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About Grainfather

The Grainfather is a New Zealand-based business that delivers innovative brew kits and systems to craft beer connoisseurs. The Grainfather’s expert team of industrial designers, engineers, and brewers launched their all-in-one brewing system through an e-commerce platform in August 2014, taking the best brewing practices from craft breweries and putting them into a simple-to-use, all-in-one system. This ensured anyone anywhere could brew a professional craft beer, no matter their brewing experience.

One year in, the team behind the rigorous research and development of this innovative product realised that their e-commerce website was holding them back and they needed assistance.

The Challenge

The website was built on a very basic platform with limited functionality and all sales activities were extremely manual and vulnerable to human error. Despite being an international company servicing multiple regions, their e-commerce setup required a separate content management system for every region and just wasn’t scalable for the kind of growth the business wanted to achieve.

The website was outdated and hard-to-maintain and without Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) integration, customers were complaining about issues with order fulfilment and prolonged delays. The Grainfather was fielding numerous calls to that effect. The user experience was not living up to the product promise of being simple and easy to use. Their e-commerce setup had reached its ceiling, and a new solution was necessary.

The Solution

The Grainfather needed an e-commerce website that stayed true to its artisan heritage, with a clean design, a great user experience, and a ‘handcrafted’ experience built specifically to cater to avid brewers and beer lovers. The new website is fully customisable with innovative features that firmly place the customer at the centre of the website’s functionality:

  • Automatic IP Detection
  • Integration with ERP System
  • Beautiful Design and Layout
  • Real-Time Search Functionality
  • Seamless User Experience
  • Streamlined Checkout Process
  • Integrated Payment Gateway
  • Product Comparisons and Customer Reviews
  • Social Wall

Automatic IP Detection

From the get-go, the site is optimised to automatically detect a customer’s IP address and tailor the entire experience to the customer’s region, ensuring that products seamlessly display in the customer’s own currency. Previously, customers would arrive at a landing page where they would need to select their region manually from a checkbox before they could continue. Now, when customers enter the site, they are immediately immersed in The Grainfather’s products and brand.

Integration with ERP System

The Grainfather’s ERP system controls all of the back-end business processes, including orders, order fulfilment, and stock availability – but it had never been linked to the previous website. As with any craft beer, it’s the nuances and behind-the-scenes decisions that make a beer extraordinary, especially so with the new site’s integration into the back-end ERP system. The e-commerce site and ERP system are now linked in real-time to create orders, update inventory, inform warehouses, and ship to customers.

Because this is all automated, human error has been eliminated, ensuring that customers are given accurate information and drastically reducing the time from order to fulfilment. The ERP integration has also made the site completely scaleable, so as The Grainfather grows from the existing 5 regions (New Zealand, USA, UK, Australia and Europe) into Canada, China, South Africa and beyond, the website will scale with growing global demand.

Beautiful Design and Layout

Attractive design and layout increases the perceived value of the products and works to make the website (and the business) seem more trustworthy. Visuals are a critical factor in making a good first impression and influencing purchase decision, and the new website was redesigned with:

  • A clean aesthetic that utilised high-quality product photography
  • A minimalist layout that showcases products
  • An easy-to-use, well-organised navigation system
  • Real-time search functionality that is accessible everywhere on the site
  • Featured deals placed front and centre in a rotating slot on the homepage

Real-Time Search Functionality

The real-time search functionality gives the customer instant results as they type – products and prices, categories, and page results. Customers can instantly ascertain if what they’re looking for is in stock and what it costs without having to navigate away from where they are within the site.

Seamless User Experience

A positive user experience plays a huge role in returning customers and future purchases. The new site has a simplified information architecture and convenient quick links to streamline the checkout process. Every call-to-action button on the site is colour-coordinated and animated to create an uninterrupted journey to purchase, with the entire process finely crafted to drive conversions. Most importantly, the new design is responsive – for anywhere, anytime access, on any device.

Streamlined Checkout Process

When customers add their purchase to their shopping cart, the quick link button changes from yellow to blue, with a unique 5-second timer that prompts customers to click through to their shopping cart for immediate checkout, minimising cart abandonment. The checkout process is a seamless, single-page parallax, with every checkout step on the same page so that customers are faced with limited decisions to make, and don’t have to click ‘back’ to change any details.

Integrated Payment Gateway

Whereas most e-commerce sites interrupt the user journey by leading users to a separate payment gateway (inciting security fears), the new site has integrated the payment gateways into the site, eliminating any friction, so that customers never have to leave the site.

Product Comparisons and Customer Reviews

Information is critical in any purchase decision and customers can now add products to a comparison list to analyse the specifications of products alongside each other. Each product, from the kegs to the hops, comes with a comprehensive description of what’s included in the package, their specs, instructions, and customer reviews. All of this information can be navigated without loading a new page to make an informed purchase decision. The new site allows customers to rate and review products, enabling the community to share their experience and provide input to guide others’ purchase decisions.

Social Wall

The Grainfather is about more than just beer and brewing – they wanted to build a community of beer lovers who could connect around their shared passion. The new Social Wall pulls in all of their social feeds and customer interaction to reflect the human experience of being a part of The Grainfather community. Customers are also given more than one option for staying in touch, with social media icons prominently placed in the header of the new site for easy access.

The Results

87% increase in visits to the new website 121% increase in page views 61% increase in unique visitors 49% returning visitors to the new website

Key Insights

This premium crafted e-commerce site led to sales dramatically increasing to R1,389,105.40 in just one month! The return on investment was three-fold, with The Grainfather making the cost of the website development back more than three times over. And where customers weren’t returning to the old site, one month after launch, the number of visits to the new site has increased by 87% and page views increased by a whopping 121%.

Most importantly, The Grainfather website now offers a world-class e-commerce experience for its customers with seamless integrations and flawless functionality. Bottoms up to that!


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