Company

Salty Buoy are the leading light in the craft beer explosion and distribute craft beers throughout Northern Ireland to trade customers.

INdustry

Food wholesale and Distribution.

Target Market

Independent trade businesses, off licences and licenced retailers. Many of these are family run.

Integration

Sage 50 integration

THE CHALLENGE

The Salty Buoy Beer Company are growing fast and have more than doubled their turnover over the last few years. Selling “the beer we want to drink ourselves to our customers”. 

They add 8- 10 new products each week, a mix of one-off specials and core products from each of the breweries to trade customers all over Ireland. “It’s all about freshness! We can market and deliver a new product within 7 days, including artwork and tasting notes. This may be a one off special with just 10 cases available or it can be a core product – this is what sets us apart”. 

Clearly the sheer pace at which new craft beers need to be added creates many man hours of work. “We were letting our customers know what was available by PDF lists and spreadsheets from which they could order by email, phone and text. With 8-10 new products each week, what was accurate at the beginning of the week was not so up to date by the end of the week. We would then enter these manually into our account systems – that took an enormous amount of time.” 

Lockdown saw huge growth in the business with many of us drinking at home – not Salty Buoys – deemed an essential grocery item, “We worked hard to keep up with demand whilst maintaining our high levels of quality, service and personal relationship with our loyal customers. We wanted to support our local breweries during this challenging time and we are proud that we made a difference.” 

“We knew we needed to invest in an e-commerce site. Our first supplier just couldn’t do the integration that we needed, so we did our research and found Gob2b. After our first experience, we were nervous but the 12 month contract gave us comfort and Paul at Gob2b showed us what the site could do upfront.” 

The e-commerce site needed to be easy to use for all their customers as well as a wish list that included: 

  • Hosting a fast changing and growing range of products online. 
  • Up to the minute stock availability. 
  • Pull through pricing, SKU details and stock from their accounting software. 
  • Be able to cope with both one off specials and core products from the breweries. 
  • Have easy search and filter options for example alcohol free, low alcohol and gluten free filters. 
  • Enable customers to choose visually with branding and tasting notes rather than just with a description. 
  • Customers could repeat, build, save and have those orders checked and confirmed by email. 
  • Adjacent products and alternatives are suggested as customers order.  
  • “What’s new” suggestions and easy visibility across the portfolio. 
  • Eliminate manual entry of orders into the accounting system. 
  • Enable them to continue with top quality and personal customer service. 
  • A site that is very visual and is going to evolve and develop as the business grows. 
  • An e-commerce site that will link to social media and that is funky and cool. 
Image

Gob2b have been delighted to work with Salty Buoy to create a cool site that works well for customers and that is loyal to the Salty Buoy’s brand.

THE SOLUTION

Salty Buoy chose GOb2b’s unique eCommerce platform which gives them a very visual, feature rich website that made it easy for customers to order core products and one-off specials. Easy to search and filter for customers but also to be able to upload multiple new products every week with tasting notes, full branding and stock availability.  

GOb2b is fully integrated with their Sage 50 accounting software to sync orders, stock information, product data, images, tasting notes, filters, customer records and pricing. “Customers can see pictures rather than a PDF or spreadsheet, see stock availability and also request notifications and back order for when stock is back in.” said Conall. 

Conall and his team can see the back order and notification reports which helps on what to order according to accurate customer demand. 

Customers like the simplicity and clarity the site gives them, they can see the whole portfolio of products and see what is new each week.

THE RESULTS

SAVES TIME AND MONEY 

Conall and the team can spend more time on exciting new products with the breweries rather than many hours taken up processing orders. 

GROWING THE BUSINESS 

Customers can see the entire portfolio of products. They can search and filter on categories of products and they can see what’s in stock, back order for when new products come into stock and ask to be notified when particular products are back in stock. 

Conall and his team have much more visibility on the customer purchase behaviours in what is a highly fluid and dynamic business with hundreds of changing products. “There may be just 10 cases for the one-off specials and it’s all about freshness which is what sets us apart, customers need to be able to order quickly and we all need to know availability and stock up to the minute.” 

“It’s been great for new business, we can connect through Instagram and just send a link to the site – it makes new business faster and easier whilst keeping the personal service we are known for.” 

PERSONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE 

“We are on first name terms with our customers and wanted our site to feel as personal as our service.” The Salty Buoys site is funky, cool and feels very personal. What’s new is on the first page, social media feeds are integrated and they can talk with our customers and breweries about what they need rather than just processing orders. 

BUILT TO GROW 

The GOb2b platform creates sites which are built to last with regular updates as part of the monthly fee as well as support from our team of experts during the life-time of the site. 

“It was great to work with the Gob2b guys. They are very responsive; they listen and find solutions. They have given us a high level of support daily, weekly and monthly and I am very happy with the whole team.” 

A LEARNING EXPERIENCE

It was a new but good experience for us. We have worked hard with our customers to make sure the site does just what they want and make it easier for them. We have tweaked and changed the site to meet their needs as we learn. We have learned a lot about how customers really order and how they search.”  

“We have been able to react to the customer behaviour. The site is not set in stone and I have been really happy with the team at Gob2b in terms of the process, support and speed of response.” 

“About two thirds of all customer orders now go through the Gob2b site and no one who has ordered through the site has gone back to the phone/text/email methods. 

It is fair to say that a few customers have been more resistant to change, even though the site makes ordering so much easier and we will work to help them see what it can do for them as we go on.” 

WHAT'S NEXT?

Salty Buoys will now take a look as some of the advanced features and reports that Gob2b offer so that they can take advantage of promotions and basket visibility. 

“The connection between the site and social media has been great and we will do more of that – it makes it faster and easier for existing and new customers.” 

And hopefully Conall can use the time saved and take a well-deserved week’s holiday!