The Series B round for Witherspoon’s Draper James brand was led by San Francisco-based Forerunner Ventures.
Creating premium chocolate is an art that Swiss-based chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli has mastered across a storied history that dates back to 1845 when a founder perfected the process of manufacturing chocolate. The company later created the first melting dark chocolate.
Today Lindt has hit its sweet spot not in e-commerce as well, with the launch of a new cloud-based web store delivered by IBM Premier Business Partner CrossView and IBM.
The new web store is built on IBM WebSphere Commerce platform and CrossView’s B2C Commerce on Cloud offering, a quick-deploy solution that unites commerce technology, implementation expertise, retail and digital best practices, hosting and managed services. Thomas Linemayr, president and CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) describes the new commerce site, which features 600 SKUs, as a premium storefront where customers can experience the Lindt brand as they would browsing in the chocolate section of a department store.
The flexibility of the CrossView solution enables Lindt to quickly build and execute highly personalized, seasonal promotions around holidays such as Valentine’s Day and Christmas. Through branded sites, Lindt can launch holiday-based promotions and campaigns that sell highly targeted offerings. Moreover, because the solution is cloud-based, Lindt can quickly scale capacity up and down as needed.
“In addition to looking for a platform and vendors that would grow with us, we sought a solution that would make it very easy for us to manage promotions and scale very quickly between holidays,” Linemayr says.
In fact, experience is everything to Lindt. The brand seeks to delight customers at every juncture. “It’s the orchestration of the web store, the look and feel, the navigation, the flow, culminating with the checkout process—each step must delight, and that is what we’ve achieved with help from CrossView” says Linemayr.
In addition to personalized promotions, Lindt’s web store offers custom products. Shoppers can mix and match to build personalized gifts—choosing quantity, type of chocolate, packaging and messaging.
“The site allows us to engage with customers in meaningful, thoughtful ways, and to understand their behavior. It is about the experience we create and the loyalty we build, not just sales,” Linemayr says.
But sales are important, and they’re growing. Since launching the new store last year, Lindt has more than doubled its conversion rates and tripled its revenue on mobile devices. On Black Friday the site’s conversion rate soared 200 percent, while Cyber Monday sales were more than double that of any other single day of online sales.
“We performed beyond our expectations—conversions were up, traffic and basket size were higher,” Linemayr says. “We attribute this to our web solution and our ability to showcase products online that resonate with customers.”
Linemayr gives credit to CrossViewand his internal team for deploying the technology quickly and effectively. “It is very difficult to pull off a collaborative effort like this and not have major issues—yet that is what we achieved,” he says
As for the future, Lindt is looking at new ways to delight online chocolate lovers, including new social initiatives, product and category innovations, and enhanced personalization. “We have a very strong pipeline of innovation coming every year, Linemayr says, “and this platform is great because it will enable us to very quickly introduce new offerings—each chocolate that is beyond compare.”