How we helped Brakes in their mission to help feed the nation as the Covid pandemic left supermarket shelves empty

A new B2C site – from idea to launch in just one week

“The support we received from KPS was nothing short of exceptional, with fast turnaround, and best practice at every stage of the implementation.” 

Alex Protasiuk
Lead Digital Relationship Manager at Brakes

COVID-19 has meant all sorts of industries have faced huge challenges – but it has also presented opportunities – and our client, Brakes, asked us to help them change their entire business model (in days!) to meet the unprecedented demand for groceries as the pandemic started to hit our shores.

With the sudden closure of pubs and restaurants, Brakes, traditionally the largest food wholesaler in the UK, was able to step in to support the Government in providing food and other essentials to the clinically vulnerable.

Pivoting to meet demand

It wasn’t only those being asked to shield who needed help. Shoppers struggled to get hold of basic items such as flour or toilet rolls, and queues in supermarkets were huge – and daunting. Traditional supermarkets were struggling with demand for online orders, with websites crashing, or, in some cases, being taken offline altogether.

Brakes started by supporting the supermarket’s efforts to get food into stores and then had another idea… What if they could launch a B2C site to supply goods to consumers directly?

And that’s where we came in.

We’d been working with Brakes for a few years, launching their B2B site (on the SAP Commerce Cloud platform) earlier this year.

Brakes approached us to see how feasible it would be to launch a B2C site … and how fast we could make it happen. The answer? Within 5 days Brakes could take phone orders for collection, and within 9 days, with the launch of a new consumer e-commerce site, customers could order online for click and collect at local distribution centres.

KPS was the obvious partner of choice

Brakes had a few options in how to help consumers get groceries, but, as we had a great working relationship, understood their business, and our expertise in launching both B2B and B2C sites, Brakes recognised the value we could add in achieving this transformation in such a limited timeframe.

The support we received was nothing short of exceptional."

Alex ProtasiukBrakes

Pulling out all the stops to deliver

With new registration, location, payments and customer service processes needing designing, testing and implementing at pace, the project to supplement Brakes’ traditional business was challenging. However, the KPS / Brakes teams worked around the clock to plan, create, test and deliver the implementation of Brakes’ D2C channel on the SAP Commerce Cloud platform in just nine days. Something that might normally take a number of months. Not only were the partners working collaboratively to implement the D2C platform, but it was also delivered with no impact on Brakes’ vital food-delivery and supply chain work.

The new consumer site included a postcode check, allowing shoppers to see whether they live within the 35-40 mile radius delivery zone. Brakes could offer delivery to 6.8 million households. Consumers had access to more than 6,000 Brakes products – including fruit and veg, meat and poultry, bread, milk and much more. The new site allowed shoppers to select a delivery day, build their basket, and complete the checkout process – including credit card payment, using a newly integrated payments solution supplied by ITS.

Care packages delivered each week across GB
Households Brakes could reach with the new B2C offering

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