Brakes partners KPS for COVID digital transformation

Foodservice wholesaler Brakes has partnered with e-commerce agency KPS to digitally transform its operations during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The project opened up its business-to-business (B2B) food delivery site to the public with the launch of a new direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce offer, giving UK households an alternative to visiting the supermarket or relying on online grocery delivery slots.

With the sudden closure of pubs and restaurants during lockdown, Brakes was able to step in alongside fellow wholesaler Bidfood to support the government in providing food and other essentials to the clinically vulnerable, who were required to shield for 12 weeks. From planning to execution in less than nine days, Brakes now delivers more than 200,000 care packages each week across the UK.

Brakes also stepped in to support supermarket’s efforts to feed the nation and get food into stores, working with several retailers - including Sainsbury’s and Iceland - to help them meet the surge in demand as panic buying took hold in March.

The company also recognised the need to begin to supply its products directly to the public via a new D2C site, for shoppers who either couldn’t secure an online food delivery or didn’t want to visit the supermarket.

Having partnered with KPS on a series of digital transformation projects previously, Brakes felt KPS was the partner of choice for the D2C site.

Within two days of partnering with KPS, Brakes opened its B2B site to the public, accepting phone orders for collection from a select few distribution centres. It then introduced a complementary D2C e-commerce site, which would support Click and Collect.

With new registration, location, payments and customer service processes needing to be designed, tested and implemented at pace, the KPS and Brakes teams worked collaboratively to deliver the implementation of Brakes’ D2C channel. This was launched on the SAP Commerce Cloud platform in nine days.

Now Brakes can provide groceries to a radius that includes 6.8 million households in the UK, while consumers have access to more than 6,000 Brakes products, through delivery or Click and Collect at 94 nationwide depots.

Alex Protasiuk, lead digital relationship manager at Brakes, commented: “As a business, we knew we had to respond quickly – which we knew would be challenging, but we have innovative and resilient colleagues at Brakes, so we were able to launch a really great service, in record time."

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