as the best way to solve the defined problem. This resulted in the following decisions during the engagement, which were pivotal to success:
- Definition and selection of an e-commerce platform that accelerated the time to market
- Understanding the unique value proposition and brand positioning that became an important thread of decisions such as tone of engagement with customers and style of the website, among others
- Understanding the audience through user research with which it was determined that focus should be on social media marketing and brand positioning
- Creation of product bundles to help the first-time purchases
- Creation of campaigns to drive sales
Telstra Purple developed and deployed Wild Breads’ e-commerce website on the Shopify platform. Wild Breads’ website hosted a comprehensive catalogue of products, tools for customer engagement, order and shipping management, analytical features to get insights, integration with social media channels like Facebook, a secure checkout process, and payment gateway integration including Visa, AMEX, Mastercard and PayPal to accept payments. The simple user interaction (UI) of the website offered a superior user experience (UX), from searching an item to checkout.
Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns were executed targeting appropriate geographic areas and demographic groups with attractive and thoughtfully designed advertising which were used to acquire and expand its customer base.
“Back then, Wild breads was an unknown brand, which gave us an opportunity to brand it the way we wanted. Now, with the ability to talk to directly to the market, people who are buying our products, we have added more products and more options, all of which are moving successfully, and we are delivering to homes every night. I do believe that even for a bakery like us, this is a great opportunity and a right time to try digital platforms and go online. This has let us embrace the digital options," added Kim.
Transforming business operations using technology
Technology played its part and has helped to put Wild Breads well on its course to becoming the biggest bakery in Brisbane and the neighbourhood’s favourite and friendly baker who delivers to doors. Wild Breads’ online store went live after 6 weeks of design, development and deployment, and managed to receive orders on its first day without any complications. Market validation results proved to be beyond expectations set at the start of the project.
“First week we had 100+ orders, so it’s a huge contribution. Most IT companies’ services come with a product or solution to sell; Telstra Purple came with a process and a purpose to suit our requirements,” Kim said.
With social media campaigns helping them to reach more than 28,000 people, Wild Breads received 250 orders in 15 days. Combo-packs and gift boxes were introduced for occasions which was well-received by customers as it was convenient and less time-consuming. Introduction of bulk discounts have helped boost revenue and the customer base.
Channels to capture customer reviews for each product and overall customer experience feedback are also in place so the business could respond and adapt quickly as required. The success of Wild Breads’ online store is a good indication of the Australian digital economy’s upward trend.
“With this platform, we can now launch new products, talk to our customers directly and expand to newer territories. If a bakery can go digital, so can any business. Technology used correctly can solve conventional and complex business problems, if you identify the missing pieces and put them in place. Telstra Purple helped us with that, and we are happy to go to them again,” Kim said.