Together with his wife, Siegfried Nicklaus has been selling Mediterranean delicatessen and gift articles in the German store “Fass’l von Passau” (the barrel of Passau) since 1995. The shop in the heart of Passau invites customers to taste test with all senses. Not only vinegars and oils, but also a selection of high-quality liquor is offered at the Fass’l: Whisky, brandies, liqueurs, wines and more.
During the lockdowns in 2020, the shop owners decided to adapt the Fass’l to the needs of the customers to safeguard any impending loss of sales. This resulted in their own online shop – “Das Fass’l Dahoam” (the barrel at home). We asked Siegfried Nicklaus what tips they can give other local businesses to successfully enter ecommerce.
How did you come up with the idea to start your local business in Passau?
My wife Melanie originally came up with the idea. As a former hotel manager with a great passion for good food and drink, the starting point for her was to be able to offer customers (almost) everything that is liquid and delicious. Today, the shop has become our home. We offer our customers any Mediterranean delights in our Fass’l. What makes us special is not only the good service and advice, but also refilling the bottles in individual sizes.
You entered the online business a little over a year ago. Why was an online shop important for you?
The development in the city centres requires a multi-channel strategy that corresponds to the changing needs of the customers. Online, people can find information about our business and assortment 24/7. With our online shop, we now make it possible for our customers’ favourite products to be available at home.
Did you already have an online presence before, for example through a website or a Google entry?
Yes, we created a Google Business profile and have our own website where we give general information about our shop and a rough overview of the product range.
What has changed in the last year running your online shop?
Through our online shop, which we opened in 2020 in the middle of the Corona lockdown, we were able to secure sales that might otherwise have been lost. Most customers who have already been to the Fass’l ordered from us. We now ship about half of the orders across Germany, the other half are local customers around Passau who don’t come into town that often anymore.
We need additional time to maintain the online shop and pack the goods, but all in all we have generated more turnover as a result. Looking back, it was exactly the right time to start selling online.
Which functions are particularly important for you?
What drives us is the satisfaction of our customers. With our ePages online shop, we have a customer-friendly checkout, which we benefit from.
We also like the independence in creating and maintaining the shop, which is especially important for us. In addition, the administration area is convenient because order confirmations, invoices and delivery notes are generated automatically.
What are your future plans for your online shop?
We would like to focus more on emotional content in the future. There will be an image video on the online shop, and we also want to introduce our suppliers. As far as interaction with customers is concerned, we can imagine, for example, a recipe page “by customers for customers” that makes creative use of our products.
What can you recommend to merchants who want to enter ecommerce now?
I can only advise small and medium-sized local businesses to start a parallel sales model. Our customers from the stationary business have accepted our online shop offer very well and can now shop conveniently even when the shop door is closed.
Also, it is important to make customers aware of the online shop. At that time, we distributed flyers with the shop link to every customer in the shop. We also have a notice in the shop window and link to our shop via our website and social media.