Located in North Carolina with four locations, Weaver Street Market launched with Rosie in April 2020. As one of our first retailers to use the new Cater module when it launched last fall, they’ve made it easy for customers to place orders online for the items they’re best known for, including holiday meals and special desserts. We sat down with Carolyn Twesten, merchandiser at Weaver Street Market, to discuss what sets them apart and how Cater impacted their ability to sell their specialty items.
What is the Weaver Street Market in-store shopping experience like and how have you been able to translate that experience online?
The Weaver Street Market experience is community focused. We’re known for our in-store events and great customer service. The in-store shopping experience is European style, with baked breads, freshly prepared foods, and high quality produce.
When we partnered with Rosie, our goal was to recapture sales of our prepared food, which accounted for about 30% of our sales before COVID. The weekly ad feature in the Control Panel, which we used to highlight prepared foods, grab and go options, and more, was very successful. The marketing panels have also been an effective way to funnel customers to the categories we want them to shop most.
What makes your customers choose Weaver Street Market over other local grocery options?
Our stores are located in the Triangle Area of North Carolina, where people are particularly passionate about local food and business. This aligns perfectly with our mission, which focuses on quality and ethical sourcing, fair trade, and being as sustainable as possible. Social responsibility is a core value, so we are a certified living wage employer and really take care of our employees. Additionally, we pride ourselves in creating a special customer experience by offering a welcoming gathering place with community events.
What initially piqued your team’s interest in Cater?
We were initially interested in Cater because we were looking for a solution to our holiday special ordering program. We really excel during the holidays, so when the pandemic hit, it left us wondering “how are we going to adapt and manage?” The ability to sell our special holiday items like turkeys, hams, pastries, and more was critical, making it an easy decision to launch with Rosie in April 2020.
How has Cater changed your ability to prepare and process those special orders?
Cater allows us to set prep time for holiday specific items, so if an item requires 72 hours, we can receive the order in the proper amount of time. In the case of Thanksgiving, we set the prep time for a couple weeks out and then reduced it by 24 hours until we got to the order deadline. It also allowed us to collect order data from customers before we even got to Thanksgiving week, so we were able to prepare.
Our team also relied on the production data report to manage orders and plan in advance. When you’re selling items in-store, you have a limited quantity, so when you sell out you have no idea what your potential could have been. With Cater and the production data report, we could see our potential as orders came in, and next year we’ll be able to estimate what will be most popular and set goals.
How has all of this affected sales?
There’s no doubt that Cater positively impacted sales, as they really speak the loudest here. Typically, Rosie orders account for 20% of our everyday sales, but during the holidays our prepared food on Cater was 40% of sales. Our Thanksgiving orders grew by 12% this year. We were the most surprised and delighted by our number of orders for Christmas this year, which doubled.
How has your ability to merchandise products changed with the launch of Shop?
The marketing panels and weekly ads give greater visibility to the products we want to spotlight and we’re able to funnel customers to those specific categories. Instead of having to scroll through, customers are directed to our products that are really special. We’re also able to better set goals and plan out our calendar for what we want to promote now that we have these tools.
What are the main things you think about when utilizing features like announcement panels and marketing panels to guide your customers towards your specialty products?
The first thing we consider is highlighting the seasonality of a product. The main focus of our hero panels is the season or a holiday, and then everything else supports the particular theme. For example, Valentine’s Day is coming up, so we can promote floral offerings and then accompanying products with a focus on special meals and wine. We’re also experimenting with using these tools to support our community by showcasing the work of partners with similar values, like various hunger relief organizations.
Interested in selling your specialty items using Cater? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how.