E-commerce platform allows farmers to sell lamb direct to consumers

In a time where Australian farmers are being challenged by adversity in every direction, a new e-commerce platform has been developed to bridge the gap between customer and farmer with a buy direct system. 

The PDLmarketplac e-commerce platform has been developed to provide lamb consumers with quality assured Prime Dorper Lamb directly from Australian farmers, with proceeds going directly to the farmer. 

The advantages of an e-commerce system like this are twofold; farmers get better returns by selling premium product directly to customers and customers get a better range of choice when buying lamb delivered directly to their homes. 

Each PDLmarketplace delivery is traceable to a specific farm and production system. The trading platform allows consumers to select their lamb based on unique preferences including; ethical farming, sustainable farming, quality and flavour ratings based on previous customer reviews and farm location. 

All Prime Dorper Lamb has to meet strict quality specifications about size, conditions and genetic background to be available for sale through the system. 

When purchasing Prime Dorper Lamb through the PDLmarketplace customers can learn about the farms and meet the farmers behind their lamb selection, providing a new level of engagement between consumer and farmer. 

PDLmarketplace project director, Joe Barnewall, believes that it is critical to develop a much closer customer-farmer relationship. 

“Farmers have been the lifeblood of the Australian economy since the foundation of this country and this is a chance and give farmers the better returns they deserve. By revealing the people behind the food and educating customers about farming systems and animal welfare, we can strengthen the mutual respect and understanding between the two.”

Tim Stevenson, president of the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia says supporting Australian farmers is important now more than ever.

“With the drought in Eastern Australia, any way for professional producers to become more efficient must be a great thing. Meat that is handled and transported less has a smaller environmental foot print. PDLmarketplace does this and more.” 

Tim also shared that the project, endorsed by the Dorper Sheep Society of Australia, is one of the first of it’s kind. “The livestock industry in general has been left behind in its uptake of technology. This is the first for a breed society to partner with a commercial operator to provide benefits for the members by creating a unique process to sell their product directly to consumers. The DSSA is excited for and proud of the PDLmarketplace.”

Prime Dorper Lamb Farmers like Donna Emmerton of Downs Dorper Lamb are excited by this new opportunity to sell their product. “I think I speak for the majority of Prime Dorper Lamb farmers when I say things have been really tough for the past five to ten years and having a potential system like this that could give us some stability and the prospect of a better outcome is really exciting.”

The PDLmarketplace is a project operated by a Brisbane based team with support from The Dorper Sheep Society of Australia. The initial launch is for the South-East Queensland consumer market with expansion to Victoria in early 2020 leading up to Australia Day. 

Australia lagging behind online grocery shopping

Just 12% of Australian consumers use e-commerce services to order groceries online and have it delivered to their home – 13 percentage points lower than the global average of 25%, and well behind the Asia Pacific average of 37%, according to the latest Nielsen Global E-commerce and New Retail Report. Despite this, more than half (55%) of Australian consumers say online order and delivery is a service they are willing to use.

 
An even smaller number of consumers are using the “Click & Collect” services that retailers like Coles and Woolworths readily offer for grocery purchases. Just 5% of Australian consumers say they order groceries online and pick them up using a drive-thru service. However, more than half (53%) are willing to use this option in the future.
 
“The Australian landscape and lifestyle is more complex to other markets, with many consumers living a reasonable distance from retail stores and many not being at home to accept grocery deliveries,” said Megan Treston, a Director in Nielsen’s Retail Industry Group. 

“Advances in technology are providing greater flexibility for shoppers, and offers like click and collect and, more recently, bundles to overcome individual delivery fees are introducing new ways to overcome barriers for online grocery shopping. The delivery fee bundling offer is very exciting and we’re watching this space closely.”
 
Nielsen’s Homescan Shopper Panel data shows that online represented 1.9% of all grocery sales in Australia for the year ending 13 June 2015, and growth is substantial; up by 29.3% for the year.  
 
There is a similar trend to growth in online grocery shopping when looking at dollar growth by key department (see below); signaling that online is vital to boosting growth in a relatively stagnant grocery market. The exception to this is Health and Beauty, which is a high involvement category and also faces intense competition from the likes of department stores, pharmacies and other online beauty retailers.
 
Treston says: “The retailers who will win the most of this prize are those that will leverage technology to enhance the existing shopping experience and meet consumers’ evolving desires with a trustworthy service and by offering real convenience. Consumers are ready for it, so retailers should meet that openness to technology.
 
 “As smartphone ownership and usage reaches saturation point in Australia, mobile commerce opportunities will also thrive and contribute to strong growth of digital grocery sales. We recently predicted the online channel will be responsible for over $1 billion of sales growth the industry is likely to see over the next five years, and this research shows an existing appetite that is waiting to be nurtured if consumer needs are accurately met, “said Treston.
 
“Retailers and manufacturers can add value by providing digital tools to help consumers take control of their shopping experience while also increasing sales potential. Mobile in particular can tip the scales in favour of increased shopper control, empowering them to shape the shopping experience more than ever before. Introducing digital strategies into the in-store experience is not just a nice-to-have—these options can increase dwell time, engagement levels, basket size and shopper satisfaction,” she said.