Cybercellar.com, the oldest eCommerce company in South Africa, is officially of legal drinking age as it celebrates its 18th birthday.
Founded in 1998 by Fiona Phillips, the company has established itself as the spirited leader in online alcohol sales in the country. By developing close connections with the wine industry, and surrounding themselves with wine experts, the company has taken dominance of the online wine retail industry by offering a unique experience to the customer and by bringing happy hour right to their door.
Cybercellar.com started making its presence felt in South Africa around the same time that the internet started gaining momentum. David Muller, current MD, bought the business over in 2012 along with Silvertree Investment Holdings and began building up the company from its base. He has always claimed that “You don’t choose the wine industry, the wine industry chooses you,” and he took this belief straight into the core of the business.
David’s vision was to move the company past the usual tradition that included purchasing a case of wine online and having it delivered to the address listed. His vision forced him to ask himself the essential question “How would I buy wine online?” and his answers led him to rerouting the strategy of the company. He insisted that customers were more interested in having their alcohol needs fulfilled instantaneously and moved to create a situation where customer could:
- Buy mixed cases instead of 6 bottles of the same wine
- Have a quicker and more efficient delivery time
- Receive better prices and get great deals on wines
- Have a generally better experience with the company and feel personally looked after
It was for this reason that Cybercellar.com introduced the non-wine products to the site. It began with craft beer and whiskeys in February 2015, opened up to accessories in July 2015 and eventually started including all non-wine alcohols and mixers by November of the same year. Suddenly the customer could order their full alcohol list online and have it delivered straight to their door. Whether it be for the rugby game happening over the weekend, a dinner party, or the monthly shop; customers were now spending more time on the site, picking and choosing from the great deals offered to them on their favourite beers, wines, spirits and accessories .
Gavin Forsyth, Chief Marketing Officer of Cybercellar, has had a strong background in the eCommerce industry and has built his career around ensuring the online customer keeps coming back for more. No longer is online shopping merely just a luxury, it is now becoming a part of daily life. He states that “A key challenge for eCommerce sites is not only competing for wallet share with other eCommerce sites, but the traditional brick & mortar store too”.
According to Gavin the success of Cybercellar lies in the effortlessness of buying online and having your product delivered. This, together with the fact that the site offers great deals, monthly specials and unique wines that one cannot easily find in your local shop. The site also features great investment wines and absolute ‘must haves’ like the Meerlust Rubicon and Vin De Constance from Klein Constantia, which is a simple click away and within a few days, you can be the proud new owner of these legendary wines.