Healthy snack start-up saves business from crashing after switching to e-commerce during coronavirus pandemic

OLLY's managed to rake an 800 per cent increase in sales since switching to e-commerce

Healthy snack start-up saves business from crashing after switching to e-commerce during coronavirus pandemic

OLLY’s managed torake an 800 per cent increase in sales since switching to e-commerce

Thousands of businesses have faced with devastating impacts due to the coronavirus pandemic which took a massive toll on sales and revenue. However, one business managed to rise above the storm with a quick-thinking approach. London-based start-up OLLY’s managed to save its business from heading towards a downward spiral after making a switch to e-commerce.

After the coronavirus outbreak hit, OLLY’s lost 40% of its monthly revenue overnight as its main source of revenue, such as airlines and rail services, came to a halt. Since making a swift decision to switch to e-commerce, online sales have soared by 800% and OLLY’s has now expanded its portfolio to export to nine countries. The healthy snack start-up is now planning to export to Australia and the US with support from the UK’s Department for International Trade, with its overseas sales accounting for 20% of the company’s annual turnover.

Founder of OLLY’s, Olly Hiscocks, always had a huge love for olives and started his business in his parents’ kitchen three years ago. He wanted to create the world’s first, unpasteurised, olive snack pouch. He quickly went from selling them at Richmond’s Duck Pond Market to supplying major airlines and over 8,000 global stocking points.  

Due to the growing demand for nutritional snacks during the pandemic, Olly expanded his business to include nuts and pretzels. Unfortunately, he was forced to furlough staff to stay afloat and keep his business running. OLLY’S sought advice from the Department for International Trade about sourcing new exporting opportunities to compensate for the loss of business, which led them to dive into e-commerce – and they ended up seeing incredible results with the move.

With no airlines, trains, or pubs to supply our products to, we had a large amount of leftover stock at the start of lockdown, Olly Hiscocks, Founder & Director at OLLY’S said. We knew that we had to find a way to sell this stock to stay afloat, so we decided to ramp up our online store and launch our new range of bulk nut mixes on Amazon. The response was incredible – our monthly online sales are up 800%. We are now focusing on the launch of OLLY’S PRETZEL Thins and continuing to work with the Department for International Trade as we look to maximise our online sales and tap into new markets.

In July, OLLY’S secured a contract with a distributor for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and signed a deal with Middle Eastern supermarket retailer Spinneys. The company is currently expanding into Australia, as well as Wholefoods in the US. In ongoing negotiations with Australia and the US, the Department for International Trade aims to strike comprehensive free trade deals that make it easier for SMEs, such as OLLY’S, to trade with these key markets.

The fantastic success that OLLY’S have enjoyed is a great example of the power of e-commerce and what can be achieved by overcoming barriers and exporting to new markets, Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, said. More trade is essential to our economic recovery from Coronavirus and that’s why we are negotiating a number of free trade agreements that provide exporters with greater opportunities overseas.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a major toll on UK SMEs over the past few months. It is important for businesses to seek out advice and help to navigate this difficult time, and to also adapt to the changing circumstances and find new ways to move ahead to continue thriving despite uncertainty.

Latifa Yedroudj
Latifa Yedroudj

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