During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many business, especially those in the travel tourism industry were badly affected. One such business was Heinemann Asia Pacific, which operates duty-free and travel retail shops, licensed mono-brand boutiques and concept stores at international airports as well as shops at border crossings and on board cruise ships. During the pandemic, it was vital that they found additional and reliable sales channels for their business.
Using SHOPLINE, Heinemann created Crew Shop, a private eCommerce store open only to employees, friends, and family. The store offers their constantly expanding range of international branded goods in the areas of perfumes & cosmetics, wine & spirits, confectionery, fashion & accessories, watches & jewellery and many more at attractive duty-free prices.
In an interview with Mark Tho, Heinemann’s Head of Sales for Southeast Asia, we discuss the difficulties they faced without a proper eCommerce solution, why they chose SHOPLINE as their eCommerce solution of choice, and how using SHOPLINE allowed them to turn Crew Shop into a strong sales channel of its own.
When Heinemann first conceived of Crew Shop, a shop with duty-free prices store exclusive to friends and family, everything was done manually. With a such wide array of products to sell, including liquor, confectionery, beauty products, jewelry, watches and other fashion accessories, they were finding it challenging to conveniently share the great deals with their family and friends!
Everything just seemed too complicated to scale effectively. “We were circulating Excel spreadsheets and PDF catalogues internally via employee emails, and payments were made by bank transfer,” Mark says. The set-up was very inefficient and lacked agility. “Not only that, we couldn’t run promotions, and had no proper data or analytics we could use to help improve our offerings”, Mark noted.
Mark noted 4 main things that he would require for his private sale. “1) a great-looking storefront for our customers to shop our amazing offers, 2) powerful data analytics that would help us to continuously improve our offerings, 3) a platform that would scale and similarly help us grow our database, and 4) a way to improve our overall operational efficiencies.”, suggested Mark. Now all that’s left is to find a solution that could meet Heinemann’s needs.
For Heinemann, the key to generating profitable revenue for Crew Shop’s private sales was to improve their user experience and resource utilization. “We were looking to create a protected/private sale that gave our customers great offers, and provided us powerful data analytics that would help us continuously improve our offerings,” says Mark.
Looking around, Heinemann assessed quite a few eCommerce providers on the market, but ultimately felt that SHOPLINE was the perfect fit for them. “They have a great merchant support team that really made our onboarding process fuss-free,” Mark says. He notes that strong customer support is always vital to their business. “The team is always accessible, and never fails to help resolve any troubleshooting issues we may have. Not only that, they’re open to enhance any functionalities we’re interested in at fair and competitive rates,” says Mark.
“We’ve just extended our term – that says it all!”
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Heinemann needed to explore online sales channels for its business
Heinemann saw really positive growth in revenue and cost utilization since using SHOPLINE. But most importantly, they’ve managed to turn Crew Shop into an exciting eCommerce sales channel of its own. “We’ve gotten great user feedback from customers as well as our internal team,” says Mark, “the SHOPLINE interface provides an amazing shopping experience for our customers, and the admin/execution functionality has helped us optimize our cost.”
“We’re definitely recommending SHOPLINE to our peers,” says Mark. We’re looking forward to it!
Seeing the success of Crew Shop, Heinemann isn’t going to stop its eCommerce expansion at it online store. In 2022 and beyond, Mark thinks social commerce might be the next big step. “We’ve been discussing the possibility of trying out SHOPLINE’s FB live function,” says Mark, noting the rapid expansion in live commerce in the past few years.
In these unprecedented times, it’s exciting to see how primarily brick-and-mortar businesses such as Heinemann have been able to establish such strong eCommerce sales channels. We can’t wait to see what they do next, as they potentially explore additional eCommerce functionalities with SHOPLINE in 2022.
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