ChopLocal

Connecting Local Meateaters with Customers on a Farmer Etsy-Like Multi-Vendor

Business Area:
  • Poultry
  • Turkey
  • Rabbits
  • Beef
Services:
Location:
  • U.S.
ChopLocal
ChopLocal
ChopLocal is a family-owned business founded by Jared Achen, a 4th generation farmer from Iowa, U.S. Growing in the agriculture environment and having a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business, he wanted to create a business to help local farmers to connect with customers in large cities. He realized that the only way to link the farm and the city is the digital way.
ChopLocal

ChopLocal is unlike any other platform for the meat industry. While there are other options that allow farmers to set up online storefronts, none of them exist as a multi-vendor website. ChopLocal brings many different farmers and suppliers under one umbrella, simplifying their marketing and harnessing the efficiencies of scale to decrease shipping costs. Like Etsy, many small farmers and vendors will be able to list products for sale on the site. In turn, customers will recognize ChopLocal as the best place to find high-quality meats and have them shipped to their door.

We wanted to make it easier for farmers and small businesses to help them grow their customer base, while also helping customers (who live) in areas that may be a little further away from their local butcher shop or farm,” says Katie Olthoff, a co-founder of ChopLocal and its marketing in her interview with Farms.com.

To implement their ambitious concept, Jared and his team chose the Multi-Vendor platform as the basis and started customizing it to expand its functionality. He referred to us to make his thoughts come true. Using the platform, the website visitors can filter products by vendors, compare items by price, and even schedule pickups. Running the blog and social nets, the ChopLocal team informs their audience about new vendors, tells more about the company itself and builds strong connections with their potential buyers and partners.

ChopLocal

When we make decisions related to ChopLocal, I ask my team and myself, ‘How does this benefit the farmers? Will this showcase our partners?” Achen shares the Farm.com news. “Of course, we also want to provide an amazing customer experience, but the success of the farmers and small processors we work with is front of mind, as well.

As the brand owner expressed his keen desire to promote vendors first, we elaborated lots of new features to facilitate the task of attracting new vendors and making their presence on the platform beneficial.

Challenge

  • Customize vendor panels
  • Expand Calendar functionality with pick-up dates and time slots as in Walmart 
  • Enable search by location

Implementing the Project

Choose a country setting

In the US meat industry, there are some specific rules regulating distribution of the product among states. Four different types of inspections should be considered by meat vendors:
  • State: Vendors can only sell to individuals within the state they are manufacturing.
  • Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS): Vendors are state-inspected with a CIS Certificate. They can sell to other states that honor the CIS program.
  • Federally Inspected: Vendors can sell to any state.
  • Retail Exempt: Vendors can purchase meat from federally inspected plants, reprocess it and sell to any state.
The platform was required to take these regulations into account to add more control over vendor uploading of products depending on state and regulations and some finetuning to allow only the legally approved meat to be sold in the appropriate state. That’s why Jared asked us to include a functionality allowing vendors to select which states they can legally sell to.  We developed a new add-on – States. To make it work, we added:
  • a new “Choose a country” select box setting with the default value set as USA. 
  • a new “States” multi-select box setting in the “Add product” and “Edit product” pages. The setting was made available for admins and vendors. Vendors use it to specify the States where they are allowed to sell the product. The field is available for export/import and bulk edit.
The select box contains the exact names of the States of the country chosen and helps vendors to easily find the state they want to specify.
ChopLocal

Vendor Pickup Calendar

Vendors on the marketplace needed to establish time slots when customers could pick up their orders, and a quantity of how many orders vendors could successfully fulfill in that time slot.  A handy Vendors pick-up calendar add-on was designed to allow vendors to set pick-up dates and time slots and for customers – to choose suitable delivery slots at the checkout page. 
What did we do on the administrator’s site
  1. We added a “Pick-up time slot format” select box to the settings page. It made it feasible to select hours within a 12-hour clock or 24-hour clock time format for delivery.
  2. Besides, a new “Calendar” tab was introduced to the pick-up point editing page. The tab appears with:
  • “Pick-up available in” select box to set minimum required hours before pick-up gets available. 
  • “Calendar” date picker to show available dates that customers can choose for pick-up at the checkout. The color helps to visualize the process: gray means that this date is unavailable for selection, green is for an available date.
  • “Working days” section with the days of the week available as the checkboxes. If one of the days is checked, then the section expands. It offers the user to select a pick-up time, and the number of orders per slot.

Now, customers can pick which time slot they want to pick up their products. Once the quantity in that time slot is maxed out, it will no longer allow that time slot to be chosen by the customer.

What was done on the storefront

On the storefront, we created a new pop-up that users see before going to the Homepage of the website. The new functionality allows users to see only the products that are sold in the particular state from vendors who selected this state for their products.

The pop-up contains three options:

  • Use my current location. If this option is chosen, Google Maps API is used to define the user’s IP geolocation.
  • Register now or sign in to use my shipping address in case a new user would like to register. The state is defined based on the user’s shipping address. If this option is chosen, the user is redirected to the sign-in pop-up.
  • Purchasing a gift? Enter Recipient’s State. If this option is chosen, ther user sees the “Choose the State” select box to manually enter his or her location. 
ChopLocal
No matter which option is chosen, the selected state is displayed at the checkout page in the Recipient State field. The user can change the state manually by entering his or her State in the Customer location block or at the checkout page. To save the State change, a notification pop-up “Are you sure to change the State? Your cart will be cleared” is shown. When the user confirms the change by clicking “Yes”, the location is changed and the filter is updated, clearing the cart and reloading the page.

Product search modification

We modified the products’ search. The users now can search only among products which States match the users’ location. 
ChopLocal

The basis of our website is to purchase local meat. We would like to build that principle into our site, so we would like to make it very easy to search for vendors by the customers location

Results

A feature-rich website with the convenient options to choose pickup points and dates, promote vendors and expand the network of meat eaters across the local environment.

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