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How to Digitalize Seafood Retail & Food Delivery Service

How a “simple e-commerce website” transformed into four interconnected software products that simplify business processes for an international seafood store chain.

Going digital and transforming the offline business processes to support online transactions is a key right now when the world is learning the art of healthy social distancing.

Egersund Group is one of the largest fish companies in Norway. The company is in business for almost 100 years, since 1921, and the first fish delivery to Ukraine took place in 1996.

This is a story of how HUSPI worked with Egersund to make the business even more successful in the digital age. Together, we’ve created four projects:

  • The order management system which is the main hub for all the data about available goods
  • A tablet interface for the staff of the offline stores to know, which products are available in the warehouse and which are already sold out
  • A standalone app for couriers to track the orders they need to deliver
  • A user-friendly dual-language e-commerce website and a standalone app for the customers

How did we do it? Read on.

egersund how to develop ecommerce for food industry

Backstory

The offline business was going well, but there is always an area for improvement. Egersund management decided it’s time to upgrade the company’s website to add e-commerce features and increase the brand’s online presence.

Egersund has several offline stores and restaurants in Ukraine, but the company felt the need for digital transformation and approached the HUSPI team to navigate the technological waters.

The initial step for the cooperation with HUSPI was the technical audit of the existing infrastructure to understand the scope of work. Our business analysts and project managers have met with Egersund to write down the client expectations and requirements, which later were to be translated into feature descriptions for developers to create.

At this point, we realized that a more comprehensive overhaul of the business processes is needed. Our goal was to provide a solution that would not just be an e-commerce store that our clients and their staff will have to manage manually according to the data from their warehouses, but rather a software system that would simplify and streamline the selling and distribution processes.

Who are the “actors” in this play?

  • Customers - their goal is to easily purchase fresh high-quality fish and seafood from a trustworthy source and know that it will be delivered on time.
  • Administrative personnel - their job is to process the customer orders, make sure the fish is available for delivery, and manage couriers to ensure they have all the necessary information for the delivery.
  • Delivery people - their job is to deliver the products to the customer and for that, they need all the necessary information and a simple way to track the order status.
  • Top managers - their goals are to monitor the business flow, that everyone has all the resources to do their job well, and to make decisions that will help the business to prosper.

Taking this list into consideration, we started our development work.

how to manage restaurant orders and couriers - egersund backoffice custom order management system

Taking care of the staff: managing the orders & delivery

Before the customers can buy anything, all the fish and seafood products availability should be well organized to avoid situations when the customer purchases a couple of pounds of salmon that has already been sold to someone else. Not good for the business, not good. Managing this process manually is also a lot of work and when something can be automated, most of the time, it’s better to automate it and let the staff focus on more critical tasks that need personal attention.

Therefore, one of the major parts of our project was the comprehensive back-office system that interconnected the tech infrastructure for restaurants, stores, and delivery, creating one centralized management software.

The features that were required in the system included:

  • The ability to create an order as well as view orders that are created by clients on the website
  • Delivery management features
  • Client management features
  • Dictionary and menu management

For the staff of the offline stores, who work directly with customers buying fish and seafood, we have created an interface to keep the inventory of each product in the warehouse. The purpose of this application is to let the staff know if some of the products are already sold out (since the sellers are usually in the main store area with display fridges and there is an additional warehouse, where the rest of the goods are stored.) Once something is gone, that item shows up on the staff’s tablet in red to signify that they cannot sell it anymore (because it’s not available even in the warehouse.)

Additionally, we have developed a stand-alone mobile application for couriers that has the necessary data about the orders each of the couriers should deliver. Once the administration staff assigns the order in the back-office system, the information appears in the delivery app. The courier app is available for preview on the iOS app store.

The technologies for the back office management system include Node JS, React + Ant.design, MongoDB.

Egersund Seafood - Backoffice Order management system for food and beverage industry

Taking care of the customers: e-commerce website & mobile app for seafood

Egersund has four offline stores and restaurants in Ukraine. To make the process of ordering seafood more efficient for the clients, the second part of HUSPI’s involvement included the development of an e-commerce website (which was the initial request) as well as a mobile app.

Thanks to the management system we have developed, it was simple to create an online display for the products and provide a simple and user-friendly purchasing process. Because it’s connected with the warehouse database, the assortment of goods there is always up to date and customers see that information.

The other purpose of the website is more informational and we have added a few pages to tell the story of Egersund Seafood, its origins, and the detailed process of how the fish gets to the customer’s table from the far-away lands. Since a lot of people use their mobile phones more often than desktop computers, we also made sure that the new design was mobile-friendly, which affected both user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) because Google prefers and rates higher the websites that look good on mobile.

For the customers, who prefer to use a mobile app to purchase fish, sushi, and seafood, we have also added a standalone app that streamlines the ordering process even more.

Check out the e-commerce website here and the app is available on the iOS app store.

egersund client app and egersund custom client ecommerce website

Taking care of everyone: digital transformation in action

As a result of our cooperation, Egersund has strengthened its business presence both in offline markets as well as online. They had a clearly established process for delivering fresh fish from Norway to Ukraine and now the new management software package continues this journey, providing customers with an opportunity to purchase this premium-quality seafood easily from the comfort of their home.

HUSPI’s role in this process was concentrated on IT consulting, where we have delved deep into the ideal process of providing seafood to the customers and continued it with software development of the instruments tailored for this specific task.

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