December 1, 2021

Agudah of Illinois

How does Agudah of IL create a popup ecommerce grocery store multiple times per year to help their constituents purchase essentials at below wholesale pricing?
Agudah provides social services, support programs, and political advocacy for its constituents at the local, state, and federal levels. As one of its many programs, the Illinois chapter opens a ‘pop-up’ grocery store several times each year that sells products in bulk at discounted prices.
Agudath Israel’s eCommerce grocery website allows customers to order products in multiple ways. Each method requires complex logic on the front and backends. Agudah needed an affordable way to manage its eCommerce sales, inventory, and fulfillment. FastTrackDigital stepped in tohelp them plan and develop a Custom eCommerce Solution at a fraction of the cost of commercially available systems.
Agudah outlined three major eCommerce challenges for Fast Track Digital to tackle:

Enable three different ways to order based on user type.
Develop custom payment logic for post-purchase price adjustments.
Customize features, such as pickup scheduling.
The first challenge was also the most complex. Agudah provides specific shopping features, products, and discounts to various groups within the communities they serve. Customers order online and pick up their groceries a short while later at a mass distribution center.

In the first case, specific customers get access to a limited amount of free grocery staples, some of which have several options or varieties. FTD built a ‘smart’ custom web form for users that tracks orders and quantities and automatically updates inventory numbers to prevent overorders.

The second group, which includes teachers, other school staff, and non-profit employees, uses a special registration code. Agudah’s site verifies their identity against records from their organization. When they log in, this group can shop from an expanded store containing hundreds of products at discounts of 70 to 80% off.

The last group shops in an open-to-all store. In this store, users are allowed to pick their own pricing level. They choose to buy at a discounted wholesale price, or opt for even higher discounts, courtesy of subsidies from Agudath Israel’s support network.

Additionally there are other unique checkout options. Customers may opt to add a donation on top of their checkout price, or they may request an additional discount. This feature allows those who can afford it to help those who may need extra support. Customers may also choose to pay the credit card processing fees, to offset Agudah’s costs.

What Fast Track Digital did that truly sets this project apart, however, is the post-purchase adjusted pricing logic that applies to items with prices based on weight (think produce and meat).

Standard eCommerce payments are unable to be changed by the vendor after purchase. However, for products priced by weight, the price needs to be adjusted post-purchase.

We developed custom functionality that displays the approximate product price and total based on weight and allows for adjustment of prices at delivery time for the actual weighed product pricing. Plus, the custom payment engine allows payment in full or in installments, pending the weights.

Finally, we integrated some custom quality-of-life features to round out Agudah’s platform. Features like a secure system for saving credit card information support faster checkouts. A scheduling software (like Calendly) allows customers to schedule their pickups and stagger delivery times. And Agudah’s back office team also got a host of oversight tools that enable them to see who is picking up what when and to get a jump on repackaging their order.
Fast Track Digital was able to customize Agudah’s system for a fraction of the cost of a commercial-grade eCommerce platform. Now, Agudah’s constituents in Illinois have access to a unique, easy-to-use, community-centric grocery store that saves them time and money on what they need most, and Agudah has a seamless process to make that happen.
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