The Instagram logo

Blueprint for online success

What did Organico do to deserve the top prize for digital marketing in the Health Stores Ireland/Better Retailing Magazine retailer awards?

Rachel Dare owns Organico, Bantry, with her sister Hannah

When we set out to revamp our online presence, our goal was to build a stronger community online.

The physical location of Organico had grown extensively since our dad had opened the shop over 25 years ago. We had added a whole foods café and real bread bakery, and we had undertaken a huge refurbishment of the entire premises. Within that space, a vibrant community of people had emerged, engaged in living healthier, more thoughtful lives. And loads of people were approaching us with questions about natural living, or suggestions for stock we should bring in and events we should host.

But nothing of that community or that constant interaction with our customers was represented through our online presence.

We knew that getting our online identity right and growing our online community would take a lot of time and effort. Just figuring out all the different tech and platforms would be a daunting task, and that’s before we were even ready to start coming up with content ideas.

So to smooth the process, we reached out to BLAM, a boutique agency that focuses on websites and digital marketing for Irish food businesses. By working closely with them, we’ve achieved a massive growth in our online community.

For over a year now, we’ve been able to publish four new blog posts each month covering various topics aligned with our values as a company – these include original recipes as well as educational pieces on natural health and environmental issues. We’ve emailed two newsletters each month and we hit a milestone when our list reached 2,000 subscribers, and that number is consistently growing.

Our Facebook presence has taken off: we regularly update our page with news from our café, bakery, shop and online shop and we see strong engagement levels. Since starting with the new digital strategy a little over a year ago, we’ve doubled our page likes — we’re just about to hit 11,000.

One of the major perks for us is the opportunity to see people’s immediate reaction to our news. For instance, whenever we post something about going zero waste — whether it’s news about our Zero-Waste Refill Station or our new Zero-Waste Starter Pack hampers for home and body — we get loads of positive feedback and engagement.

All those comments, reactions, and shares help us to get to know our community members and learn what they’re looking for. To see all the support, questions and encouragement gathered in one spot emphasises our community’s interest in certain topics. So we end up focusing on issues that we may not have noticed as much if we were only talking to customers individually in the shop or café.

Our online community has been brilliant throughout the ‘Stop this VAT’ campaign. As soon as Hannah mentioned the petition on Facebook during the Spring, loads of our followers engaged with it and shared the post.

This autumn, Hannah released a video on Facebook, again outlining the issues with the proposed VAT increase and asking people to sign the petition. The video received a breathtaking number of shares and comments from people saying they had signed. There is no way we could have motivated so many people to act if we didn’t have a strong online community.

Overall, our digital strategy has helped us to imbue our online presence with the same energy, values and ‘feel’ that mark our physical location in Bantry. Most importantly, it’s allowed us to establish meaningful connections and avenues of communication with people all over Ireland.

The Organico community is now a lot bigger than the people we see in Bantry!

How Organico announced this year’s triumphs online

Organico wins awards and EI funding! And we want to thank YOU!

“We’ve had lots of exciting news lately at Organico! Awards and a funding scheme have come through for us in the last two months, and we want to fill you in on all the details!

To support their efforts, Organico was recently awarded funding from Enterprise Ireland as part of an Online Retail Scheme. Organico is one of 29 retailers across the country to receive the funding this year, and one of 40 retailers total who are benefiting from the scheme. The scheme grants successful applicants funds ranging from €10,000 to €25,000 to help them remain competitive in a constantly changing business environment.

More to celebrate

But the recent successes don’t stop there! In August of this year, Organico received an award for eco-friendliness from Junior Chamber International (JCI) Cork as part of the Friendly Business Awards. The Friendly Business Awards recognise and encourage the small to medium local businesses that excel in providing customer service and improving the community.

In September, Organico was awarded Best in Digital Marketing by Better Retailing Magazine and Health Stores Ireland. Hannah and Rachel were presented the award during a ceremony at this year’s Vitality Expo in Dublin, Ireland’s largest natural health and wellbeing show that brings together experts in health and nutrition during two days of talks, demonstrations, and exhibitions open to the public.

We can’t thank you enough

Of course, none of this would be possible without your support. Hannah and Rachel have always considered the Organico community, both in West Cork and online, the heartbeat of the business. It’s the community that makes the achievements possible, and fills the journey with purpose and joy.”

The steps Organico took to win over the Retailer Awards judges

Firstly, Organico launched a refill station with over 50 mainly organic dry goods and a range of home cleaning products, together with oils, vinegars, teas, and coffee. This immediately provided a hot topic to shout about online – doing away with plastic wrapped foods and offering customers a chance to purchase not only organic fruit & veg, artisan breads and organic cheeses without packaging, but also basic staples and cleaning products.

To accommodate this, Organico bought additional retail space and undertook massive refurbishments, and also invested in gravity bins for decanting goods plus label-printing equipment to facilitate the sale of everything by weight. The effects of this new development are being felt throughout the business, attracting new customers, hosting talks and workshops around Zero Waste and examining even more deeply the ways Organico can reduce the business’s carbon footprint. And inspire staff and customers to do the same.

At the same time, the website was revamped to provide a fresh new look that reflects the vibrancy of the company’s vision and principles. Regular blog posts cover various topics aligned with these values including original recipes as well as educational pieces on natural health and environmental issues.

Where to find Organico online:
Facebook: organicocafeshopbakery
Twitter: organicobantry

Read more articles from our latest issue...