When COVID-19 first hit, businesses like farm markets, bakeries and butchers struggled to quickly pivot to online ordering and curbside pickup. The methods were often clunky—phone orders, PDFs that needed to be printed, scanned and emailed, or websites that were far from ideal and took huge percentages of your already-dwindling profits. Here, we’re looking at one small farm market that used a clunky PDF ordering solution that cost them big money and caused serious headaches—and we’re looking at how, in under 15 minutes, they could have created a simple, streamlined solution.
A farmer’s market that consisted of a bakery, a butcher shop and a selection of local groceries needed to develop a quick way to take online orders. Their solution then was to create a one-page PDF order form that customers could download, print, fill out, scan, and email to the manager, who would forward the email to the bakery manager and manager of the butchery.
All three would then go through each PDF, tally up what they needed to bundle, then deliver it to the front of the store for packaging. The baker, for instance, would use a notebook to tally up how many loaves of each type of bread / pastry she needed to bake, and then after baking would have to go back through the PDF order forms to put orders together for specific customers.
The problems with this system:
- The baker had a limit to how many loaves she could bake in a day
- Some customers didn’t show up to pay for/collect their orders
- Customers didn’t know the cost of their orders (and with farmer’s market pricing, this led to some tricky situations)
- The baker was spending extra hours just tabulating what she needed to make, then even more time labeling the packages for pickup—time that could be spent producing more baked goods!
- There were often mistakes due to the handwriting on the PDFs or simply the fact that the PDF emails were overlooked or forwarded late by the manager
- The staff didn’t have a huge amount of website/webshop experience, so building a landing page for the store and setting up the backend was too time consuming/costly for the business
- Downloading, editing and emailing PDFs was cumbersome for customers
- The main manager was overwhelmed with orders, and the system relied on her forwarding the emails to the right people on a rolling basis
Basically, the system was hard on the customers, and hard on the staff. But the usual solutions like setting up a Shopify page or another webshop were simply too overwhelming for an already busy staff. They needed a solution that would take less than an hour or two to get set up.
Creating an online webshop was too much work and far too costly for a business that wasn’t doing a huge volume of online orders, especially since none of the staff was web savvy and all of them needed to be able to easily access order forms. Enter the Google Form with the Payable Add-On and a Form Limiter Add-On.
In under 30 minutes, a Google Form with the bakery, butcher and grocery options—including prices—could easily be built. The Form could include things like:
- Name for the order
- Bakery, butcher and grocery items selected via multiple choice options
- Order day / time slot for pickup
- A space for notes
Then, the Payable Add-On can be activated and can add in things like sales tax if needed. A Form Limiter Add-On can also be used in order to limit how many loaves of sourdough or packages of bacon can be ordered.
With Payable, customers would be able to checkout and pay for their order when it went in, rather than waiting until they were curbside. This would cut down on orders being sent in and then never picked up.
The connected Google Sheet that recorded sales could be shared with each of the managers so that seeing new orders could be done with the click of a button, and orders could be updated and tabulated as needed.
The link to the Google Form could easily be shared with customers on the website, in advertisements and via the email signatures of the various managers.
Bonus: The emails would be stored so that the store could use them in email marketing.