Business-to-business procurement remains largely done on the desktop computer – or even over the phone – but for Olam Specialty Coffee, the buyers and roasters of coffee beans are often traveling. According to Olam, a Web-based procurement system was not sufficient for its particular market.
It’s this revelation that has led the company to rethink its digital commerce strategy. According to reports, Olam Specialty Coffee, which runs on eBay’s Magento eCommerce platform, re-launched its website earlier this year to offer flexibility for smartphones and tablets. The mobile site caters to the coffee beans’ corporate buyers, who are always on the move, Olam said.
“The buyers of the accounts are often traveling,” said the firm’s eCommerce manager, Hayden Kwast, in an interview. “The nature of their day job is very hands-on. It’s hard to always be on a computer, and they’re often checking things on their phone or tablet.”
The company is a digital portal to connect coffee growers with the companies that roast the beans, including coffee shops. According to Kwast, 80 percent of Olam orders are placed online. Since re-launching the site to include a mobile version, the company reported a 17 percent spike in Internet traffic and order volume. The number of buyers has also jumped from 700 to 1,000.
According to reports, Olam has experienced a major digital growth spurt since its launch just three years ago. In the beginning, the company did the majority of its B2B sales operations offline. But according to Kwast, having to describe the product and services of Olam to each individual potential buyer was time-consuming, and the digital B2B eCommerce migration led to a drastic spike in business.
According to reports, the increased versatility of the company’s mobile operations offers a more real-time view into product price fluctuations, providing a more reliable view of the coffee industry supply chain. In catering to mobile buyers, Olam seems to be hoping for another growth spurt.