Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Gireesh Sahukar, vice president of digital, Dawn Foods, Jackson, MI, about Dawn's new eCommerce site.


Liz Parker: How did Dawn Foods undergo a digital transformation for its eCommerce site?

Gireesh Sahukar: At Dawn, being a good partner to our customers is at the forefront of everything we do. With that, we started with considering how to approach our new eCommerce solution given a few important observations. Those were:

  1. Bakers are incredibly busy and engage in physically demanding work for long hours. Available 24/7, bakers needed an eCommerce solution that will help them save time and simplify their lives.
  2. The digital landscape is moving more towards APIs, and thus, we needed adopt an API-led architecture in line with the ecosystem. This would enable Dawn Foods to be more in control of our own roadmap.
  3. With eCommerce, our sales reps can have time back to focus on what matters most: building connections with customers.

With those things in mind, we made the decision to build our own front-end and ensure it could work seamlessly with the back-end tools in our stack. This is reflective of a growing number of companies that are leveraging API-led tools to build a composable architecture of best-fit solutions. This type of plug-and-play solution is enabled by the rise of MACH principles (Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless) in software design.

To break it down a bit, this approach entails working with smaller solutions that seamlessly integrate with one another. They work together and function as a single unit, yet each part is interchangeable. That makes it easy to replace something if, for example, requirements have changed or a component isn't performing.

Having a MACH architecture enabled us to go from a two-person project team at the beginning of January 2020 to a fully launched eCommerce solution by July 2020.


LP: How has the tech transformation increased sales?

GS: In less than a year's time since we launched our new eCommerce solution, our organization has evolved from a sales-rep-led ordering process to a self-service platform that customers have access to 24/7, 365 days a year. Customers have the benefit of seeing their order history and invoice management in a single place, as well as being able to more easily explore our entire product catalog, encompassing more than 10,000 products.

I've even heard from some long-time customers who said they'd previously been buying some products from other companies simply because they didn't realize Dawn Foods carried it even though we had it all along. Offering them the visibility to full product catalog drives this type of discovery and incremental growth.


LP: How is the customer experience now different?

GS: This has been a big, but natural, step for us in adapting as a business to better meet the needs of our customers. Dawn Foods has always been seen as an innovator in the bakery ingredients space. We're proud of our track record of knowing where the industry needs to go and helping to get it there. The new site helps us match our superior product innovation with superior customer service and experience. Buyers can browse, compare, order and re-order online with ease at any time. It puts more control in a baker’s hands versus needing to handle orders with a sales rep, which also saves them time. Generally speaking, the new site better adheres to the way we know our customers want to shop and has essentially consumerized the process.


LP: Anything else new tech-wise for Dawn this year or the next?

GS: While I can’t mention specifics, what I can say is that Dawn is constantly listening to feedback from our customers and implementing new ways to better meet their needs, whether that’s through new technology, products or insights. Technology is indeed a big piece of that continuous improvement mission to best exceed customer expectations.