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Mole Valley Farmers grows product catalogue with Akeneo’s PIM solution

Leading agricultural supply business Mole Valley Farmers has improved speed to market while enhancing product experience, partnering with Akeneo, the global leader in Product Information Management (PIM) and Product Experience Management (PXM) solutions.

Originally established as an agricultural buying group in 1960, Mole Valley Farmers is now a nation-wide cooperative with a 56-strong store estate spanning its brands – Mole Valley Farmers, Mole Country Stores and Farmdirect – as well as operating its Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) website.  Set-up by farmers for farmers, Mole Valley’s founding principal of serving and supporting the agricultural community remains at the heart of its operations.  Now comprising over 9,000 farmers who are shareholders and 53,000 members, it continues to help its customers improve productivity and profitability by offering products and services – from retail and engineering to veterinary and insurance – at competitive prices. 

As demand for its digital offer grew – having seen up to 30% year-on-year growth in online in 2022 – Mole Valley Farmers wanted to consolidate its legacy systems – which comprised IT running off three disparate solutions – and re-platformed onto Magento, while unifying its retail systems on to a single ERP solution, Microsoft AX. 

During this digital transformation, it became clear that the legacy infrastructure was also impacting where and how data was stored, with product information logged on different systems and with different processes for each of Mole Valley Farmers’ respective brand teams, threatening to slow down getting its ecommerce catalogue online as it re-platformed.

Partnering with Akeneo, Mole Valley Farmers was able to unify product information across all its business units, teams and categories, creating a single source of truth for product data, which helped it identify where gaps, inconsistencies or incomplete data sets existed.  This not only allowed Mole Valley Farmers to prioritise data enrichment, but it also accelerated speed to market for products on its webstore; its product catalogue is now 55,000 SKUs, compared to just 20,000 when it first started the partnership.  

It also made it possible for Mole Valley Farmers to activate Drop-Ship fulfilment, increasing the range of products available to its customers via resellers, while ensuring that product information and product experiences were consistent and accurate across its first-party and third-party sales channels.

Brian McArdle, Head of Ecommerce at Mole Valley Farmers, commented: “It became clear when we started our digital transformation journey to optimise the ecommerce architecture, that we would only get to where we needed to be if our systems and our processes worked together more effectively.  Akeneo played a significant role in unifying our product data and processes, so that this now runs smoothly through the ERP, to afford us not just speed to market in terms of getting products online, but also better product experiences for our customers, so products are easier to shop across all our touchpoints.”

James Barlow, Regional Director UK&I at Akeneo, said: “We know that great customer experience starts and ends with product experiences.  Mole Valley has always sought to put the needs of the agricultural community at its heart – and that means making the breadth and depth of its products and services available online quickly, while delivering the consistent and accurate product data across each and every touchpoint.”