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HelloDrinks launches online marketplace

Online liquor business HelloDrinks has this week launched a liquor marketplace that aims to provide suppliers with a new revenue stream during a challenging time for the drinks industry.

The Sydney startup is inviting suppliers that currently wholesale beer, wine, spirits, or health drinks like kombucha, to list their products on the marketplace while retaining full control of inventory.

“The marketplace pings orders to the supplier as soon as the customer completes their purchase. Once the order is dispatched, the tracking info is uploaded to the portal and will be sent direct to the customer, from here HelloDrinks will manage the customer service until the order is delivered,” HelloDrinks co-founder JP Tucker explained.

The marketplace has been in development since 2019, and sprung from a need to expand the HelloDrinks product range to keep up with customer demand.

“The focus from the beginning has been to reduce costs for our suppliers, which allows us to become more competitive in the market. Supplier can also use the platform for clearing overstocks, short-dated promotions etc, so they are reducing their costs all the time,” Tucker told Inside FMCG.

“During challenging times where jobs have been lost, hours reduced, our aim is to assist suppliers by sending more orders to them, which will allow them focus more of their efforts on the relaunch of the on-premise.”

Tucker said the business was in a strong position to manage the increased demand driven by COVID-19 stockpiling in recent months.

“We have seen sales increase up to 600 per cent at times, but has levelled at 300 per cent increase over the past three months,” he said. “In terms of operations, we have seen a huge influx of suppliers knocking at our door to get their products into the online space, which we are still in talks with regarding ranging their products.”

The business has hired new staff to help manage demand and plans are in place to expand the team further in the near future.

The COVID-19 outbreak prompted many alcohol brands and retailers to embrace e-commerce. Earlier this month, Metcash’s Independent Brands Australia (IBA) launched an e-commerce site with next day delivery.

Tucker said the pandemic taught the industry many lessons, one being the importance of multiple sales channels including online.

“Some suppliers have yet to embrace the online space, however we now know more and more shoppers will be shopping online from now on, and they need to begin looking at online distribution points, as it goes a long way to growing their brand presence,” he said.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside FMCG.

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