To round up or to round down… hang on, surely there’s an e-commerce platform that can manage products sold by weight rather than a unit?
 

A Case study on an e-Commerce Custom Solution:

 
The client, Exercito was looking to enter the market with the first variable weight e-Commerce platform. They had identified a gap in the market. Fresh produce suppliers who have traditionally sold fruit and vegetables by weight faced a significant challenge entering the online shopping market. All online platforms at the time only sold by the unit. This meant that in the case of fresh produce, the retailer would have to round prices. The numbers for this was staggering. To potentially round down the price of every sale could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars over a year.

Exercito contacted Macrison.

We offered extensive experience with and a broad network of fresh produce retailers.

We have a development business offering custom solutions.
 

Project Scope:

 
Three core challenges were identified.

a. Could a platform be built to manage variable weight that was highly functional with a powerful user experience?

b. Would the functionality easily integrate into existing POS and inventory management systems?

c. Would it impact on payments and if so could this be addressed?
 

Research:

 
We met with a number of retailers to get a thorough understanding of their current sales practices and the technology currently in use.

There were at least three different POS Suppliers and as many different inventory management systems.

Variable weight wasn’t consistent. Every type of produce had different variable weight conditions. The potential difference between the various weight in apples could be very different to the potential weight variations in watermelons or pumpkins.

At the end of the exercise, despite having a sense of the e-Commerce platform that needed to be built. We were still going to have to come up with a payment process that managed to round for variable weights.

At this point, we were able to give our development team a brief for the site build. However, we now needed to start researching a payment solution.

This led us to New York. We identified an e-Commerce payment gateway expert in New York who was able to help us in developing the required solution.
 

The Variable Weight e-Commerce / Payment Gateway Solution

 
On the front of the platform, the UX presented the customer with the choice of ordering by the kilo or by a unit.

The operational platform for this option required an SKU for every conceivable product a retailer might sell. The retailer then entered the average variable weight on each SKU.

This process allowed for a variable weight calculation on which to base pricing.

On the front end, at the point of processing a payment, the consumer was required to tick a box acknowledging the payment was based on a price estimate. Their credit card was processed for the estimated amount. It was important to Exercito and the industry that some money was collected. This would prevent consumers opting out of the order at a later stage. When packing the goods, the retailer would weigh each order and enter the actual price into the backend of the system. Once completed, the payment gateway allowed for a correction on the credit card. This would happen without having to have any further interaction with the customer. The official receipt of purchase was delivered with the goods.

We resolved the interface to various POS by building APIs for the various systems.
 

The Wrap:

 
The client and the industry remain in early stages of customer take up. Online shopping for fresh produce is still evolving. However, as consumer take up grows, fresh produce retailers can take comfort in knowing that there is an e-Commerce solution for their industry.
 
e-Commerce Solution