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The Devil’s In The Delivery: Custom Fulfilment On Shopify Plus

Shopify Plus is known as the launch pad platform for innovative and ambitious brands bringing new products and services to consumers. This, however, does pose challenges for retailers with specific fulfilment needs. For example, selling perishable goods that require delivery within strict time frames, to specific locations, or within certain production limits. In this post, we walk you through the challenges faced by our own clients here at blubolt, and how we’ve delivered a game-changing fulfilment solution for Shopify brands and their customers.

Screen shot of delivery options

A game-changing solution: the Date & Delivery Selector App.

The challenge: resolving fulfilment issues for varying products, locations & product capacities.

Following discovery sessions for two new Shopify Plus builds – Pipers Farm and Cutter & Squidge – we identified their fulfilment challenges as ensuring that:

  • Every order came through with a delivery date,
  • Every product could have availability offered or restricted by specific location e.g. London postcodes only, and
  • The above two criteria would be maintained even if the user changed locations during the ordering process.

At that time, the websites of both brands only offered point one. This was due to the previous logic which dictated that for every order with a delivery date, the date sat on the PDP and the cart. As a result, the logic could actually be circumvented by changing delivery details on the checkout page.

Client challenge 1: Pipers Farm

Pipers Farm is an award-winning online butcher selling grass-fed and free-range meat. The brand has been producing the finest quality meat for over 30 years, focusing on native breeds that are free to roam in fields of grass and grow at a natural pace.

“Taking into account the perishable product range, the existing solution wasn’t meeting Pipers Farm’s requirements,” says Tom Bellew, Senior Frontend Developer at blubolt. “The brand needed a higher level of granularity so they could tailor delivery options for every product in the range AND all UK locations, creating as many bespoke rules as required.”

Pipers Farm website

Pipers Farm needed to tailor delivery options by product and location.

Client challenge 2: Cutter & Squidge

Founded in a bijou kitchen by two foodie sisters, Cutter & Squidge offer baked goods like cakes, brownies, jams and caramels. Alongside these classics, they also offer their own creations like the Biskie.

“The Cutter & Squidge team were looking to improve their nationwide offering, rather than mostly focusing on London, but were restricted by their existing setup,” says Will Hutchinson, Developer at blubolt. “They needed the ability to completely customise the delivery options for London and Nationwide addresses, and also for every product.”

Cutter & Squidge website

Cutter & Squidge required customised delivery options for London and Nationwide addresses.

The solution: a game-changing custom fulfilment app for Shopify.

The new Date & Delivery Selector App: what does it do?

“In response to our clients’ bespoke needs, we’ve developed a custom app for Shopify,” says Richard Ayles, Head of Development at blubolt. “The app is specifically designed to handle more complex fulfilment needs, like specific date selection and shipping methods as well as production and packing limits, even when these requirements vary by product.”

More specifically, the app:

1. Allows you to set rules and give your customers precise delivery dates.

We developed the Date & Delivery Selector App to ensure that every order comes through with an appropriate shipping method to fulfil the order. For example, one that takes into account the location and selected delivery date (i.e. next day, 2 days, or standard delivery).

So how did we do it? To start with, the app checks the available dates relevant to the customer’s postcode on the product detail page (PDP) and the cart. At checkout, the app then takes into consideration the cart, selected delivery date and shipping address to find applicable delivery methods and prices. So, should a customer change their delivery location during the purchasing journey, the list of available methods will alter based on the customer’s new location. This avoids customers inadvertently circumventing the logic by changing delivery details on the checkout page.

The frontend of the app has been developed in React and the date selector on the site itself in JavaScript & HTML / Liquid. It adds a smooth interface to the site – appearing on both product details page (PDP) and the cart – to relay pertinent information to the customer. However, the majority of the action occurs in the backend of the app, where the data is amalgamated. Then, by means of an app proxy, the information is shown on the frontend of the website. Viola!

2. Gives you full control of production and packing limits.

Another key requirement was accounting for production limits on certain items and on the maximum number of orders that could be packed on a daily basis. After all, you can only make and distribute so many cakes (Cutter & Squidge) and sausages (Pipers Farm) in a day!

To cater to this, we correlated rule sets within the app to update and offer available delivery dates to customers based on the items in their cart and their location/region. Cleverly, this also incorporates the user’s timezone in order to prevent customers in other timezones from circumventing delivery deadlines. Merchants can change these rules as often as they like!

3. Offers easy setup with ongoing support.

As the Date & Delivery Selector is available exclusively to blubolt clients, we install and configure the app for our clients. As part of the onboarding process, we run through how to set up the Delivery Date app. This includes how to configure the rules for each particular brand, and how to set up shipping methods, all from within the Shopify admin.

We then enable the widget on the Shopify store. The app works by showing a special button on the product page and cart page that the customers click to choose their preferred delivery date. At this stage, we also review our client’s design guidelines to ensure the app is perfectly on-brand.

Then, like magic, customers can search and select a delivery date! The app shows a special ‘widget’ on your website that is very intuitive for customers to use. They simply enter their postcode, choose a date, and click Save. Once a customer places an order, their chosen delivery date is saved. From here it can be sent to your back-office system for processing (e.g. your ERP, CRM, or WMS system). Naturally, if clients have any queries along the way, our team is available to assist!

Watch the demo here.

The results: super smooth delivery for Pipers Farm and Cutter & Squidge.

Pipers Farm

Happily, the Pipers Farm can now completely customise the delivery options for every product, whether it be meat boxes, condiments or dairy items. And, with an unlimited number of bespoke rules available, they’ve got the security of knowing that they’ll always be able to tailor the delivery options to new products.

Cutter & Squidge

The Date & Delivery Selector App is the icing on the cake for Cutter & Squidge’s new Shopify Plus site. As shown below, they can now filter collection pages for London and Nationwide. In addition, they also have the ability to completely customise the delivery options by product and by location.

We asked Erin Bishop, eCommerce Manager at Cutter & Squidge, for her thoughts:

“Our customers now have more choice and a more accurate timeframe in which to expect their delivery.

Another big win is that it’s saved us countless hours in administration! Before, we experienced issues with orders from different time zones and would then need to contact the customer. We also had customers not getting the correct shipping method and pricing show, such as those ordering in regions such as the Shetland Islands.

Now all of this is taken care of in the app and we’ve seen an increase in customer trust. They know they aren’t going to have issues with their deliveries.”

Signed, sealed, delivered – it’s yours!

With some clever bespoke development work to create our Date & Delivery Selector App, we’ve helped our clients conquer their specific delivery and product capacity challenges. That provides them with a solid platform for continued growth and innovation on Shopify Plus. Read more about the app or check out our project posts for Pipers Farm and Cutter & Squidge.

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In the meantime, browse our client work for inspiration here. Or, if you need assistance with a Shopify Plus query of your own, get in touch with us here. We would love to help!

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