Robinsons pivot their business to initiative a full eCommerce service | May 2020

Date: Wednesday 13 May 2020

Robinsons is a 5th generation family -run food service business which originated as greengrocers to the public & has returned to its roots, transforming into a food-to-door delivery service in just 7 days to put food in Homes across the Isle of Man’ mouths during lockdown. 

Robinsons, which has been trading since 1886 as an independent greengrocers then over the many years a supplier of chilled, frozen, fresh and ambient foods to all the islands restaurants, hotels, cafes, schools & many more - but when government announced many of its customers needed to close their doors the business quickly changed tack.

As covid-19 gripped the nation, Robinsons turned to Sandersons their IT Provider to initiate a full-service eCommerce platform, how to work out how to make its services available to members of the public on the Isle of Man who were vulnerable, isolating, social distancing and struggling to get hold of fresh produce, & all food and drink essentials.

Following a brief consultancy process in which all areas of the business were evaluated to assess suitability for an online offering, the team began to develop a brand new eCommerce website, to allow customers to place orders for Robinsons wide range of products and arrange deliveries from the safety of their own homes.

The new website was launched within just 7 days of that conversation and just a couple of weeks in, the business is receiving hundreds of orders per day.

The new service means hundreds of products have been made available to households across the Island at the touch of a button.

Orders can be placed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Janna Horsthuis managing director at Robinsons , said: “We had been considering launching an online service to take household orders for a while now – this line of work is in the business’ DNA after all, with my family having started the business as a greengrocer in the street. When the crisis hit and we saw how much trouble people were having getting hold of the essentials they needed without compromising their health, we knew it was time. 

 “We’ve worked hard to get this service up and running as quickly as possible and it is paying dividends – the feedback we are receiving from customers has been brilliant and it is great to know we are doing something to help the community cope during this difficult time & also for our wonderful customers to see a friendly face.

“Our team have been absolutely fantastic during this difficult time, very adaptable & wiling to change roles as needed & are the people behind making this vision a reality, and thankfully they were up for the challenge of getting things done as quickly as they were able to. We’re delighted to have shown them just how rapidly it is possible to launch a new online revenue stream and reach a brand new customer base. This is something many businesses should now be considering, in order to reach a larger audience.”

Our suppliers & growers on the Island have also been fantastic as when lockdown was instructed we all had serious doubts how our business would survive with such a huge loss of the sector. Working together & adapting quickly has helped us to keep all members of staff of employed.

We are now working to make delivery available to a broader range of products and is expanding its range of food and drink products based on customer feedback.

For more information and to place an order via Robinsons visit