Belgian Delights expands beyond wholesale to D2C business model

Belgian Delights expands beyond wholesale to D2C business model

An Australian chocolate manufacturer known for its authentic European-style chocolates, Belgian Delights, has recently transitioned from a B2B to a D2C model through the use of NetSuite, expanding its business into the retail sector. 

Belgian Delights general manager, Christophe Verstreken explains the company’s transformation since becoming a NetSuite customer.

“The decision to expand from wholesale to include a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model was driven by our desire to bring exquisite chocolate to more people and create a more direct connection with consumers,” he told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“We already had such deep customer insights from existing data, as well as confidence in the track and traceability of our products and ingredients, it was a no-brainer to further extend the use of our NetSuite ERP system to branch out into D2C. This has allowed us to grow our offering to more than 240 products which are sold online.”

When the company made the decision to enter the retail space, expanding the product range rapidly, there were far more processes involved. Belgian Delights needed full visibility of its supply chain and manufacturing processes, as well as being able to easily trace and process information on ingredients, nutrition and allergens.

“This information is critical when we produce labelling, which is done using special software. The smallest change needs to be changed on the label in a matter of clicks and NetSuite was able to accommodate this process seamlessly,” Verstreken said.

“Also, as stock levels of retail products tend to fluctuate, NetSuite helps us predict demand so that we can avoid waste, such as excess stock. Supply chain and manufacturing visibility aside, NetSuite empowered us to establish a direct connection with consumers through websites and digital platforms. It integrates seamlessly with Shopify which means we can avoid double-handling. All our orders, customers, stock levels and prices are synchronised across these two programs.”

Verstreken believes an omnichannel business model is important in today’s retail landscape as it provides flexibility and an opportunity to expand and grow, while delivering a seamless and consistent customer experience.  

“However, this is not without its challenges. Supply chain complexity, back-office admin, and multiple subsidiaries to maintain growth across all channels can be challenging, so a solution to help manage this is key. Hence our decision to use NetSuite, a flexible cloud-based platform that can scale with us as we grow.”

The history of Belgian Delights

The business is inspired by a passion sustained through three generations: to create exquisite couverture chocolates for the local market.

“The Verstreken family’s enthusiasm for chocolate initially began in Belgium with my granddad, Pierre Verstreken, a baker, chocolatier and pâtissier. My parents, Robert and Monique migrated to Australia in 1987 and opened a specialty chocolate and pastry shop, where they sold their goods to local retail and wholesale clients. My brother, Dominique and I returned to Belgium in the 90s to learn the chocolate trade in the authentic Belgian way,” Verstreken said.

“Over the last 15+ years we have evolved from primarily servicing the wholesale food service industry, providing fine chocolates to some of the world’s biggest brands, including Sheraton, Marriott and Sofitel, to also focusing on specialty retail, like cafes and delis, and most recently direct-to-consumer (D2C). 

“We have always taken pride in producing superior products, and with our Queensland Chocolate and Local Cocoa Brands, we focus on locally Australian sourced ingredients to challenge the perception that exceptional chocolate must be imported.”