Facing the prospect of throwing away thousands of plants in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, a local plant wholesaler, Pinetops Nurseries of Lymington, approached Tinstar for assistance with a new online store. The store exceeded expectations and went from zero online presence to taking multiple orders within a week.
As a B2B company, Pinetops had to overcome the logistics of B2C order fulfilment and delivery in next to no time. Our job was to create an e-commerce website to handle the job.
Our little graphic and website design studio is based off Lymington High Street in Hampshire. Lymington has (along with the rest of the country) become eerily quiet over the last 2-3 weeks…
By the time that the Coronavirus government directive put the entire country on pause and sent it home, even the demolition work outside had come to a halt – and for a couple of days before temporarily moving the studio to my home office, I enjoyed the first views of the Solent and Isle of Wight that I’d ever had from my office window.
Until the development work started, My view was of the fairly uninspiring 1970s brick wall of a derelict bus depot building directly opposite. For the time being, this has given way to a sweeping view of Lymington River and Solent.
As pleasant as this was (notwithstanding the piles of rubble below), it was time to do our bit and retreat homewards. And I thought that some peace and quiet in my home office might be the perfect opportunity for me to clear the decks.
There were a couple of things that I hadn’t factored into this theory.
Firstly, there are, of course, an inordinate number of distractions at home. At the studio I’m quite disciplined – but then again at the studio I’m not battling the call of the fridge, my children or the dog – not to mention innumerate toys and gadgets.
Secondly, what became very clear, very quickly was the fact that a lot of businesses that had previously sold direct to now-closed businesses or that had relied on a now-closed physical retail outlet, they had to get online in a hurry.
Record Breaking Pumpkins
Just one example was local large-scale plant producer, the family-run Pinetops Nurseries. Pinetops has been in the news quite a bit over the years thanks to the remarkable skill of the Paton twins’ ability to grow absolutely massive pumpkins.
Stuart and Ian are the current UK record holders, with a pumpkin they grew in 2018 weighing more than a tonne at 173.8 stone (2433.9 lbs):
Some Lymington residents will remember seeing them strapping an outboard engine to their scooped-out monsters and striking out for the Isle of Wight up Lymington River.
And then of course there was the time they were on Blue Peter… (see video below)
Coronavirus Forces the Issue
A few days ago I saw a BBC link that had been put up on Facebook by Rory Paton, Director of Pinetops.
It warned that the destruction of millions of unsold plants to one third of UK growers going bust. It was a sobering article. Judging by the comments on the post, there was clearly a great deal of concern for an established local business.
I dropped Rory a line and suggested that a B2C e-commerce store could help to shift at least some of this stock to satisfy an obviously high local demand.
Used to selling to supermarkets and other businesses, this was an entirely new challenge for Pinetops. Unswayed, Rory contacted other local suppliers such as Mr Evergreen and The Plant Yard to join forces and share the logistical challenges in fulfilling new orders. Delivery was an obvious issue because of the necessity of maintaining social distancing, so it was decided to keep deliveries local on a ‘drop and run’ basis.
Less than one week later, the new Solent Growers online store emerged from Tinstar’s home-based studio sporting a fresh new logo and complete content management system. Three days on, the orders are still piling in even though it is only possible to place orders from postcodes within a 10 mile radius of the nursery.
Whilst this website was created as a direct response to the Coronavirus lockdown, Tinstar is always ready and able to help any business to reach new and existing customers through new channels.
We appreciate that it’s often difficult to make the transition into a whole new way of doing business, but Tinstar will be there every step of the way and always at hand to assist and guide you through the process.
Please do get in touch if you’d like like to discuss your business’ transformation online.