April 3, 2020
Island Creek Oysters: Growing E-Commerce with FedEx

Island Creek Oysters: Growing E-Commerce with FedEx

>>Chris: So we sell a lot of
things here at Island Creek, lobsters, blood clams, razor clams. But no matter how much we grow and how
many of the crazy things that we end up doing, it always comes
back to the product itself, the oysters out here in Duxbury Bay. One of the great things about the
way we do things here in Duxbury is that we actually plant the oysters
directly in the mud on the bottom. Ninety-nine percent of the farms in
this part of the country will grow them in some sort of protective
gear for most of their life. But living that rough and tumble
lifestyle in the mud of Duxbury Bay year around gives them a tremendously
complex flavor. It gives them a strong shell
and a nice toothy texture, but it also complements the intense
saltiness of Duxbury Bay water with a sweet, buttery finish that kind
of results in boundless complexity, and that complexity is what makes an
Island Creek a unique oyster among the many that are out there now.>>We sell about eight million
oysters out of Duxbury Bay each year and the problem with the traditional
model of seafood distribution is that there’s many wholesalers involved between the producer
and the end consumer. That does two things: one, it
prevents the flow of information and of profit between the two. It also elongates the amount of time
it takes from harvest to your table, which has a big impact on freshness. FedEx helped us solve
both of those problems. We’ve decided to cut out those
wholesalers and what we’ve found is, not only were we able to access the
chefs a lot more easily with our direct to chef business, but we were also
able to increase the freshness that you as the consumer at those
restaurants were getting. From there, the next logical step was,
how do we get closer to the consumer? And it was to deliver
directly to the home chef. The e-commerce piece of our
business is still a small percentage of our overall sales, but it’s
the fastest growing sales channel that we have. On the e-commerce side of things, we
have an integrated marketing strategy. We do a whole bunch of different
things to try to reach our customers. We go around to big events all around
the country, whether they’re food events or music events, to actually
interact directly with people. We also have a big online presence, so
not only are we doing paid advertising, but we do a lot of content production
to engage with our customers across social media channels. And the hope is that eventually, they’ll
be interested enough that they order on the website, whether it’s for
oysters or lobsters or gifts for people, like knives and shucking
towels and things like that.>>When it came time to integrate FedEx
shipping functionality into our website, we reached out and contacted
our FedEx rep and within a few days,
everything was all set. The seamlessness of that functionality
from the customer standpoint is key. We don’t want to have a clunky
web experience, and we’ve found that people are really happy about the
actual functionality of the website. We don’t sell oysters to people for
Wednesday night dinner with the kids. It’s about events, important events
in people’s lives, for birthdays and anniversaries and holidays. They’re a social food, they bring people
together in a way that few foods can. The flipside of that from our
perspectives is that it’s very important that we get the oysters there, fresh and
on time and so FedEx is a great solution to help us meet that challenge from our
customers and deliver what we promise.

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