Case Study: Plant Nursery with Rapid E-commerce Pivot

Plant nursery e-commerce pivot

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses around the globe had to adapt and innovate to survive.

One example is Allensmore, a plant nursery in Herefordshire that pivoted from a trade-based business model to a direct-to-consumer approach to avoid a catastrophe during the lockdown when the economy was paralysed.

Swift & Effective Response to E-commerce Challenges

This case study delves into their 2020 challenges, the solutions we provided, and the exceptional results that followed.

By highlighting the critical aspects of this project, we aim to demonstrate AIO Spark’s proficiency in website design, copywriting, illustration and SEO development, ability to respond to urgent requests, and dedication to client success.

Join us as we explore the journey of Allensmore’s transformation and AIO Spark’s role in helping them overcome adversity during unprecedented times.

Plant nursery e-commerce pivot ii - a field of lupins in various colours, neatly lined in rows

Plant nursery illustration, created with AI tools by our prompt engineers

Key Highlights

  • Urgent e-commerce website build: AIO Spark successfully developed a fully functional e-commerce website for Allensmore within a tight deadline of six weeks.
  • Seamless systems integration: The e-commerce website was integrated with Allensmore’s back-end stock and accounts software, ensuring accurate inventory management and efficient order processing.
  • Comprehensive branding: AIO Spark created a complete branding package for Allensmore, including a logo, visual style guide, and custom graphics for the website.
  • Expert SEO implementation: The e-commerce website was optimised for various SEO factors, such as technical, on-page, e-commerce, and mobile SEO, ensuring high search engine rankings and increased visibility.
  • Impressive results: The new e-commerce website increased sales, revenue, and customer reach, helping Allensmore pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model and survive the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Client satisfaction: Allensmore representatives praised AIO Spark’s hard work, expertise, and commitment to delivering a high-quality e-commerce website that exceeded their expectations.

Project Overview

AIO Spark undertook the daunting task of assisting Allensmore in transitioning to a direct-to-consumer business model in a very narrow timeframe. Our team’s dedication and expertise enabled us to deliver a comprehensive e-commerce website within an impressive six-week turnaround, despite the numerous challenges faced during the project.

The result was a fully live, secure online ordering platform that expanded Allensmore’s customer base and generated much-needed revenue.

It showcased an extensive range of perennial and bedding plants, prioritising user experience with easy ordering, fast delivery, and exceptional customer support.

Thanks to AIO Spark’s efforts, Allensmore successfully navigated the difficulties brought on by the pandemic and emerged more robust with a thriving direct-to-consumer business model alongside their re-opened trade offering.

Commercial plant nursery illustration - fields of lavender in the sun

Plant nursery illustration, created with AI tools by our prompt engineers

In Detail – The Challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic caused Allensmore’s regular trade customers to stop ordering products, threatening the company’s survival.

In response, Allensmore pivoted to a direct-to-consumer business model and approached AIO Spark to build an e-commerce website.

The project faced several challenges, including:

Tight deadline:

The project deadline was incredibly tight, as Allensmore needed a functioning e-commerce website as soon as possible to capture new customers and revenue. With the pandemic still ongoing, time was of the essence to take advantage of the surge in online shopping.

Inexperienced with e-commerce:

They needed more experience with e-commerce and guidance on managing an online store. This required AIO Spark to build the website and provide support and training to Allensmore staff to ensure they could handle the website effectively.

Integration with back-end systems:

They needed the e-commerce website to integrate with their back-end stock and accounts software to ensure accurate inventory management and streamlined order processing.

This required us to work with third-party software and APIs to create a seamless integration.

Complex SEO requirements:

With an extensive product catalogue and a focus on driving online sales, the e-commerce website needed to be optimised for various SEO factors, including Technical SEO, On-page SEO, E-commerce SEO, and Mobile SEO.

We conducted extensive research and testing to ensure the website performed well in search engine rankings.

No distinct branding:

As Allensmore was pivoting to a direct-to-consumer business model, they needed a complete branding package to ensure the website reflected their new image and communicated their products to the right audience.

Each challenge was significant in the situation Allensmore faced. Without a functioning e-commerce website, they risked losing substantial revenue and potentially going out of business.

AIO Spark had to work quickly and effectively to overcome these challenges and deliver a website that would meet Allensmore’s needs and help them succeed in their pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model.

Plant nursery in the sun

Plant nursery illustration, created with AI tools by our prompt engineers


We provided a range of services to complete this multifaceted project. Thanks to our wealth of commercial experience in designing, building and maintaining complex web projects, we successfully provided an end product that fulfilled its obligations and provided a safe and effective way for the company to continue trading during the lockdown and beyond.

These services included:

Complete e-commerce website build:

AIO Spark designed and built a fully functional e-commerce website and content-marketing platform that allowed customers to browse and buy and Allensmore’s team to publish content around the various needs of the buyers at every stage.

Systems integration:

The e-commerce website was integrated with their inventory management and accounting software, ensuring that inventory levels were accurate, stock matched their existing database, orders could be fulfilled efficiently and reconciled properly.

Initial branding:

AIO Spark researched a name for the project that involved us looking at the semantics of search in context with the goals.

We created an initial branding package for the e-commerce website, including a logo and a visual style guide.

Why we chose the GVP name

We devised the idea of Golden Valley Plants (GVP) for the project and secured the domain name.

GVP was chosen because of the HQ location in the Golden Valley in Herefordshire. “Plants” was added to the location to provide a descriptive brand name that immediately connects buyers to the site’s purpose. An example of how simple logic can be applied powerfully.

Once we’d set up the hosting account, we began populating the domain with a website that would become the consumer face of Allensmore Nurseries. Now that we had the brand name, we could move on to create a brand identity, visual style guide, and custom website design.

Full SEO copywriting:

We wrote SEO-friendly product descriptions and website copy to ensure the e-commerce website ranks well in search engine results.

Graphic design:

We designed custom graphics for the e-commerce website, including product images and banners.

UX design:

We focused on user experience design to create a website that was easy to navigate and use.

Technical SEO:

We implemented technical SEO best practices to ensure the e-commerce website performs well in search engine rankings.

On-page SEO:

We optimised the website’s content and metadata to improve its visibility in search engine results.

E-Commerce SEO:

We applied e-commerce-specific SEO tactics, such as optimising product pages and implementing structured data, to increase the website’s visibility and performance.

Mobile SEO:

We optimised the e-commerce website for mobile devices, ensuring it would be easy to use on smartphones and tablets.

Complete inventory management:

We managed the inventory for the e-commerce website, listing all products by hand and ensuring that stock levels were updated in real-time.

Product inventory:

We added Allensmore’s entire product catalogue to the e-commerce website, ensuring that customers could browse and purchase all their products online.

Domain procurement, web hosting, web security, and website maintenance:

We handled all technical aspects of the project, including procuring the domain, providing web hosting, ensuring website security, and ongoing website maintenance.

Ongoing development:

We provided ongoing website development services, ensuring the e-commerce website would evolve and improve.

These services were crucial in ensuring the project’s success and the e-commerce website’s timely delivery.

Plants in rows in the fields of a garden nursery

Plant nursery illustration, created with AI tools by our prompt engineers


AIO Spark’s dedication, expertise, and unwavering work ethic proved instrumental in transforming an ambitious project into a remarkable success within the challenging six-week timeframe.

Our team’s efforts enabled Allensmore, a highly regarded B2B business, to swiftly pivot and adapt to the unprecedented COVID lockdown in the UK, selling their time-sensitive products directly to retail customers.

The e-commerce website we created became a lifeline for Allensmore during the pandemic and flourished over time, with its product catalogue expanding to showcase an array of seasonal plants.

Our seamless integration of doorstep delivery and automated order processing further bolstered sales and revenue, ensuring the company’s survival and solidifying the website’s role as an essential component of its business model.

Upon completion, AIO Spark handed over the fully functioning, highly ranked, and well-populated webshop to Allensmore’s in-house team. With this robust foundation, the company is now well-equipped to thrive for years, despite unforeseen challenges.


Large allensmore nurseries logo

Above & Beyond!

AIO Spark delivered exactly what we needed in record time. They went above and beyond to ensure the website was secure, easy to use, and fully integrated with our back-end systems.

Thanks to their hard work and expertise, we were able to pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model and generate much-needed revenue during a difficult time. We couldn’t be happier with the result.

Mark T, MD / Allensmore Nurseries

Exceeded Expectations

The AIO Spark team worked tirelessly to build and deliver a top-quality e-commerce website that exceeded our expectations.

Their expertise and attention to detail were evident throughout the project, and they went the extra mile to ensure everything was working smoothly. We were also impressed with their willingness to collaborate with our team and help us learn more about e-commerce.

Thanks to AIO Spark, we could take our business in a new direction and reach a wider audience. The handover was seamless, and we are now running the website in-house. It has been a great success, and we are grateful for their help.

Will T, Project Manager / Allensmore Nurseries
Helleborus gold - an allensmore staple

Customer Profile: Allensmore Nurseries

Allensmore Nurseries, a renowned plant supplier, has provided high-quality plants to top garden retailers across the UK for over 50 years. Their clientele includes Independent Garden Centres, Garden Centre Groups, and leading DIY & Grocery Multiples.

Driven by a passion for plants, Allensmore focuses on high quality, range, innovation, service, and reliability.

Annually, Allensmore produces over 6 million plants, spanning a wide variety of species, such as pot bedding, perennials, shrubs, climbers, and roses, in various pot sizes, ranging from 9cm to 7.5 litres.

Known for their elegance and style, Italy and Sicily have always been at the forefront of influencing trends with creativity and imagination. Allensmore collaborates closely with the finest growers in these regions to bring exceptional Mediterranean plants, palms, olives, topiary, and other remarkable plants to British gardens.

To further complement their production, Allensmore partners with a select group of high-quality, specialist growers in Spain and the Albenga region of Italy. This collaboration enables them to offer their customers additional plant ranges that can be challenging to grow commercially in the UK due to climatic conditions.

Visit Allensmore Nurseries’ website to learn more about their passion for plants and exceptional offerings.


AIO Spark’s expertise in web design and e-commerce helped Allensmore stay afloat during the pandemic, and they could continue selling their products remotely to customers. The fast turnaround of the e-commerce website showed AIO Spark’s dedication to its clients and ability to efficiently handle urgent projects. Allensmore has a successful e-commerce website essential to its business model.

Are you ready to transform your business and achieve similar success as Allensmore?

AIO Spark has the expertise and dedication to help you navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and create a tailor-made e-commerce solution that meets your unique needs. Don’t hesitate to seize new opportunities and unlock your business’s full potential.

Contact us today to discuss your project and learn more about how AIO Spark can bring your vision to life. Let’s create your success story together!