The problem with making any speciality product is that customers can have difficulty finding it. Wilkin & Sons has been jam-making for 115 years and its Tiptree brand is available at major food multiples such as Waitrose, speciality stores such as Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason and smaller delicatessens. But now the company has gone online (www.tiptree.com) any customer anywhere can find out who their local stockist is. And with its new linked online hamper ordering site, they can even buy it direct.
'It started as a flag-waving exercise,' says sales director Ian Thurgood.
It made the company's products more visible and attracted overseas trade.
Potential customers can do their initial homework from the site, which means that if they then approach Wilkin & Sons, they are more likely to order.
The site, designed by Crown New Media, is attracting around 7,000 hits a month and combines basic information about the company and its products with, for example, a glossary of fruits. It is also a useful noticeboard for keeping the jam-maker's trade customers informed of new products, pricing or even just good ideas. 'The site gives us the opportunity to jot things down,' says Thurgood. 'It's an information-sharing forum for distributors.'