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From Clicks to Bricks

The year of 2016 proved to be an exciting year for the team at not only did the online beverage company move warehouses, celebrate being the oldest e-commerce company in South Africa, and join forces with the eventing site, Quicket: they also opened up their first physical liquor store.

The brand new liquor store can be found in the vibrant neighbourhood of Woodstock, at 175 Victoria Road. It opened its doors in October 2016 and has been supplying locals with well-loved South African brands since. The concept of creating something truly unique was brought to life by stocking the store with fine wines, spirits and craft beers that you would struggle to find at most other retail outlets.  Essentially, everything that is available on is available in the new brick and mortar store. The deal is sweetened with weekly specials and great discounts on premium brands.

The opening of the store is an important move forward for e-commerce in South Africa. This is the first time that an e-commerce store has moved into a physical space; in essence, clicks into bricks. Historically, the market has seen retail outlets moving online to expand their reach and enhance the shopping experience for the consumer. The Bricks-to-Clicks phenomenon has taken the country by storm with most large retailers providing the option to order and pay online and have the product delivered.

Gavin Forsyth, Chief Marketing Officer of Cybercellar notes the importance of the opening of the store: “E-commerce businesses need to stop thinking of themselves as ‘Online Only’. We are first and foremost retailers. We compete for the same share of wallet as brick-and-mortar stores, but have just chosen to specialise on a single channel. However, these days, more and more businesses are launching their own stores, and e-commerce is no longer a business model, but merely one channel in which to do business.”

The move to a physical liquor store is indicative of Cybercellar’s impressive growth over the last two years. It encapsulates the strategic growth of the brand by creating more awareness to a customer base that might have not previously been affiliated with the company. Not only is the reach to a new and unique audience important to Cybercellar, but so is the perception of the brand. This move has allowed the online wine retailer to create a touch and feel element for customers to associate with. In many cases, the customer feels a sense of disassociation with purely e-commerce stores due to the lack of the human element. The liquor store is a means to overcome this by allowing the customer a physical presence to visit.

The timing of the opening of the store couldn’t have come at a better time in the international world of e-commerce. It was announced during the course of the week that Amazon will be opening a check-out free grocery store in Seattle. The concept centers on the customer’s Smartphone logging onto their Amazon account when walking in and the smart use of Artificial Intelligence, algorithms and tracking intelligence to monitor each purchase.

With the world of e-commerce expanding and becoming smarter, is looking forward to being on the forefront of alcohol retail in South Africa.

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