Frogmore Gardens is a boutique mail-order and retail nursery specialising in flowering perennials for the herbaceous border, drought tolerant and prairie gardening styles, as well as bulbs, shrubs and a wide variety of grasses. The Frogmore Gardens web site is a Joomla! / Virtuemart online shop.
We picked up the Frogmore Gardens site in 2013. We recovered, rebuilt and extended it, modified the online shop and added many new features. Some of the more notable features were an eBay-style product finder adapted to customised plant characteristics, combined product pack and promotion services, and quite complex shipment charge rules. We implemented the eWay and PayPal payment gateways, and also subjected the site to our standard security and SEO disciplines.
For some years we published Frogmore Garden's regular catalogues as email newsletters, as well as frequent blog distributions and promotional email caompaigns. Each campaign was customised to maximise click-throughs and sales of promoted product ranges (i.e. plant families).
Frogmore Gardens turned out to be a complex and demanding business, and one of the most challenging issues was the very poor ISP connection available to the business. Frogmore Gardens is nestled in the Trentham region of western Victoria, a forested country area. Frogmore Gardens could not be connected to the Internet via landline, due to its distance from the nearest phone exchange. The only available option was Satellite NBN, and this turned out to be unreliable and unbearably slow. This left Frogmore Gardens with a chronic network bottleneck, which turned out to be a major constraint on the development of the business.
We eventually met Frogmore Gardens' requirements for integrated online and on-site business services with a combination of innovative bespoke solutions:
- We built an automated interface between VirtueMart and the FrontAccounting ERP system, to integrate Frogmore Garden's e-commerce trading activity with over-the-counter nursery sales on site.
- An on-site peer instance of Frogmore Garden's systems which extended the VirtueMart - FrontAccounting interface to include collection and synchronisation of combined data between the public and on-site installations.
- In order to support the frequent sync traffic between the combined online shop and ERP system and Frogmore Gardens' on-site mirror, we had to build our own custom cloud hosting stack. This formed the foundation of the open source cloud hosting service we offer to our clients.
In early 2017, Frogmore Gardens moved to a new platform, due to changes in business conditions.