Making logistics more sustainable, improving the customer experience and working on the relationship with franchisees: because of the way retailer Simon Lévelt has set up its webshop, it all goes together. Online customers can count on the same personal approach as they would receive in one of the 40 specialist stores. The next step is to deliver their orders 'greener'.
When it comes to premium coffee and tea, Simon Lévelt is an established name in the Netherlands. Enthusiasts know where to find the specialty stores and the nearly two-hundred-year-old family business also wants to create an experience online that matches the personal experience that customers experience in physical stores. “What we are aiming for is accessible luxury,” says general manager Bert Jongsma. “Consumers are constantly busy, there is hardly any time left for rest. We want to create that moment. In our specialist stores, with a lot of attention for the customer and good advice. But we understand that the customer can’t always come to the store. That’s why we also want to offer our complete range online.”
Eye for the long term
Like many other family businesses, Simon Lévelt (now in the hands of the sixth generation of entrepreneurs) is sailing a sustainable course that is focused on the long term. “Coffee and tea are natural products and we decided a long time ago that we were going for 100% organic. This means that all 30 coffees will be organic from next year, as well as more than 120 tea specialties. But what is also important in our company is the family feeling. These are family values we consider important: personal attention and going for the long term. This is not only related to our customers and products, but also to our franchisees. We really want to prevent that the webshop becomes a competitor for them for example.”
For this reason, a shop has been developed that franchisees will benefit from. “It is above all a platform for them with which they can serve their customers in a different way. We forward orders that we receive via the webshop to a store if the customer is within 20 minutes of that location. We encourage our franchisees to seize the opportunity by doing something extra for customers within their area. For example, by adding a card or a sample bag with the order. That really contributes to the customer's experience, who therefore receives the same personal approach as if they would come into the store."
Insight into missed orders
The first step of the new webshop has now been implemented. About half of the orders now go through the shops, the aim is to bring this to 100%. “We are not completely sure what the distribution principle should be. Now it is done on the basis of postcode areas; what will you do if a customer is not within 20 kilometers of a store?” In addition, Jongsma wants to be sure that the franchisees can actually deliver orders. “We keep track of stock through the POS systems and give franchisees the tools to see which orders they missed because they didn't have something in stock. They can then take this into account in their weekly order via our central warehouse.”
The solution has been set up together with Wolfpack DCS. “With their technology, they form a nice junction between our ERP and POS. And it can also easily be linked with other parties such as payment services and Bol.com. We were very happy with this solution, which is clear and easy to use.” With Wolfpack, Simon Lévelt is now also investigating the possibilities of making online logistics more sustainable. “Customers can pick up their order in store, but we are also looking for customized distribution solutions for the last mile. At the moment, every order from the webshop is shipped with PostNL via regular parcel shipping and through distribution centers. We would prefer that deliveries go directly to the customer, with as little CO2 emissions as possible. That is why we are now going to work with bicycle couriers. The number of kilometers driven by vans on fossil fuel can then be reduced, as can the number of transport movements.”
Last miles must be green
Simon Lévelt is now partnering up with a courier service that can arrange this. Wolfpack DCS is also involved, because the logistical handling of orders can be done via their order management system. “One of our conditions is that a sustainable choice from the consumer can’t be more expensive than a non-sustainable option. And if the non-sustainable option turns out to be cheaper, I'm even willing to pay the difference. How nice would it be if all orders shipped from our stores were delivered by bicycle courier next year? That certainly fits with our philosophy: keep surprising the customer, then they will come back and tell others a positive story about your brand.”