Guerilla ad campaign

Wolt attacks Lieferando – a little

The Wolt guerrilla poster campaign in Berlin.
The Wolt guerrilla poster campaign in Berlin.

Last August, Finnish delivery service Wolt launched in Germany, challenging Lieferando's monopoly. In doing so, the start-up is proceeding cautiously and is now testing for the first time which communication measures could help with the expansion. The first step is a guerrilla campaign in Berlin. Because Wolt sees itself as a provider of a "hyperlocal product", the poster campaign will only be rolled out hyperlocally for the time being, mainly in the Schöneberg district.

In Wolt's case,hyperlocal means that consumers are only shown offers that are within a radius of about three kilometers from their address. This is to ensure that the ordered meal also arrives warm. For the most part, these are also restaurants that do not operate their own delivery service.

The campaign, which was mainly created in-house and together with the brand team in Helsinki, consists of four motifs in A1 poster format. They have been displayed in the Berlin district since the beginning of this week and will later be tested with advertising impact tools. The guerrilla campaign is supported by classic direct mail. The campaign will be even more minimalistic: "We are taking a more granular approach here, below postcode level," says Felix Ecke, Head of Marketing Wolt Germany. There is also a video presentation that can be seen on Youtube.

Ecke wants to wait about two weeks, then the campaign will be tested for its advertising impact. Among other things, order numbers, new customers, app downloads and recurring orders will be measured.

Efficient use of the marketing budget

The comparatively small communication impact is on the one hand due to a small marketing budget, which should however be spent efficiently. Just in February, the startup received another round of around 440 million euros in one of several funding rounds. In total, it has raised 707 million euros so far. The money available is to be "spent in a considered manner", says Ecke.

On the other hand, the approach also corresponds to how Wolt envisions expansion in the German market in general: "We are moving forward in small steps," says the marketing boss. "City by city and area by area." In Germany, the start-up got underway in Berlin in August 2020, and the service is now also available in Munich and Frankfurt.

Large-scale competition difficult for all sides

This may well be strategically advantageous, as past experience shows that large-scale competition between delivery services in Germany can be no matter how fierce and only end well for one in the end: this is what happened two and a half years ago when the rivalry between the Dutch (Lieferando) and Delivery Hero (Lieferheld and Foodora) came to an end - an end that left only Lieferando in Germany.

However, Wolt from Finland does not want to get into such a fierce battle in the first place. And that also has to do with its self-image: "We don't see ourselves as a platform that merely takes over the digital link between restaurant and consumer," explains Ecke. Because often the competition would only offer the interface, the delivery would then often be done by the provider itself. "We, on the other hand, are an independent courier service that also wants to deliver much more than food in the long term. Wolt wants to become the alternative to online retailers in the local."

The company is already closer to this goal in its home market of Finland, where customers can have everything from groceries to shoes delivered to their homes. At Christmas, even a Christmas tree and gifts from the local stationary trade. In Berlin, they experimented with ordering bouquets of flowers for Valentine's Day in February, and Munich residents can currently also have chocolates delivered.

Customer should not only think about the delivered product

Brand perception is therefore close to Wolt's heart. The customer should not simply think of the delivered product, no matter who brings it to him. Instead, Wolt wants to be perceived as a starting point. "The customer experience is therefore very important to us," says Ecke. To make it the best it can be, Wolt goes to considerable expense: the courier drivers are, for the most part, permanent employees. Every new restaurant on offer is visited by a professional photographer, who takes photos of every single dish, making them visible in the app. In addition, there is a dedicated customer service team that is in constant contact with the delivery fleet and can take care of any problems within minutes, according to Eckes.

All of this is well received by customers, again according to Ecke. So far, Wolt is active in 23 countries and 155 cities; Berlin was the most successful start in the company's history. However, the marketing director does not give any figures, except for the number of couriers:"We started in Berlin with 20 drivers, and now there are more than 2000 throughout Germany."

Whether the pandemic has helped or even hindered this? So far, Ecke has had both negative and positive experiences: The start in Frankfurt had to be postponed and the integration of new restaurants has become more difficult, because Wolt likes to explain the concept personally on site, which is hardly possible anymore. Many restaurants have also had to close their doors in the meantime.

On the other hand, the topic of delivery has come into focus for many gastronomic businesses in the past six months in particular, so that the demand is nevertheless there. Since November, the team has actually been working around the clock, says Ecke, to help accordingly. "We already imagined the set-up differently," he says. "But for this, we can be really satisfied."

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