Sonoma: Get it while it's hot
Re-launching an icon, and bringing your favourite bakery treats direct to your door.
Australia’s beloved Sonoma bakery, with its proud heritage dating back to a tiny village called Bellata in regional NSW, was undergoing a brand evolution. Founder Andrew Connole had travelled the world in pursuit of making the world’s best bread, and Sonoma needed to refresh the existing brand and website to better reflect its global ambitions and standards of quality. However, a Covid pivot meant we shifted our focus to solve a very real problem - with lockdowns across NSW, how do we get Sonoma products in the hands of those outside of our retail footprint?
User research User experienceUI designFullstack development
Sonoma had not had a new website for several years, and the plan had been to overhaul it in line with the new brand identity being developed by M35. Like most plans in 2021 however, Covid restrictions in NSW (home to eight of the nine Sonoma retail stores) meant a new challenge had arisen.
With people locked down to a 5km radius of their home, and those who had been in contact with the dreaded virus under stay at home quarantine orders, many were missing their regular Sonoma fix.
So the original brief for a content site with eComm available for selected shelf-stable products evolved into much more - how could we now enable the site to seamlessly deliver hot, freshly baked goods direct to people’s doors?
Our research with bread aficionados was fascinating, and revealed just how passionate people are about this everyday staple.
We found that during Covid, people were ‘treating’ themselves more, enjoying a higher quality loaf at home - life is worth getting the good stuff daily when your world is restricted.
People were passionate when recounting their favourite ‘bread’ story (yes, everyone had one they remembered vividly!), which often played on the aromas. Our task was to showcase the bread in a way that brings those memories to the forefront.
The photography by Buffet is evocative and focuses on the hands-on, artisan nature of the product, and the mouth-watering finished loaves.
The website design takes cues from Sonoma’s new branding - it’s minimal yet still warm, with nods to the brand’s heritage through subtle mono type accents revealing Sonoma’s genesis.
Sonoma is proudly Australian and made by hand, crafting a beautiful product through use of just a few ingredients. The design continues this concept, with a minimal typographic approach, use of large swathes of negative space and large photography to let the bread become the hero of Sonoma’s story.
Give us our daily bread
Knowing our target audience were treating themselves more frequently in lockdown, we developed a subscription model to provide regular deliveries of staples such as bread, coffee, and the much-loved Sonoma granola.
Integrating with the existing Click & Collect system, Bopple, people living close to a store were still able to enjoy contactless pick up, and for those further away, delivery windows were broken down into blocks of 2 hours so that hungry Sonoma customers could choose ASAP delivery, or pre-order for the coming days.
All orders were to be processed through Sonoma HQ in Alexandria, with their POS the source of truth for all online purchases. Key to the pilot was that the deliveries would all be handled by Sonoma’s own vans - to ensure service with a smile and streamline operations.
Test and learn
With nine retail stores across the state, the Alexandria HQ pilot was rolled out first, with a surprising uptake in its first weeks, despite zero promotion, and purely through discoverability on the new site.
Understanding the demand, product mix and logistics, we’ll then open up the other eight stores and Sonoma vans will criss-cross NSW, ferrying hot loaves and bakery treats to hungry crowds!
In its first two weeks, the new site enjoyed:
- 456% increase in basket size than for dine-in customers
- 19% conversion rate
- Cultured butter croissants and Portugese tarts topped the list as most ordered products
- A corporate order for 200 croissants snuck through without any marketing to drive it
The agility of Sonoma to be able to pivot their online offering and bakery operations has served to speed up a feature roadmapped for the future, and drive a new revenue stream which offers customers real convenience.