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Success Is Sweet For Lammes Candies After Bringing 135-Year-Old Business Online


8%13.25%6%
increase in revenueYoY increase in peak season conversion ratesincrease in site traffic


Metrics reflect organic results since launching BigCommerce store in December 2018, and are all attributable to improved SEO and customer experiences.

Historic Confectionary Company Looks to Expand Reach

What’s the secret to a successful online candy company? Don’t let the chocolate melt.

This was a lesson that Lammes Candies learned quickly when it was founded in the heat of Austin, TX in 1885. Lammes is a fifth-generation family-owned business and a legendary Austin institution. Lammes sells confectionary products including chocolates and its renowned Texas Chewie® Pecan Pralines — a secret recipe that hasn’t been changed since 1892. The company generates 50% of its sales through wholesale and 50% from consumer sales, which includes five brick-and-mortar retail locations in Austin in addition to mail order and online sales through BigCommerce (more on that later). 

Ecommerce and Mail Order Manager Lauren Cevallos’ department made its debut in the 1920s. Soldiers stationed near Austin had fallen in love with the company’s pralines and began enthusiastically sending them to friends and family around the world. This word-of-mouth spread quickly, causing a huge demand of national customers hungry to try the Texas Chewie® Pecan Pralines.

People mailed in their gift lists, requesting pralines be sent across the country, and the mail order business took off from there.

Business was running smoothly, so much so that the company had no real need to change strategy — that is, until the advent of the internet. The Lammes team saw its early potential and was quick to dip their toes in ecommerce. In the 1990s, they launched a static catalogue site with product photos and a phone number to place orders through the mail order team. They worked with a local development partner to build a robust order management system customised to their existing workflow. This homegrown system worked for Lammes for nearly two decades, but as ecommerce and the customer demand for online orders grew significantly, the company sensed a need for change.

An increasing number of candy companies were entering the market, and competition was on the rise. Suddenly, relevancy and a real, dynamic online presence became a huge concern for Lammes. The company realised its legacy system, while robust and perfectly customised to its previous needs, wasn't scalable or secure for powering a modern online business.

From One Austin-Based Company to Another

As told to BigCommerce by Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager.

We were spread pretty thin and had limited resources, but we wanted to compete, make things happen, and grow, so we looked for an ecommerce platform that could help. We knew that BigCommerce had a history of working with small businesses, in addition to enterprise and mid-market businesses, so the company understood the very nuanced challenges that would come with our business. The BigCommerce team has extensive experience working with customers like Lammes, who wear many hats and do a million things at once. BigCommerce’s willingness to work with us, understand us and to empathise with us has been one of the most important factors in our decision to develop our online store on BigCommerce.

One of the refreshing things about BigCommerce is that it’s local. We're a Texas company — we love being from Austin and we're really proud of that. We’ve met a majority of the team who knows about Lammes — they are extremely passionate and caring, and we really feed off of that energy, which further solidified our confidence in BigCommerce.

What really made us decide on BigCommerce was the ability to keep the integrity of our old system while still modernising it, the company’s large ecosystem of expert partners, and the fact that BigCommerce is local and truly cares about customer success in a way that I personally had not experienced with other platforms.


Lammes Turns It Up With Fahrenheit Marketing

As told to BigCommerce by Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager.

When we were considering a new platform, the partner ecosystem was very important because we didn't want to find ourselves stranded on our own island. We knew site development was going to be tricky because we were anticipating lots of customisations, and there was a very small network of partners who could actually work with us and our code. We wanted to be with a network that would really stick with us and that we could rely on.

Then we found Fahrenheit Marketing which, to our delight, was local to Austin as well. Fahrenheit is absolutely phenomenal. It has allowed us to take what was important about our old workflows and incorporate them into our new custom solution. The combination of Fahrenheit and BigCommerce has been instrumental in helping us create a custom recipient-centric experience while sticking to our origins. The Fahrenheit team built a new custom call center application and helped us integrate it using BigCommerce APIs, which is central to our business. The result was a modern and sleek solution that fits our niche requirements.

On top of that, Fahrenheit supported us through various technical discussions with BigCommerce regarding system architectures and optimising our online store. As a team, we went over all of the business rules, technical requirements, timelines, and everything else needed to launch our store. We had a good faith feeling that with the BigCommerce API, we’d have the workflow we needed to be successful, and Fahrenheit knocked it out of the park.

"BigCommerce truly cares about customer success in a way that I personally had not experienced with other platforms."Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager

Multi-Recipient Capabilities and Efficient Shipping Saves Lammes Time and Resources

As told to BigCommerce by Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager.

Often we’ll have one customer — usually ordering for a corporate gifting program — who wants to send gifts to a thousand different recipients, literally. Instead of placing a thousand unique orders, it’s a better customer experience if we can simply route different items to individual addresses. One of the biggest challenges in selecting an ecommerce solution was finding one that had multi-recipient capabilities, and that's native to BigCommerce. There are so many other gifting companies that do the same thing we do, and while other platforms are starting to pick up on that demand, we liked that BigCommerce already had the functionality built in.

Shipping perishables is also a challenge, especially during the hot Texas summers. Before, we essentially had to make all perishables unavailable for purchase on the website, with a little message that read, “Hey, it’s hot outside. Please call us.” Our team would have to make calls and have lengthy discussions with less-than-pleased customers. We also sometimes had orders set to go UPS Ground, but needed to be delivered in two days or they would melt, which resulted in more time-consuming follow-ups with customers.

We don't have to think about that anymore, as we rely on Shipper HQ — also Austin-based — and this makes the process so much easier. During the hot summers, I set up specific shipping rules using ShipperHQ to offer certain options to our customers, and it’s all executed for us on the backend. For example, if a customer orders a chocolate item or anything that could melt, and it's going to need more than two days to ship, Shipper HQ will automatically retrieve UPS second-day shipping for our customers, helping to minimise any delays or blockers. 

We also use ShipStation, yet another Austin-based partner that easily integrates into BigCommerce. It allows us to process all of our order shipments in one place and feeds the tracking and shipment information back to our platform. It also helps keep our customers updated by sending them shipping and tracking notifications.



"One of the biggest challenges in selecting an ecommerce solution was finding one that had multi-recipient capabilities, and that's native to BigCommerce."Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager

The BigCommerce team has extensive experience working with customers like Lammes, who wear many hats and do a million things at once. [Their] willingness to work with us, understand us and to empathise with us has been one of the most important factors in our decision to develop our online store on BigCommerce.Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager
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Maximising Efficiency With BigCommerce

As told to BigCommerce by Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager.

Probably the most noticeable change for Lammes this past year has been the morale of the call center team. Previously, I would say things were kind of chaotic, due in part to new systems and having to do so much manual work. There could be a customer sending 200 packages, which with our old system, would have needed to be entered manually. Now, we have a bulk upload feature in our call center that Fahrenheit helped develop, so it's just a matter of importing a mailing list into our call center, and the orders are created. That has been such a game changer – it minimises errors and saves us so much time. What might've taken two days now takes only 30 minutes.

Before BigCommerce, all of our focus was spent on processing. Now we’re entering a new phase where we can focus less on the manual work of putting orders in the system, and more on optimisation, reaching new customers, and exploring different marketing opportunities. This coming year, we’d love to double our volume, and it’s looking good because we’re finally on a stable platform.

It’s a new mindset for us to be thinking about actual front-end ecommerce sales and what it takes to grab someone's attention. There are endless options to buy confections online, not to mention that people’s attention spans are so much shorter today. We’re very fortunate to have as solid a platform as BigCommerce to help us connect with existing customers and attract new ones.

In 2020, one of our goals is rewarding loyal Lammes customers. We’re considering loyalty programs and integrating social proof features on our site that highlight user-generated photos and reviews. We have amazing customers, and we want to be able to show them off by bringing the positive feedback we hear every single day over the phone online.


Customer-Centric, Ecommerce Focused

As told to BigCommerce by Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager.

Some of our customers have been shopping with Lammes for over 70 years, so we maintain our strong roots in catalog and mail order to continue serving them the way they’re used to. But more and more, we’re moving towards ecommerce because of its efficiency and unprecedented ability to reach new customers around the world.

Now that we're on BigCommerce and working with Fahrenheit, I feel like I can really do my job. I was hired to scale Lammes, to increase ecommerce sales, and grow direct-to-consumer orders, and I didn't feel like I could do that before. With this partnership, we've launched a really great site and call center application. Now, our team can finally focus more on brand building and awareness so that Lammes Candies can continue to thrive and be the strongest it's ever been.

"This coming year, we’d love to double our volume, and it’s looking good because we’re finally on a stable platform."Lauren Cevallos, Lammes Candies Ecommerce & Mail Order Manager

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