The Blue Tokai Coffee Roasters started a few years ago to meet (and create) the demand for freshly-roasted artisanal coffee beans. They source coffee beans locally from some of the finest growers of Arabica in the country and their roasts keep us awake at work, day in and day out. We were very excited when they approached us to improve their website.
As with most of our projects, we started by working with the clients to clearly identify the issues they were facing with their then WordPress-powered web store, and also achieve a holistic understanding of their process of fulfilling orders. The exercise prepped us for eliminating their pain points and figuring out faster and more efficient ways of doing things.
Keeping the project constraints in mind, we suggested transitioning the web store over to Shopify. This move greatly simplified the task of managing the online store and also allowed us to make minor tweaks on the storefront to keep the customers better informed about Blue Tokai’s roasting and delivery cycles. Furthermore, through its APIs, Shopify enabled us to tailor-make an order manager that automates and streamlines various routine activities — receiving orders, batching orders for roast days, handling shipping and tracking details and managing periodic subscription orders — allowing them more time to focus on their products.
The order manager is a web application written in PHP and built on the lightweight Fat Free Framework. It interfaces with the Shopify APIs to manage the custom storefront features, automatically create invoices for each order on QuickBooks Online (through the QuickBooks API) and implement appropriate interventions that assist various stages of order processing. These include: printing their universally loved “specially packed for” labels, calculating batches for coffee roasting, grinding the coffee and packing them, to name a few. At the other end the application interfaces with FedEx Shipping Services API and Blue Dart Shipping API and generates shipping labels for the shipments. Once the orders ship out, the application sends out a confirmation email to the customer and updates the order status back on Shopify.
As lovers of good coffee ourselves, we are happy to have played a small part in helping coffee roasters deliver speciality coffee beans.