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Having launched five years ago in a Sydney storage unit with 12 products, Hello Drinks has relaunched as Australia’s largest cloud-based alcohol superstore with more than 4000 products available.
For Founder JP Tucker, the idea of a cloud-based business was always in the pipeline and was a perfect opportunity in a COVID-19 landscape.
The company’s point of difference from traditional marketplaces is it avoids shipping items from multiple vendors, which often require multiple deliveries to the customer along with backlogs at couriers and additional costs for suppliers.
Hello Drinks achieves this by partnering with a variety of wholesalers already stocking thousands of products. The company has then integrated its algorithms into the wholesalers’ systems, allowing Hello Drinks to have such a wide range of beverages on its website.
Tucker told Food & Drink Business being cloud-based meant the company deferred the risk of having an overstocked warehouse by purchasing the products from its wholesale partners when needed.
“The business started as a project to see whether consumers would buy from us, and ahead of COVID-19 we held 200-250 products.
“The move to the cloud has allowed us to remove costs of six figures off our bottom line while remaining competitive with an additional 4000 products,” he said.
There are also environmental benefits from the move, Tucker said. With 95 per cent of the company’s product range now in the cloud, it has eliminated the need for approximately 250 trucks from suppliers delivering to the company. It has also removed the need forklifts to load or unload more than 1000 pallets, providing further cost savings and efficiencies.
Tucker added that the pandemic had a positive effective on their business.
“We are seeing more customers shopping online for drinks and while we don’t have the budgets of the supermarkets, their marketing spend is bringing new customers to the category.
“We have had some success in intercepting their traffic to showcase our independent business and we aimed to come out of COVID-19 stronger. We are already seeing the benefits of the changes,” he said.
During COVID-19 the company experienced peak growth of more than 600 per cent before incurring a reduction in sales over the past two months due to its recent transition to the cloud.
Hello Drinks has implemented the latest AI software to help determine customer desires and ensure constant improvement.