Farmstead is an online grocer which allows consumers to order and have delivered locally-sourced groceries right to their doorstep, including free delivery. Its based only in the Bay Area in San Francisco in the USA, and has been struggling to keep up with demand after the sudden outbreak of coronavirus. According to their CEO and Co-founder Pradeep Elankumaran, before coronavirus hit hard the company experienced, at best, 10 to 12% growth each week. After the initial outbreak this increased to 40%, then the following week 50% and in the third week they are now experiencing a whopping 70% growth rate of orders.
Farmstead embraces AI-powered inventory management tools, building microhub distribution centers in areas and using algorithms to ensure each one has got enough stock. This way they make sure that each center has enough stock to meet demands, but not too much that any food would go to waste. While most companies are floundering because of the virus, this online-based company is flourishing. Due to this sudden growth in demand, Farmstead is doubling its workers and delivery drivers.CEO Elankumaran assures that thanks to this technology, they have been able to efficiently meet new consumer demands. He puts this down to two main parameters that go into his algorithms:
- When you place an order you don’t know if an item is out of stock until you click on it, this may be annoying for the user, but it offers farmstead the chance to see what consumers really want and gives them special insight into the food they should be offering more of.
- The sell-by-date for every product they offer is listed, so they know how long each item will last and can prioritize distribution more efficiently.
Farmstead hasn’t only been benefiting from the COVID-19 however, like other online and offline grocers it experienced a shortage of non-perishable goods in under a week, like pasta for example. It’s also experiencing a much higher demand in the delivery of fruits and vegetables, which typically did not happen before. Elankumaran explained that people prefer to come to the store in person to pick out their fruits and vegetables, to ensure they get the ripest, juiciest of the lot. Thankfully Farmstead doesn’t have any physical stores, only warehouses where the only people touching the products are the workers, who are taking major health and safety precautions since corona hit the US.
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