Blackburn market traders overwhelmed with online orders

Blackburn Market's traders came together to create an online offering to serve customers during the coronavirus lockdown, and received hundreds of orders within a day of going live.

The traders worked with Blackburn business Square Cactus to launch an ecommerce platform to enable essential food traders able to work and get fresh food out to the public while the market itself is closed.

Greens Butchers, Whittaker’s Butchers, Mayers Fishmongers and Scott Stewart Fruit & Veg stalls began selling online, joining Tom Wood Butchers which has already built a successful online service.

Dave Shorrock from Greens Butchers said: "We launched the system at about 4pm the day after we closed and by 9am the next morning we had hundreds of orders. It was an incredible response from the local community but also a daunting proposition to get so many orders out so quickly.”

In order to get enough products ready, a team of people had to create a production line to make Fruit and Veg Packs and the butchers and fishmongers were under pressure to get enough supplies to complete the orders.

Teams of delivery drivers drove across the borough to get the supplies out, but it took 5 full days, including a Sunday, to get everything that had been ordered in the first 24 hours out to customers. The online order system has temporarily closed to allow traders to process the orders.

It was an incredible response from the local community but also a daunting proposition to get so many orders out so quickly.

Dave added: "It was great to see so much demand for this service and support for our local market. Five traders are still working, taking telephone & web orders and delivering locally. There are plans to bring the online system back as soon as we can. Traders have delivered more than 1,000 orders to customers over the last couple of weeks.”

Councillor Phil Riley, executive member for growth and development at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Markets are at the heart of our towns and have been part of the fresh food supply chain for centuries.

"It is clear there is a massive demand for an online version of the market, and we will be working on solutions over the coming weeks. We have seen the demand and, once we can be sure we can offer a reliable and efficient system, we hope the local community will continue to support this new venture.

"It’s good to see a real positive for our independent market traders and this will help them build a bigger and brighter future, once we start getting back to normal.”

  • For further Lancashire business news, advice and analysis subscribe to Lancashire Business View or join the LBV Hub from just £2.50 per month. Click here to subscribe now.