Nikolas von Haugwitz
CEO and Managing Director of Hawesko GmbH
Project Leader at Hawesko
Nikolas von Haugwitz is CEO and Managing Director of the long-distance trader Hawesko GmbH. He joined the company in 2003. Initially he was responsible for the non-wine business and since 2007 he has been responsible for the entire division. Since 2008 he has been Managing Director and since 2015 CEO. Nikolas began his career as Consultant and Assistant to the Board in the capital goods industry.
Ina Dittmann is Project Leader at Hawesko GmbH. She has been responsible for strategic business development for e-commerce since 2014. After completing her diploma as Business Administrator in International Management, she came to Hamburg to work for the mail-order company Otto GmbH. Most recently she worked as an e-commerce specialist managing the online shop and the online marketing for Lascana.
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 omni-channel? The company Hawesko clearly demonstrates that e-commerce and high-quality wine doesn’t have to be a contradiction. Nearly 50 percent of the turnover is produced in this sector meanwhile.
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 players?
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 omni-channel 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 omni-channel 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 omni-channel 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.
parsionate and Hawesko
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 published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue Q1 2016.