Now that the weather is getting better, the barbeques come back into play. That is why we thought it would be fun to interview one of our first customers Beef & Steak. Ordering meat online. I know what you’re thinking, is that possible? Most definitely, and Beef & Steak has been doing this, very successfully, since December 2008.
It all started in an old barn that they converted into a product location, with cooling and freezing facilities. “Back then we still had a “hobby” web shop that was made in Wordpress, but soon we realized that our idea had more potential.” says Jan Faber. Van der Pijl and Faber, who own Beef & Steak, have known each other since college. Together they developed a plan to sell meat through the internet, mainly in The Netherlands, but also in Belgium and Germany. In The Netherlands is the online meat sale not very popular yet, but it is in the US (Omaha Steaks) and the UK (Donald Russell)."We expected that Ahold, with the introduction of albert.nl, would boost the market, but a lot of Dutch people are still a bit apprehensive about buying their meat online". Thanks to a recommendation of a friend, they ended up at SEOshop and converted their Wordpress web shop into a shop with SEOshop.
Sending the meat through PostNL
Beef & Steak buys her meat overseas and sells it in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany. If the customer places an order before 5PM, it will be delivered the next day. “There a butcher chains, supermarkets and independent butchers”, lists Faber. “It is no use to go and try to compete with them, selling your premium cuts, that is why we decided to sell our products online. We mainly supply to individuals and also to the hospitality and catering industry. We focus on customers that order large quantities, because when you order small amounts, the shipping and packaging costs would be too high", says Faber."Our packaging consists of a combination of a number of cooling and isolation techniques. We use an EPS box with a PE bag that provides a very hygienic way of packaging. All the products in the box are, individually or by weight, vacuum sealed and stickered. Than we also add Techni-Ice. This ice gradually releases the cold and therefor keeps products on temperature for up to 2 or 3 days,” adds Van der Pijl.
"When you are shipping the meat, it is obviously not a good idea to leave it for a couple of days. That is why it is extremely important to have a very clear agreement with the organization that’s sending your products.” says Faber."PostNL understood this and the corporation with them has been very satisfying. Beef & Steak is unique in The Netherlands, although there are butchers that sell their meat online as well – “Slagerij de Leeuw”, for example is also a customer of SEOshop. Beef & Steak has two competitors in Germany.
Beef & Steak is very actively marketing their product. Many of their buyers are returning customers and because of this Beef & Steak uses their loyal customer base to their full advantage. After four orders, the customer becomes a 'Gold Member', which means that they can get additional offers, attend special meetings, get a discount and can make use of the chargeback option."In the back office we can mark a customer as a business customer and enter the business name as Gold Member. This way we can immediately see if a customer is able to add the order to his account", explains Van der Pijl. Aside from that, Beef & Steak has been featured in virtually all man-magazines; Playboy, Revu, Panorama and many more."I know the former editor-in-chief of Playboy Magazine, so that was arranged quickly", says Faber smiling."Many of our customers are men, so we also take this into account in regards to marketing". Beef and steak also organizes barbeque workshops for Gold Members and anybody that might be interested. Participants can learn everything about meat, and how to prepare it, at 'Butcher Boys Bootcamp'. They learn, for example, how to grill a T-bone steak. Beef and Steak also sponsors several events such as the Tony Stone Low&Slow BBQ Competition."Of course we are also active with AdWords, we have a Facebook page, a newsletter and we have a Twitter contest every Friday”. We will have to see if a massive amount of Dutch people will be going to order their barbeque meat online this summer. But Faber is optimistic. “A few years ago people were even apprehensive about buying plane tickets online. As this concept is very popular in the US, we expect it to take off in our country as well”.