• Give us the elevator pitch.
Parson’s Nose is a quality London butcher that prides itself on its “passion for food, innovation and service” which was founded in 2007. It’s led by husband and wife team, Serena and Tony Hindhaugh and supported by a passionate and knowledgeable team of butchers. They have three stores in South Kensington, Fulham and Putney as well as busy online store delivering the finest free-range meat, sustainably caught fish, vegetables, cheese, charcuterie, prepared meals and pantry items across the UK. There are also meat and veg boxes and a regular subscription service.
The team work closely with the producers, visiting the farms to understand the whole journey from farm, through slaughter to butchery and onto your plate.
• What inspired you to set up your company
Parson’s Nose was founded with one ambition in mind – to bring back the traditional high street butcher that was so loved from our childhood memories and encourage people to eat better quality ethically reared meat.
As the Coronavirus pandemic hit and put pressure on supermarkets experiencing a perfect storm of logistical issues and panic buyers, the family-run business recognised the opportunity to innovate our online business with a new online shop offering increased convenience and flexibility. To rival supermarkets in West & South West London, we now offer delivery 7 days a week and same-day-delivery from 8 am to 10 pm on orders placed before 3 pm.
We then began work on national delivery which launched in September 2021.
• What was your biggest challenge in year one
The biggest challenge is to make the online experience a reflection of what happens in the shop.
It’s hard to replicate the shop experience – the theatre of butchery – online. When you order remotely most of the time a spotty teen on a scooter arrives and throws the package at you. We put a lot of effort into the delivery method; we started local and dressed our drivers as butchers. We had liveried vans and delivered a personal service. Boxes weren’t vac-packed and thrown together as you’d expect for nationwide service, it was packed as you’d get it in the shop and boxes were hand-delivered.
We put a lot into furthering that shop experience into delivery and it worked, actually. We’re trying to meet all of the customers’ needs because people will go back to convenience brand that surrounds whatever’s in the box. I’m constantly looking at trends. Delivery apps – they work, and we ventured into supplying one but it’s just not what we do. Keeping the quality up is quite tricky so we’re trying to stick to what we do best.
• What would you say has been your biggest marketing success?
Investing in both digital and logistical agility has saved the day.
• Web traffic up 600% (20,000 visits VS 136,000 visits)
• £6,000 – online sales prior to web revamp
• £1.6M – online sales since digital strategy deployed
• 90% increase in sales YOY (Oct ’20 VS Oct ‘21)
• 27,000 orders in the first year of the website (versus 6 per week max on the old system)
• 87% returning customers and our conversion rate (visits into sales) has been up to 63%.
• What has been the biggest mistake you made?
I think one of the biggest mistakes we made was not going nationwide sooner. Local delivery is a marketing no brainer as you already have a physical presence. Nationwide is a completely different story and is a lot harder to crack from a marketing aspect. Lockdown was actually the perfect marketing platform to get into new customers visibility on a nationwide basis and it was free. What I mean by that is customers were actively looking for delivery as opposed to us now actively looking for customers, which now comes at a cost.
In a way, we missed the first several boats, but we are very much on the next one and we are slowly catching up.
• Tell us about your plans for the future
Our future plans are very much revolved around digital and delivery. We are investing heavily in technology to run the backend, but from a marketing aspect, we are also throwing a considerable amount of effort. We are trying to develop our lifestyle brand from a local South West London one to a nationwide one. Customer experience is key and our strategy is to build an experiential Parson’s Nose platform around the actual product, by way of media, events, collaborations with other brands and chefs.