Shanghai-based BottlesXO vows to get cut-price wine to customers in Hong Kong in 60 minutes - and at the perfect temperature

Company hopes to gain edge in city’s increasingly competitive on-demand delivery industry for F&B with time guarantees, better customer service

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 December, 2015, 6:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 11 December, 2015, 7:49pm

Wine delivery start-up BottlesXO launched its services in Hong Kong this week, jumping into the city’s crowded on-demand delivery industry for food and beverages.

It hopes to gain an edge by guaranteeing delivery of cut-price brands and vintages to customers’ doors within 60 minutes.

Hong Kong is the third city in which the start-up is offering its wine-delivery services after its home base of Shanghai and neighbouring Suzhou in east China’s Jiangsu province.

Now, customers in expat-heavy Hong Kong locations like Central, Sheung Wan and Mid-levels can order their favourite tipple from the company’s mobile app and expect it to arrive within a reasonable time and, according to the company, at just the perfect temperature.

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“In Asia, wines offered in supermarkets are often expensive and mass-produced,” said co-founder Thilo Fuchs, who attributed the high prices to the number of middlemen who take their cut including exporters, wholesalers and retailers.

“At BottlesXO, we want to make good wine accessible and affordable by connecting the customer to the wine producer more closely,” he added.

The start-up curates its wine selection, selecting red, white, rosé and sparkling wines directly from boutique European wineries. Prices are kept low as BottlesXO is the only intermediary, which also translates as more profit for wine producers.

“With BottlesXO, customers are paying about 20 per cent less for our wines compared to the retail price,” said Fuchs.

Reds and whites start from HK$95 (US$12), while fizzy wines like prosecco or cheap champagne cost upwards of HK$150. Delivery is free, even if a customer only orders one bottle.

As competition in Hong Kong heats up among on-demand food and beverage delivery companies such as foodora and Deliveroo, BottlesXO hopes to set itself apart by focusing on customer service, it said.

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Its drivers are trained on how to correctly open bottles of wine for customers and they are given an understanding of what type of wine they are delivering, according to the company.

“This puts a personal touch in the whole customer experience,” said Fuchs, adding that BottlesXO can even cater to picnics, complete with glasses.

The company wants to introduce a new generation of drinkers to the world of wine, in a region where the knowledge and appreciation of it has not yet reached European levels, it said.

“We want to show young professionals in their mid-20s in Asia that wine can be an integral part of their day,” Fuchs said.

To help beginners, the start-up includes suggestions of food pairings with each of its wine offerings.

It plans to roll out its delivery services to the rest of Hong Kong by next February before expanding to more cities in the region, it said.