How a Brisbane butcher moved fast to add an online store and delivery during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about the world we live in, no less how we shopped. As consumers turned to bulk-buying, many brick and mortar stores struggled to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, those who wished to avoid the in-store experience altogether ordered online in more numbers than ever.

As demand for beef skyrocketed and supermarkets were quick to run out of stock, Brisbane craft butcher Peter Augustus increased beef production and introduced a delivery service to meet consumer demand.

“We wanted to get our beef out to a wider audience, especially those that live too far away to come in store,” said Simon Jones, manager of the local wholesale and retail arm of Stanbroke, the Australian beef and cattle company behind Peter Augustus.

Simon said setting up an online store was crucial for reaching new customers, many of whom were cautious consumers who turned to home cooking with their families. 

Opening a delivery service gave us a chance to help people keep their fridges and freezers well stocked, contact free.

“Opening a delivery service gave us a chance to help people keep their fridges and freezers well stocked, contact free. Everything could be done online – we could take the money from them and leave the insulated box on their step so they don’t have to come face to face with our delivery drivers,” he said. 

“Realistically, it helped people get meat who otherwise wouldn’t be able to get it.”

A lean and efficient platform for online operations was crucial for Peter Augustus, and so they turned to Neto, an Australian ecommerce platform that helps businesses of all sizes set up to sell online. 

Jack Frampton, a Neto Customer Service Agent who worked with the Peter Augustus team, said shifting a retail business online can be overwhelming, especially for owners who are making the transition for the first time. 

“I was excited to help streamline the process and minimise their stress. We just wanted to get the craft butcher business operating efficiently online as soon as possible,” Jack said.

“I always try to talk things out in plain English whenever liaising with clients, especially when it’s their first soiree into the online world. My contributions to getting them trading online were largely in listening to their needs and offering advice on how to achieve those within Neto.”

Cisco Sara, Marketing Manager at Neto, said online shopping was stronger than ever before. “We saw strong growth throughout this period, with traffic to just our merchants’ sites almost doubling between January and August.”

Neto merchants also benefited from the growth in online marketplaces like eBay, Catch, Amazon and Kogan.com. 

“We’ve seen our merchants grow on average 80% year on year,” Cisco said. 

Not only were Peter Augustus able to reach new customers who normally wouldn’t come in to try their products, they were also able to retain their existing customers by keeping them engaged on social media and coming up with new products to make their life easier.

“We increased production of beef mince and began packaging it in larger volumes that were vacuum packed to extend their shelf life,” Simon said. 

“We ran stay-at-home cooking competitions and launched specially designed packs to help take the pressure off shopping for singles and families.

“Neto’s system was incredibly easy for us to use, which was important as we wanted to continue adding new offerings for our customers.” 

Peter Augustus started out with two delivery days a week, and after acquiring multiple vans and trucks gradually expanded the service to five days a week. They currently deliver to Metro Brisbane and Caboolture, and are soon to expand delivery service again to Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Peter Augustus’s stores are located in Camp Hill Marketplace and Merthyr Village, New Farm.

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Brisbane Business Hub

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