Entrepreneur Month Interview South Africa

Pouring out the power of partnerships with Cybercellar and Quicket

Gavin Forsyth, chief marketing officer of Cybercellar, says: "Wine is one of the few truly lifestyle FMCG products out there. This means that brand affinity isn't just created by the product itself, but also by the environment in which it is consumed. It therefore makes sense to incorporate events with wine, allowing us to provide customers with a complementary service to enhance their Cybercellar.com experience." Forsyth shares more on the power of collaborative partnerships.

Having been in e-commerce since “pretty much day one”, Forsyth started off in the homeware space at HomeChoice; then moved on to multi-category e-commerce with Takealot and Kalahari. He has since moved back into the single e-commerce category at Cybercellar, which has been in operation since 1997 and is seen as the go-to site to purchase alcoholic beverages and accessories online. See how busy they were on Black Friday in the tweet embedded below:

Marketing for startups in this entrepreneurial time

Setting the scene, Forsyth says our economy is not just young, it’s also unique in the context of other emerging markets. “Because of this, it’s tough to create businesses modeled on ones with proven success overseas.” That’s why we need to figure things out for ourselves in a completely original way, which is his definition of entrepreneurship. To crack it as an entrepreneur, Forsyth says you need to be innovative, creative, a problem solver, risk taker, inspirational leader and just a tiny bit crazy. And while he wouldn’t describe himself as a real entrepreneur – rather as a marketer with an entrepreneurial spirit (no pun intended), Forsyth says the biggest lesson he’s learned is that just because you think an idea is good, and all your friends agree with you, doesn’t mean it is. That’s because in most cases, you are not your target market. That’s why you should test your idea with real people before taking it to the next stage of development.

With this collaborative nature in mind, Forsyth says it’s particularly tricky to define his responsibilities as a marketer in a startup environment, but is essentially responsible for growing the business by adding value for existing customers as well as reaching new customers. This takes the form of anything from improving navigation on the site to setting up partnership deals with other brand aligned companies.

The customer convenience of business collaboration

Elaborating on the benefit of partnerships and how e-commerce companies can work together to boost each other’s bottom line, Forsyth says the hallmarks of a partnership with great potential are when two companies are operating in a similar space, but not competing with one another.

One such partnership with the self-managing event ticketing system, Quicket, integrates the platforms into a streamlined experience where you can book any wine, beer and spirit-related festivals and events and also order alcoholic beverages.

Simply put, the partnership came about with Quicket selling tickets online, and Cybercellar selling wine (and alcohol) online. It made a lot of sense for both businesses, as Quicket could add value to their event organisers by listing their events on a relevant website (and tapping into very relevant site traffic), while Cybercellar could offer their customers something new, and potentially gain a few new customers along the way. Forsyth says, “Ultimately, this partnership allows Quicket to provide an unrivaled offering to any organiser running a food or alcohol event, thus gaining market share within that sector.” And from a Cybercellar perspective, being the go-to site for all events and festivals related to food, wine, craft beer, gin and the like, it’s an excellent form of convenience for anyone looking for a great lifestyle experience related to the products already being sold on the site.

Of course the best partnerships snowball and pick up steam as they progress, with the latest exciting development for this partnership being the addition of the upcoming inner city wine tasting adventure, Tuning the Vine.

Image © –
Image © – Tuning the City

This will create the opportunity for greater exposure and wine sales for producers signing up to be a part of the Tuning the Vine #InnerCityWineRoute experience.

Visit the Cybercellar website and follow them on Twitter for more.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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