Why a Low-Code Development Recipe Worked for Pampered Chef

As their business becomes more and more digital, Pampered Chef has found a way to increase its online connection to its customer base through a platform developed using low-code resources.

Shiv Dutt, vice president of innovation at Pampered Chef, spearheaded a low-code strategy that leveraged Iterate.ai to create a tabletop trading platform — a move he says eased reliance on social media. The low code approach allows the Pampered Chef to build and test the platform faster than traditional means, Dutt says, and at a lower cost, by alleviating the need for more engineers.

Dutt says Pampered Chef reaches its market by utilizing consultants who organize and host parties where they invite others to shop together for Pampered Chef products. Historically, these events would have taken place in person in someone’s home, but that was starting to change even before COVID-19 arrived. “In the early 2000s, that started to shift to a more digital format,” he says. This led to some rethinking of Pampered Chef. The pandemic has accelerated these digital plans. “The primary problem we were trying to solve was creating a digital event as a way for us to run our business,” Dutt says.

Pampered Chef Consultants have already taken to social networks to reach others, he says, which can be a low-cost way to connect with potential buyers, but this has also raised concerns. “We don’t really control that experience,” Dutt says. “We have no access to the data. After all, we are on the whims of social networking rules and regulations.” For example, if a social network changes its content discovery algorithms, it can modify how easy it is to find topics that you might be interested in. And that could have a direct impact on Pampered Chef’s business, he says. “It creates an incredible risk.”

Low elasticity / no code

Although Pampered Chef had no plans to ditch such social networks, the company wanted an alternative, wholly-owned approach, Dutt says. With the table digital platform, the company wanted flexibility to change and adapt to new technologies as they became available. “This is where low code thinking, no code following came in,” he says. The pursuit of this flexibility will eventually lead to redundancy.

In general, low code development allows organizations to create digital assets using pre-existing resources in a modular manner. Dutt says using Iterate also provides a way to keep some costs down. Using low code, Pampered Chef has built a digital experience that mimics aspects of social media, he says, while also allowing existing social media tools to be connected as well. “We’ve gone from thinking to testing, demonstrating and scaling it in less than a year,” Dutt says.

Pampered Chef continues to build new features on the platform, he says, thanks to its plug-and-play flexibility. Dutt says the company evaluated other options along the way, including existing SaaS solutions, before opting to develop low code through Iterate. “We wanted to build something that would meet our needs, but we didn’t want to invest millions of dollars and have a lot of technology teams supporting it,” he says.

When they started, Dutt says Iterate recommended that Pampered Chef take advantage of the open source platform HumHub to brave what they want to build, and then adapt those data structures to build a copy for themselves. As a non-technical CEO, Dutt says his focus has been on how quickly the company can deliver results and that the low-code approach addresses that need. The spoiled chef began scaling the Table platform in September, he says, and it may be some time before the company makes drastic changes to it. “We’ve clearly shown that we can build things quickly,” Dutt says. “Let’s let it run for a year to make sure there are no kinks.”

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