After a long hard day, you slump on the couch in front of the television enjoying a game of ball and have your favourite beer from across the globe delivered at your doorstep. Sounds like a dream, albeit a dream that can be turned into reality.
Wishbeer, a Thailand based e-commerce startup promises to deliver premium beer from around the globe to anywhere in Thailand. Jerome Le Louer, founder of Wishbeer shared with e27 that his love for beer, made him realise the fact that having one’s favourite beer delivered at the doorstep would be one of the coolest services ever.
Beer online…Where did that come from?
To understand Wishbeer, we tried to understand his passion for the drink. After living for sometime in France and enjoying the Belgian beer there, Le Louer had a hard time finding a brand of his choice in Thailand.
Ultimately, Le Louer’s love for the drink and fervour of having his own entrepreneurial unit, gave him the idea of Wishbeer. “Wishbeer was a challenge for me to start something on my own. I wanted this project to be an opportunity to learn about a new business, meet new people, give me new ideas, and have fun eventually,” expressed Le Louer.
Wishbeer was established in early 2013. Nonetheless, establishing Wishebeer was no piece of cake as along with the typical startup troubles, Le Loeur had to face issues regarding the unique item he had selected to sell online.
“I’m no web designer, I’m a finance guy – though, I’ve always been fascinated by web design and technology,” said Le Loeur. The website was designed by his friend eventually.
Logistics, inventory and delivery were the next potential headaches for the startup. The website initially had manual delivery model with a man going around the city on a bike.
Later, Wishbeer partnered with aCommerce, an end to end e-commerce solution company to overcome these challenges. Also, Wishbeer has a dedicated helpline number, where people can call if they have any questions about the product or services.
While the logistics bit took some time to settle, inventory was not a major hassle as the rotation is quite fast and beer can be stored for several months or years without the fear of going bad.
Is Thailand ready to get high on beer?
Currently, people either pay by credit card, cash or bank transfer which has been working quite well for the e-commerce site. However, Le Louer feels that certain improvements could help the business grow more. “I’d love to have a Thai bank process credit card payments, which are currently run by PayPal,” he said.
According to him the beer market in Bangkok is divided between foreigners and Thai customers. Thai customers, according to him, know little about the varieties of beer, and thus require more knowledge on it.
Marketing the service too is a challenge as only a few spots find a legal approval for advertising alcohol. According to Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, alcoholic beverages cannot be advertised in a manner that they directly or indirectly claim its benefits or promote its consumption. Also, Google does not allow alcohol related ads leaving organisations like Wishbeer with extremely slim pickings.
Nonetheless, the website is currently focusing on social media and its blog to generate content, but will eventually have to go beyond the two, to capture a larger market share.
Currently, Wishbeer is into B2C transactions however, Le Louer hopes that the website can eventually become a one stop shop for retailers like supermarkets, bars, restaurants and hotels too who don’t have time to manage several suppliers.