Leeds dealer YCE Catering Equipment is branching into the world of ecommerce with its first dedicated website featuring a handpicked selection of kit from its portfolio.
YCE has gone live with a site called BusyChef.co.uk ahead of a formal launch in early 2014. The site has already taken its first order, the company confirmed this week.
Although YCE has always had its own website, it only showcased the services it offers rather than providing a channel through which customers can purchase items of kitchen equipment.
The company intimated earlier this year that it harboured plans to add an ecommerce string to its bow, but said at the time that it was unlikely anything would happen for at least a couple of years.
However, YCE director Lyndon Moorby confirmed those plans had accelerated somewhat.
“Like many other companies in our sector we’ve begun to look outside the box as far as our core customer base is concerned, so we’ve started working in sectors we’ve not previously worked in,” he explained. “Alongside this, we’ve been developing the ecommerce site with a view to launch at the beginning of 2014. We’ve arrived ahead of schedule so it made sense to have a ‘soft launch’ now and then push sales through 2014 once the site is more established and recognised.”
Moorby said the site had required a “fairly substantial” investment from the company, but it felt the long-term payback warranted the financial commitment. “We have someone dedicated to the site full time and, of course, we have the back-up of our infrastructure at YCE, so resources aren’t a problem,” he said.
The focus now is on populating the site so that it features a comprehensive range of equipment and manufacturers.
“It’s not an online replica of our catalogue as we’ve been selective on what products we’ve added initially, but in time there will be an even more comprehensive list of products available,” said Moorby.
“As far as the site is concerned, it’s been constructed in such a way that it’s computer-friendly and, more importantly, mobile friendly. It’s easy to navigate, it’s clear and you can search both via product and by manufacturer. We felt that all these things were important for the ‘busy chef’ who decided at the end of a shift that his fryer or cooker needs replacing.”