It started in the early ‘70s on the east coast, selling seeds via catalog books. It gradually expanded to sell broader varieties of seed and to a customer base that continued to spread out. In the early 2000s, Johnny’s Selected Seeds was sold to its workers, and within 6 years it became 100% employee owned.
Then they approached their next developmental stage: how to provide a world-class service and ecommerce experience that fits in today’s digital-first, fast-moving environment?
By embracing the technology of today and latest digital innovations, Johnny’s Selected Seeds can now cultivate elevated ecommerce experiences, thanks to its adoption of Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Quickly after it plugged its ecommerce into Commerce Cloud, the gross merchandise value of Johnny’s Selected Seeds increased 16%.
And to be clear, Johnny’s Selected Seeds – let’s call them by their nickname JSS – did have an ecommerce website before SFCC. But this partnership launched its ecommerce into the 21st century, and gave its customers the ideal place to find and browse its products.
After a couple of years fine-tuning Salesforce Commerce Cloud to JSS’s needs, its customers now spend 33% longer on the site, as well as look at 29% more pages.
“We’re helping people grow healthy food,” said Gretchen Kruysman, the co-CEO of Johnny’s Selected Seeds. And so the key question they asked themselves was: “How can technology help with something as back-to-basics as farming?”
Today’s success is rooted in digital
JSS does have a history of plugging in the relevant technologies of its day to benefit its brand and help its customers. Its first online store opened its doors way back in 1995. And today, its revenue flow comes from its tools and abilities to create and manage personalized experiences.
Then the company took on extra help, artificial intelligence, that they use to lead customers to the products that are most relevant to them.
“It’s been amazing how truly committed Salesforce is to helping us grow,” added Alisha Burns, Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ ecommerce manager.
“As our business has grown it started to reach customers all over the country. And what we’re working on now is how you use technology to help strengthen and, in some cases, replace what used to just be a 1-to-1 speaking relationship.”
“One of the things that’s been great for us,” said Gretchen, “is … to find opportunities that work for Johnny’s… How to take all the content that we have and use the Einstein tool to convert them into purchases.”
Einstein, like its name suggests, made a big impact. Today, online visitors are spending more time looking on the website: 4-5 minutes, some even 7 minutes – chunks of time that in today’s 100mph world is an eternity, and would be the envy of other ecommerce brands. This is a very strong place to be in with customers. So kudos to Johnny’s.
And thanks to the broader capabilities of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, its website was broadened out into an educational platform for growers in which they can gain much more insight.
“The Einstein product recommender is something that we started to use on the Johnny’s website,” added Gretchen, “and we can tell by how often customers are not just adding items from an Einstein recommendation into their cart but they’re checking out with them and repeating the purchase.
“So that was the validation we needed… We really felt like we had something that was truly a benefit to customers.”
With the helping hands of Einstein, for example, let’s imagine that you’re a farmer. Put on your flat cap (or seed corn cap) and wellies and head down to the fields. This season has been particularly poor – perhaps some type of disease set in and spread among the crops. After some analysis you decide that you need to purchase a particular product to help deal with the ailing crops.
So you flip up the laptop screen and dive onto Johnny’s Selected Seeds’ website and communicate with it in a way in which you may have used to describe these sets of highly specific details to a person. These are entered into the website and, in turn, it quickly finds the right and relevant product for you, given your specific situation – because finding a specific product is a combination of unique characteristics.
Now that Johnny’s is part of the Salesforce Commerce Cloud community, they can continue to forge new paths in their ecommerce strategy. “We are always looking for new ways to create a better experience for our customers,” added Alisha.
“We launched into the accelerator program roughly a year and a half ago,” added Alisha, pointing towards tools like the “shopper journey and webpage speed test,” which “really helped us set some priorities but it also helped us understand our customers and how we can help them.”
For Johnny’s Selected Seeds, their online growth with Salesforce Commerce Cloud was a logical expansion of its own success, and an expansion they hope will help to cultivate greater growth in the coming seasons.