Brakes implements direct to consumer business model in just seven days to address COVID-19 supply shortages

LONDON SAP S.E. today announced that Brakes, a B2B food delivery service and a leading supplier to the food service sector in the UK, launched a new direct-to-consumer platform on the SAP Commerce Cloud in just seven days, enabling it to distribute food packages to UK households.

With the sudden closure of schools, pubs and restaurants due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brakes recognised that in order to support its communities and address the impact on its B2B revenues, it would also need to launch a Direct to Consumer (D2C) e-commerce site, which would support both click and collect and home delivery. Brakes has also become a primary distributor for care packages in the UK, delivering food essentials to vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes to get supplies.

Working with ecommerce specialist partner KPS and its dedicated SAP team, Brakes went live with Direct to Consumer Food Shop providing initially Call & Collect Service as well as a Home Delivery Service built on the SAP Commerce Cloud in just seven days.

With Brakes still delivering food to NHS hospitals and care homes, as well as supporting supermarket efforts to get food into stores, it was hugely important to protect its core wholesale business service and B2B site performance to keep providing food to those organisations. The new consumer site is based on Brakes’ existing B2B solution, which runs from the same code base.

Whilst delivering a new D2C platform, Brakes worked in partnership with Bidfood UK to deliver more than 200,000 care packages each week across the UK and has distributed over 1.5 million care packages to the most vulnerable in the country. The Brakes team also delivered 14,000 products to the staff at the Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel, which was built to support patients with coronavirus in London.

“We’re all acutely aware of the significant challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt to many organisations across the globe,” said Ben Sekhon, Head of SAP Customer Experience, SAP UK & Ireland. “For us at SAP, we have a major role to play in helping our communities get through these difficult times. The Brakes project is an amazing example of a business that was able to completely pivot its strategy from direct to business to direct to consumer in just a week, enabling it to continue its vital role in supporting the most vulnerable. It has been a privilege and hugely exciting to be part of this journey with Brakes and we will continue supporting its efforts providing food to the nation.”

“Just as the UK went into lockdown, our normal kind of business and customers just stopped,” said Justin Mills, Head of Digital Products at Brakes. “We had to think about how we could find a different route to market to bridge that gap and get produce to those that desperately needed it. We had a really good understanding of SAP Commerce Cloud and, working with our partners, we were effectively able to leverage the existing business website and then push out a new website to the consumer marketplace. We didn’t have all the answers, but as you share the problem together you can find the solution.”

Currently Brakes can provide groceries to a radius that includes 6.8 million households in the UK and consumers have access to more than 6,000 Brakes products – including fruit and veg, meat and poultry, bread, milk and much more. Brakes is continuing to expand the new consumer food delivery service to more areas in the UK, whilst supporting its core B2B customers through every phase of the COVID-19 response and recovery to keep staff and customers ‘safe and secure’.

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