Lindt opened its first ecommerce store in 5 days to serve customers in a COVID-19 world

Previous platform

Born on Shopify Plus

Industry

Food and beverage

Use case

Launch speed

A pile of Lindt chocolates next to a mug of hot cocoa.

Celebrating its 175th anniversary, Swiss chocolate pioneer Lindt & Sprüngli was preparing for another busy shopping period. As customers rush to buy the Lindt Gold Bunny and other seasonal chocolates, Easter is one of the company’s largest annual sales periods.

The unforeseen impact of COVID-19 forced Lindt Canada to close all its stores nationwide. Without ecommerce functionality, the company had a large inventory of chocolate with no way to get it to its loyal customers. With Shopify Plus, Lindt has been able to:

  • Launch an online store in five days
  • Enable curbside pickup across much of the country
  • Reach shoppers directly during Lindt’s second-largest annual sales period
Lindt product shot 1

Challenge

As the impact of COVID-19 became clear, Lindt made the difficult decision to close its 56 Canadian stores on Mar. 17, 2020. While the company website provided nutritional information and recipes, it had no ecommerce capability to deliver items to shoppers.

This left Lindt with plenty of seasonal chocolate that its shoppers simply could not buy, and a particular urgency to get an online store up and running.

The company had to hop to it. Easter was right around the corner.

Going into this was a major hit. Easter is our second-largest season, and although we had planned to launch ecommerce in 2021, we suddenly had to get online—fast. We thought, ‘How do we deal with this?’

Kairen WuVice President Marketing, Lindt Canada
Lindt product shot 2

Solution

On Mar. 25, Lindt contacted Shopify Plus to begin the process of founding an online store. Once its website domain was secured, Lindt chose a theme and worked with Shopify Plus to create a look and feel that matched Lindt’s branding, while also offering a simple catalog format to showcase its seasonal Easter chocolates.

A limited inventory of 40 SKUs was made available for purchase online. Lindt then selected 16 of its Canadian stores where service was feasible so that a buy-online, curbside pickup system could be enabled there, too.

Lindt product shot 3

Lindt used Shopify Plus’ admin to add the final touches, including product information (photos, titles, and tags) for its 40 SKUs, and store information (address, phone, and hours of operation details) for its 16 curbside pickup locations.

At Lindt’s stores, Shopify Plus helped design a simple process to make curbside pickup possible:

  • Before the shopper places an order, they enter a postal code and select their nearest store location. They can then view address details and opening hours.
  • When the order is placed, this information is made available to the local store manager. They can view customer details and which items have been purchased.
  • The store staff collect the items and package them in a gift bag for the shopper, then mark it as ready for pickup.
  • The shopper arrives at the Lindt store at a time convenient to them and calls the store phone number.
  • A Lindt staff member brings the items out and places them in a contactless place, such as at the curb or in the trunk of a car, for pickup.
  • The customer heads home to enjoy their chocolate, and the Lindt staff member marks the order as “picked up.”

The scope and speed of a project can feel daunting and overwhelming, but sometimes you’re faced with situations like this. The team at Shopify Plus was amazing, with a positive, can-do attitude that helped us parse it out. The platform is so easy to use, which really helped as we needed to train our store managers and retail teams remotely.

Michelle KellnerDirector of Marketing Communications and Operations, Lindt Canada

Results

By Mar. 31, only five days after its first contact with Shopify Plus, Lindt’s online store was live.

It was an Easter reprieve, a way to reach customers it would not otherwise have been able to during Lindt’s second-largest sales opportunity of the year. And there were other things to celebrate, too. Curbside pickup gave the right experience at a time when many brands struggle to reach customers with a personal flourish.

“Selling online is something we’ve never done before,” says Lucy Wisniewski, store manager at a Toronto Lindt location. “It was very busy, and it blew my mind. I did not expect it to be this popular, and it really took off. Our shoppers really liked it. They were so grateful and happy that they could get their chocolate for Easter.”

With the store up-and-running in its first iteration, Shopify Plus is now working with Lindt to add new functionality, including:

  • Enabling local delivery to shoppers across the country 
  • Adding new language capabilities to the store
  • Expanding product inventory, including selling fresh products like gourmet coffee and milkshakes
  • Leveraging the Shopify Plus Merchant Growth Model, a tailored roadmap for growth offered to all Shopify Plus merchants, to guide acquisition, conversion, retention, and operational commerce best practices for its new online store

We had fantastic feedback from our customers, many of them telling us that we helped save Easter. In this crisis, every day can seem to run into the next. But our customers told us that we gave them a way to come together and celebrate, and feel a bit special and closer to normal. We’re now working with the team at Shopify Plus to build on this foundation.

Kairen WuVice President Marketing, Lindt Canada

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