By creating a new platform for beverage orders, the largest distributor of beverages in Latvia, Amber Distribution Latvia, offers unprecedented opportunities for hotels, restaurants, caterers (HoReCa) and other legal entities to make online orders for drinks, 24 hours a day, regardless of location.
The new platform for ordering drinks
The platform amberdrinks.eu is the first such platform in the Latvian market. It’s special because it can handle not only beverage orders but also keeps personalized user profiles to keep track of order history, bills, special offers and product updates. The platform is geared towards legal entities in HoReCa and beverage retailers.
Since March this year, when the platform was launched, the percentage of HoReCa orders online has risen to 16% from 8% of the total number of transactions. According to Pavels Filipovs, Head of the Amber Distribution Latvia, online orders reach EUR 400 000 this year, but the turnover of one million is forecast for 2019.
Modern, yet retaining a personal approach
Modern customers need the option of ordering goods on the internet. “It is a part of the business, which gives the customer the independence to place orders at his own convenience. The new platform also helps us as a company to make more efficient use of human resources, which, however, are limited,” says Filipovs.
Being able to place an order at any time is particularly important in the HoReCa segment. It is often more convenient to book orders at the end of the working day for a bar or restaurant, which usually does not coincide with the beverage distributor’s working hours. This is a significant advantage. Likewise, the ability to set different usage rights for multiple users facilitates the work of the company and the circulation of documents. For example, bartenders may be responsible for making orders while the accountant is familiar with invoicing, and the customer’s supervisor monitors everything.
However, the goal of Amber Distribution Latvia is not to switch to ordering only in an e-environment. “Human contact with customers through a sales representative will certainly remain as important, but it will be with other nuances. It’s the same as in personal life – although we are both on Facebook and Instagram, we do not stop meeting in person with our friends,” says Pavels Filipovs.
Trends in beverages – even vodka with cucumber flavor!
According to P. Filipovs – diversity is what the end consumer desires, therefore, Amber Distribution Latvia are still looking for new tastes to offer to its customers. For example – in Russia, the world-famous mescal (a tequila-like drink made from agaves) has arrived, as well as pink gin and vodka with cucumber and other flavors. The platform is designed for customers to also have access to industry news.
Also, an interesting trend in the field of beverages is non-alcoholic strong drinks – vodka, gin, and others. According to taste, they are similar to the original beverage because the production process is the same as an alcoholic beverage and is not artificially formed. Even though vodka in Latvia has been the most popular strong drink, nowadays in this segment whiskey, gin and rum also are strengthening its positions.
It is noteworthy that people in Latvia increasingly prefer light drinks – wines, sparkling wines, as well as various cocktails. The data shows that the sales of sparkling wine during the New Year in Latvia remain evenly high for several years, despite the fact that the population of Latvia is decreasing. It shows the trend that sparkling wine strengthens its place in New Year celebrations.
Experience of the Baltic States
The HoReCa industry expert admits that the new platform, which is currently available only for companies to use, is a first step towards offering alcoholic beverages online to the private consumer as well. Lithuania and Estonia already have this. In Latvia, legislative changes are needed.
Asked if it would not provoke a public protest, Filipovs points out that in online retail sales, the order is executed electronically, but delivery is by a human-courier responsible for control of sensitive issues such as age and whether the customer is using beverages responsibly. If such arrangements have been implemented in the neighboring countries of Latvia, there is no reason to think that it might not work in Latvia.
Figures that speak louder than ad slogans
Amber Distribution Latvia is the No.1 distribution company in Latvia in terms of volume, revenue and profits. In 2017, Amber Distribution Latvia achieved a turnover of EUR 100 million. The company generally represents 250 brands – not only the brands produced by Latvijas balzams but also famous brands like Jim Beam, Courvoisier, Red Bull, Vitell and others. On the new platform amberdrinks.eu offers 184 sparkling wines and 1274 wine types. In total, the platform offers about two thousand different beverages to buy for your bar, club, café, hotel or shop.