e-commerce and wine are no contradiction – Hawesko shows how it works!

Wine, a product in need of explanation, a product which actually wants to be tasted. Is such a product category even suitable for the subject of omnichannel? Yes!

E-commerce and shopping with mobile devices are becoming ever-more prevalent, of course these changes don’t stop at the doors of the wine shop either. The company Hawesko clearly demonstrates that e-commerce and high-quality wine doesn’t have to be a contradiction. It is already successfull in the field of e-commerce for a few years now. Nearly 50 percent of the turnover is produced in this sector meanwhile.

Hawesko as one of the biggest wine merchant in Europe shows the way. Read here the assessment of Nikolas von Haugwitz (CEO and Managing Director of Hawesko GmbH) and Ina Dittmann (Project Leader at Hawesko) about the challenges in e-commerce: the change of the consumers, international competition, the fight against Amazon, the Management of Product Data (PIM) to the evaluation of the right technology.

Nikolas von Haugwitz and Ina Dittmann, Hawesko, talk about E-Commerce and PIM

Mr von Haugwitz, most people probably think of those classical wine shops
where you go to look for that perfect bottle when they hear the word ‘wine’.
You, on the other hand, have already been successfully working in the field of
e-commerce with your company for a few years. What are the reasons for this?
NIKOLAS VON HAUGWITZ: The market is changing, just like the consumers. E-commerce
and shopping with mobile devices are becoming ever-more prevalent,
of course these changes don’t stop at the doors of the wine shop either. We earn
every second euro with long-distance commerce now, therefore the switch from
pure print to online business is both important and necessary. However, I also
believe that print still has its place.
Your primary target group is in the middle-aged category. How do you rate the
affinity of this target group for shopping online? Relating to this, what experience
have you gained so far with your online shop?
N. V. H.: For a long time, it has not only been the younger consumers who shop
via e-commerce channels and smartphones, but increasingly an older target group
as well. The affinity for shopping online is growing dramatically. We can observe
this with the so-called silver surfers – internet users from the age of 50. This development
is of course in our favour with our orientation towards premium wine.

With the internet, the market access threshold has sunk when it comes to international competition. How do you try to set yourself apart from other market
N. V. H.: It’s not for nothing that we are number one in the delivery of high-quality
wines, champagnes and spirits. We got here as a result of our uncompromising
focus on quality and service. Long-term relationships with the best winemakers
in the world, sophisticated logistics and perfect consultation of our customers has
always been our focus. It is exactly these services that we can offer our customers
currently on nearly all print and online channels. I don’t know of any other company
in Europe which has these prerequisites or which has applied these things for
50 years in the way that we do.

The area of e-commerce is increasingly moving towards omnichannel commerce.
What is happening in your company? Can we soon order wine through you,
while sitting in the restaurant, for delivery at home?
N. V. H.: Ordering directly from the restaurant is already possible – thanks to
the smartphone. In addition to our catalogue and the classical distribution channels,
we began dealing with new sales channels very early on, we were the first
responsive online shop in the branch for example. We orientate ourselves entirely
towards the needs of our customers. Even with multiple brands, we enable our
customers to make a find and feel happy with on and offline worlds in omnichannel
commerce with our additional long-distance commerce possibilities such
as tvino.com.

How do you strategically position your company in light of the competitive giant
Amazon and its ‘one-stop shopping’ approach where customers can obtain the
most diverse of goods through one supplier, and do so at maximum speed?
INA DITTMANN: We very clearly position ourselves as specialist traders. Amazon
lacks the special expertise for wine. As a specialist in service, consultation,
range of wine and passion, which is our unique value proposition, we offer the
customer a real advantage in comparison to the generalists.

Mrs Dittman, as Project Leader of Business Development & E-Commerce, you
have the challenge of keeping pace with a highly dynamic environment, and beyond
this, continuing to expand your position on the market. What tactic or strategy
do you have?
I. D.: We simply have our customers and their desires and needs in focus. The
digital change towards an ever-growing implicitness of everywhere commerce
plays a role here. We take on these challenges by wanting to offer our customers
the best shopping experience for wine on the internet. We also regularly test new
features and offers online and these undergo an extensive performance review.

According to what criteria do you look for the technology suitable for you in
order to be successful in this field? What should you also consider if you want to
be on the go in omnichannel commerce?
I. D.: We like to use established standard technologies, but we have a high IT
expertise within our company. Therefore we also develop the relevant software for
our business internally if we can’t find it as specialised as we need it on the market.
We have expanded our team greatly in the last two years for this reason and can
therefore react very flexibly to any changes in customer requirements. The close
collaboration with colleagues from the fields of purchasing, marketing and sales is
particularly decisive.

With the choice of PIM system, Hawesko relies on an experienced partner: parsionate
supports the company in identifying the concrete demands of the different areas of
expertise as well as the definition of the data model and the optimum processes. Even
upon preselection of the supplier and evaluation of the software presentations, the
great expertise of the consultants was a valuable help for the company.

This article was also published in the Q1/2016 issue of the German Magazin “Prokom – Das Produktkulturmagazin”. Download the complete article as PDF.

Learn more about HAWESKO here.

Nikolas von Haugwitz and Ina Dittmann, Hawesko, talk about E-Commerce and PIM