Choc-a-bloc in lockdown with e-commerce on the rise
Dutch-based chocolate bar company, Tony’s Chocolonely, launched in the UK in January 2019 and since then has established itself as one of the most easily-recognised chocolate brands on the market. With its very distinctive packaging and ethical approach to sourcing and manufacture, the company has also seen an opportunity during this extended lockdown to use Boughey’s e-commerce service.
In the Netherlands, where the company was founded 15 years ago, selling to customers directly is an important part of the business. However, the decision to include e-commerce as an option in the UK was a direct result of opening offices in Britain. Online shopping in the UK has a significant share of the market and is growing rapidly, so it was something the business wanted to offer from its initial launch. It was important for Tony’s Chocolonely to find a logistics partner who could offer this service, alongside B2B deliveries, and Boughey Distribution fitted the bill.
E-commerce has proved to be a shrewd move for the company and Boughey has been able to instigate this offering successfully. It’s been a smooth transition and Boughey’s staff have very good knowledge of the process, while the communications have been clear and efficient. Tony’s Chocolonely launched its online ‘Choco Shop’ at the same time as it launched into physical retail stores, so this has only been a small part of the business until recently. This has steadily increasing though, as people look for flavours they can’t find themselves in stores such as Sainsbury’s or Waitrose. At present, the Choco Shop is one of the few places you can buy every bar in the UK range, which is its biggest benefit.
Since the advent of Covid-19 and the nationwide lockdown across the UK, the company has noticed a significant increase (457%) in its Choco Shop sales in recent weeks. This is a direct result of people preferring to order from home, rather than visiting a store. Demand has also been driven by customers treating themselves during lockdown, and what better way to treat yourself than a chocolate bar? The company is fully expecting to see a drop in demand after the lockdown period is eased, as people will be able to go back to the shops again. But this trend may have convinced some customers that this is the best way to purchase its products – the selection is greater and the items are delivered direct to their door. Going forward, the Choco Shop will continue to develop and host fun activities, such as virtual egg hunts, to give online shoppers a reason to revisit the site. Further tweaks to the online experience will include features such as the ability to add a gift message to purchases.
Pelina Kanari from Tony’s Chocolonely commented: “Boughey’s staff regularly go above and beyond to help and are continuously looking at ways to improve the experience for our customers. Chocolate is an affordable treat at the moment, when people are entertaining themselves at home and we’ve noticed a significant number of people buying as a gift to send to someone else too. Even if we lose some online sales as physical shops reopen, we think the base of our online shoppers will still remain higher than it was pre-Covid-19.”