SUCCESS STORY: Libbey

SUCCESS STORY: Libbey

Company overview

Libbey (EMEA) is a specialist in high-quality table glassware and has been active in this area for more than 200 years. They have a rich history and have accumulated expertise and reputation, making them one of the biggest manufacturers of quality glassware.

The company remains one of the largest producers of quality glassware in the world today. In fact, there's an excellent chance you have sipped from one of their tumblers or champagne flutes at some point. The company is well-established in two leading European glass production cities, Leerdam (The Netherlands) and Marinha Grande (Portugal), known as 'The Crystal City.' Their ongoing success has come from a proactive approach to innovation and continuous investment in new technologies and more sustainable processes.

The situation

Until recently, Libbey's business model has only focused on business-to-business (B2B). Just a few years ago, the company dipped its toes into the world of e-commerce and a direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution model.

As is the case with most businesses that shift away from a B2B-only model, Libbey found that many of their existing processes needed to change to cater to new consumer expectations. Shipping, for example, had always been done 'by the pallet,' and both logistics and customer service provisions were all set up to work with this kind of model.

A major challenge for Libbey included finding a way to connect their old system with the 'real world.' How could they efficiently produce the right invoices for a new class of customers, and how could they manage their orders with an easier interface?

The solution

Libbey needed to bridge the gap between their old systems as a manufacturer and a new D2C enterprise model that enabled smooth e-commerce operations. After looking at all the options, Libbey started working with ChannelEngine.

Unlike many other companies, Libbey did not have the infrastructure to manage stock and inventory easily. A priority was to nurture the business as it grew into its new model and grow the knowledge base required to succeed. Because the existing PIM wasn't well-suited to e-commerce, the company began by listing directly onto the platform itself and using this as the inventory management system.

"ChannelEngine has shown a flexible way of working. Now we have a PIM, and we're working the 'normal' ChannelEngine way. We've been really pleased with the individual approach to growing the existing business." – Hidde van der Heide, Marketplace Manager Libbey EMEA.

Working with ChannelEngine made it easier and more accessible for Libbey to grow their online sales, with a modular way of working that facilitates sustainable scaling-up of a consumer-focused business.

With the ChannelEngine dashboard, the company now has a great overview of its stock. It can use data insights to refine pricing strategies, understand and minimize returns, and optimize listing content. The company can optimize all its content across the web using keyword insights. By looking carefully at returns information, the company can select packaging options that result in less breakage and better returns rates. This means a happy customer when they unwrap their beautiful new glassware.

The results

When Libbey stepped into the world of e-commerce, they started with Bol.com, Amazon.de, and C-Discount. Using ChannelEngine to unify and manage the whole ordering process enables Libbey to have a total overview of their stock. It also simplifies order fulfillment and administration too. Within a short period, the company went from offering zero products directly to the consumer to sell more than 160 different lines across multiple marketplaces.

In 2021, sales jumped some 400% from 2020 levels, and the company expects to see even more growth next year. This expansion into a D2C model has been very successful for Libbey, and the company is looking to extend its products to Allegro and their own webshop in the near future. Fulfillment processes now work very smoothly. This is currently done using FBA in Germany and in the Netherlands via a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, something that will be rolled out next year in Europe.

Next steps

In the last few years, Libbey has seen that "success is all in the preparation."

While Libbey is currently using FBA for most of their sales (via Amazon), they will continue with a sustainable growth plan that moves closer to 3PL and eventually their own logistics solutions.

Shortly, Libbey will be working with ChannelEngine to continue their expansion into Eastern European and Nordic markets and Russia.

One hurdle for Libbey to overcome is the language issue for customer service and 3PL providers as they expand into new territories. The company prioritizes quality, so they are careful not to grow beyond their capacity. However, working in partnership with ChannelEngine, the future for Libbey looks very promising indeed.

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