Buy From the Bush started in October of 2019 when founder, Grace Brennan, saw a need to create a path-to-market for regional, bush businesses devastated by the impact of drought, floods, and bushfires
Buy From The Bush
- Generated more than $9M in revenue for rural small businesses.
- Hosted users from 100 different countries and processed more than 50,000 transactions.
“So many bush businesswomen have told me that online visibility has transformed their hobbies and side hustles into enterprises worthy of investment, especially as the drought, and then COVID- 19 dried up their family’s regular income”
Buy From the Bush started in October of 2019 when founder, Grace Brennan, saw a need to create a path-to-market for regional, bush businesses devastated by the impact of drought, floods, and bushfires. She launched an Instagram account designed to help build stronger connections between bush businesses and Australians in cities and suburbs across the country by showcasing the beautiful items available to buy from rural communities.
Bush businesses were encouraged to use the #buyfromthebush on their social posts which Grace, in turn, used to curate a social media feed highlighting favorite items. The results were instantaneous as shoppers across the nation embraced the opportunity to support these small businesses. Within seven short weeks, the @buyfromthebush account quickly amassed over 130,000 followers on Instagram and saw rural postage numbers increase by 30%.
This presents what business challenge was sought to be resolved by implementing a marketplace strategy
As the awareness of Buy From the Bush grew, the team expanded ways shoppers could find and support local businesses, launching a landing page to create a directory. What was missing was a way to connect customers directly with the merchants in a more robust and full-featured shopping experience. There was also a growing need for onboarding and managing volumes of sellers, many who were new to ecommerce. Challenges the team was looking to overcome included:
- Determining a scalable revenue generation strategy to support Buy From the Bush’s ongoing efforts.
- Lowering the barrier to entry for sellers, many of which are small individual owned businesses in isolated communities with small-batch products and limited ecommerce experience.
- Identifying a solution that would raise the capacity of sellers to deliver and give them more sophisticated promotion tools
- Evolving the user experience and tightening processes around conversions for what works best
Buy From the Bush sees themselves as a marketing platform to celebrate the work of the participating sellers. As such, they viewed a marketplace offering as the critical infrastructure needed around that mission to market for small makers.
Some of the company’s specific marketplace goals included:
Creating a scalable revenue generation channel.
An accelerated build to launch in time for 2020 seasonal holiday sales.
Seller management capabilities: Providing an Interface to sign-up new sellers and get their products live.
Consumer Management capabilities: Provide a shopping experience for consumers.
Identifying Revenue models: Multiple revenue streams that can be implemented such as seller subscriptions and commission.
Also looking for a sweet spot of depth of product but also maintaining curated offering which is what we did so well when we started.
A dedicated seller portal to empower sellers to list and manage their own products, promotions, and storefront pages.
Given Marketplacer’s prominence and reputation in the Australian market, Buy From the Bush knew they could rely on Marketplacer to help them bring their vision to market.
- Consultative Approach: The team had no ecommerce background and relied heavily on the Marketplacer team to help handhold from end-to-end the process for set up and development, including building and designing most pages for launch.
- API-led Integration: Given the range of ecommerce skill sets and varying ecommerce platforms among sellers, it was important to offer an API-led integration as an option.
- Comprehensive Seller Portal and Features: Buy From the Bush had an existing community of merchants and sellers that already had their businesses transformed, some seeing 10x revenue growth. With shopper interest growing it demonstrated an opportunity to have an even greater impact. As such, it was a priority to help as many sellers as possible onboard for launch. Also of critical need were key marketplace capabilities such as: Global seller payout; Multi-Vendor shopping cart and checkout functionality; platform design and customization; advertising, listing and customization: and was fully-hosted.
So many bush businesswomen have told me that online visibility has transformed their hobbies and side hustles into enterprises worthy of investment, especially as the drought, and then COVID- 19 dried up their family’s regular income”
The Buy From the Bush marketplace went live October 2020 with 100 businesses and 1,000 products, and expanded to 260 businesses within the first year. Among the sellers, 97 % of the businesses are run by women, many of whom have expanded their businesses, employed locals, learned new skills, and secured valuable off-farm income.
Additional notable results include:
BFTB has morphed into a successful purpose-driven business with more than 550,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram, generating more than $9M in revenue for rural small businesses.
1,200 rural small businesses have applied to sell on the Marketplace
The website has hosted users from 100 different countries and processed more than 50,000 transactions.
Creating a successful corporate gifting program that enabled organizations to “gift with impact” encouraging employees in New Zealand and SE ASIA to shop with Buy From the Bush sellers.
Sue Heward’s family own an orchard and her business Singing Magpie Produce (a gourmet food business) was due to expand manufacturing capabilities in 2021. However in late 2020, Sue was diagnosed with cancer and put these plans on hold, until she discovered during recovery that working in her business part-time was a mental reprieve from her treatment. The Buy From the Bush Marketplace continued to help drive online sales which now makes up 80% of her total revenue. This allowed Sue to hire three extra people to continue to grow and had a profound local impact by becoming a major buyer of premium quality Riverland produce, processing over 5 tonnes of local produce in 2021 to keep up with online demand. Her supply chain consists of other local businesses such as fruit pickers, transport services and packaging goods, so the success of Sue’s business is collectively shared with other regional businesses.