Who likes chocolate? Yes, everyone. Who wants to stay in shape and fit? Also everyone. Can you combine both? Yes! FRANKY Chocolate has developed a unique recipe by combining the best ingredients to achieve exactly that! Find out how the founder, Frank Zummer, uses Shopify and byrd to take his chocolate business to the next level on a global scale.
Frank had the fun idea to make chocolate for the first time in 2016 when he noticed that everyone is producing healthy protein bars containing loads of protein, but there was no healthy alternative for chocolate yet. In 2017 he decided to go to a chocolate trade-fair in Cologne to explore different producers and talk about his idea. One of the producers agreed to send samples that in fact were surprisingly good. This marked the official start of his ambitious project.
Unfortunately, he soon realized that the capital market was not interested enough in participating in his vision. That is why he decided to continue without external funding.
Based on the dark chocolate samples he had received, he decided to start with a limited product range with 3 different flavors in total. Frank knew that he had to follow a digital-first approach to be in a position to grow rapidly. On the one hand, this enabled him to keep his fixed costs relatively low, and on the other hand, to reach his customers efficiently via social media.
His Shopware-based webshop was launched in October 2017 and started getting traction quickly. The fulfillment of the incoming orders was done in-house, making sure the whole customer experience was memorable. Together with his team, he was packaging the orders, adding personal notes, and shipping them via various carriers. This worked well at the beginning and people loved the personal touch. However, with thousands of orders coming in, it became clear that this is not scalable.
FRANKY Chocolate searched for a logistics company that could help to store and deliver the products to their customers so that the startup can focus on growing their business.
After the initial traction, Franky noticed that the further scale-up phase did not work as expected. Conversion rates decreased while spendings continued to increase. Something needed to be done.
In the first quarter of 2020, FRANKY Chocolate was at risk of running out of money because orders were not growing as expected and there was an increasing number of occurring problems. When the pandemic hit, things got worse and Frank knew that he either had to shut down the business or restart from scratch. He decided to go for the latter and went all-in by investing the resources that were left into the relaunch of the business in mid-2020.
For that, FRANKY Chocolate launched a new webshop with Shopify and made a complete Rebranding. The user-friendliness of Shopify enabled him to easily set up a new webshop and add payment options as well as other functionalities with only a few clicks and without having the need for technical expertise.
Shopify’s user-centricity is incomparable to other tools and everything is designed in such a way that it drives up conversion rates.
In addition, Franky searched for a new fulfillment provider that could facilitate future growth as well.
Since his previous logistics provider did not provide the much-needed technology to manage order fulfillment, the processes were characterized by a lot of manual work, and Frank Zummer knew that he had to switch to a better setup. He found byrd while doing desk research via Google. In total, he compared about 10 e-commerce fulfillment providers.
He directly fell in love with the user-friendly interface byrd’s logistics software provides which seamlessly integrates with his Shopify store. But the main reason why he decided to work with byrd, was its international logistics network which he could rely on when growing his business. After a lot of market research, Frank was aware of the high expectations online shoppers have when it comes to parcel delivery. As a consequence, he wanted to use two warehouses, one in Germany and one in Austria, when expanding in the DACH region. With byrd, using multiple warehouses for optimized cross-border fulfillment was an easy feat.
As a result, FRANKY Chocolate could work with one single Third-Party-Logistics provider and one single Account Manager on its side to efficiently manage their order fulfillment and grow their business internationally.
In Austria, FRANKY Chocolate orders are fulfilled via DPD while in Germany FRANKY Chocolate’s unique protein chocolate bars are shipped via DHL. But this was not always the case. At the beginning of the journey with byrd, they were delivered via GLS in Germany. However, many customers experienced issues with the shipping service provider. This increased the workload for the customer support significantly and had a negative impact on the customer experience. Frank Zummer reacted quickly and asked byrd to switch from GLS to DHL, despite the higher costs. Nonetheless, the increase in shipping prices is remedied with a reduced workload for the customer care team and has had a positive impact on customers’ satisfaction and brand loyalty.
In 2020 FRANKY Chocolate experienced massive growth and was able to scale-up its business that is on a mission to revolutionize the chocolate industry. The three key ingredients for the success were:
With the learnings he had made, Frank Zummer has decided to tackle the next challenge, searching for new markets to expand to. Because of the high e-commerce penetration and the people’s desire to eat chocolate, the United Kingdom was chosen as the next market. By bringing FRANKY Chocolate to Great Britain, Frank is convinced that he can make people’s life healthier by providing a healthy alternative to the current consumption patterns.
Luckily, with Shopify’s option to internationalize the webshop as well as byrd’s warehouse in the United Kingdom, which is part of byrd’s European Fulfillment Network, expanding the business was not too complex.
Especially with the implications of Brexit, the shipping process from the fulfillment center in Germany would have been too long and costly. That is why FRANKY Chocolate chose to ship all orders for UK-based customers directly from the United Kingdom right from the start.
Today, FRANKY Chocolate’s protein chocolate bars are being shipped from three different warehouses in three countries.
When asked what he likes most about the partnership with byrd, Frank says:
I love the practicality of byrd and that I can work with one single fulfillment provider to grow internationally. Without byrd, the shipping costs would destroy my margin.
FRANKY Chocolate has ambitious plans to further grow in Europe and beyond and make its healthy chocolate bars easily accessible to people worldwide. Looking at the market and eating behavior in the USA, he is quite sure that jumping upon the pond will happen sooner or later.
At the same time, FRANKY Chocolate is continuously adding new products to its product range and they also began working on the subscription-based option, which can be done easily via Shopify as well.
In order to make his vision come true, he is planning to build a great team with talent that will help him to become a well-known brand like Quest Nutrition. Last but not least, to succeed with the ambitious plans in the next 5-10 years, he also needs a reliable fulfillment partner that has the capacities and industry-related know-how that will enable FRANKY Chocolate to grow on a global scale – and Frank is convinced that byrd is the perfect fit for this role.