With many locked-down families turning to bakery, this traditional bricks-and-mortar firm jumped to the Cloud to ensure supply lines remained intact.

How does a regional supplier and retailer of cookery supplies weather a global pandemic when its bricks-and-mortar sales have been its main mode of business?

The well-known answer is of course: digital transformation. This is what Phoon Huat, a baking ingredients and equipment supplier in South-east Asia, did in early 2020.

Amid the pandemic, the firm accelerated the launch of its online shop in order to allow customers to continue to access baking and cookery supplies during the numerous stages of lockdown.

With an offering of more than 7,500 products ranging from bakery supplies to international gourmet brands, the firm pivoted to e-commerce with an aim to differentiate itself with affordable pricing and its own exclusive house brand RedMan. Its earlier website, built in 2018, was not geared for the scale of the pivot, so some digital transformation was in order.

Selling in the Cloud

Recognizing the need for a scalable and sustainable platform to support its pivoting and expansion, the firm chose to work with Salesforce to relaunch its RedManShop e-commerce website.

By doing so, the firm has empowered its employees to deliver an end-to-end digital customer journey across sales and customer support. Cookery enthusiasts of all levels of skill can now expect a one-stop solution for not only merchandise, but also a menu of related content such as recipes, training courses and an improved shopping experience that includes:

  • A search engine that to scour the large product range and content faster and easier 
  • A mobile friendly user interface
  • Personalized shopping experience powered by machine learning
  • Item delivery tracking through email and order-status updates via the website

With a wider outreach due to its enhanced e-commerce presence in the region, the firm also used Salesforce to create a digital omni-channel approach to boost customer engagement. To improve data connectivity across its disparate branch offices and applications, MuleSoft was engaged to create a seamless experience across its e-commerce platform and empowering employees to integrate data and innovate at scale.

Said Shuichi Sato, CEO, Phoon Huat Pte Ltd: “We are committed to delivering a better online shopping experience for our customers. Besides investing in a new software platform, we have also expanded our digital transformation team, improved our warehouse layout and procedures, and invested in our logistics fleet.”

Cecily Ng, AVP and GM, Salesforce Singapore, said: “The pandemic has presented businesses such as Phoon Huat with the opportunity to reinvent themselves and capture more customers — a great example of technology’s transformational power, beyond helping businesses to cope with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.”