Dengo: the delicious experience of live ecommerce
Dengo’s sales of luxury chocolate are thriving during the pandemic, with a live store experience that connects the buyer with the sensory affair of premium desserts. This Brazilian luxury chocolate brand chose to upgrade its unique customer experience by combining the VTEX Commerce Platform capabilities with StreamShop’s digital content-producing talent. And the jewel of this ambitious project is a live-streaming solution that brings all Dengo’s customs straight to you without breaking the social distancing rule.
Dengo was born from a social project initiative in 2017, one focused on generating wealth, bringing dignity and fair remuneration to small and medium cacao farmers in Bahia. The question became how to transform a social project into a business with social impact. Guilherme Leal and Estevan Sartoreli are the brains behind this admirable endeavor that goes beyond commerce and technology.
“We believe that by making such changes in the way we do our business, we are promoting a better world. Dengo is the taste of changing the world.”Estevan Sartoreli, CEO of Dengo
A business with respect for nature
“Dengo” is a very Brazilian word. It can mean many good things: tenderness, care, affection, exchange, a gift. It can also be used to refer to our loved ones. Judging by all those positive associations, one could even say that the world needs more dengo. The brand has a very unique business model because they monitor the production of cacao, they select all the beans, and they make the chocolate and all steps are related to environment protection, the forests, and love for native flora and fauna. Simply put, Dengo differentiates itself through responsible sourcing, attention to detail, and an extreme focus on experience and customer service.
Founded with nature and tradition at heart, Dengo’s chocolate experts and chocolate makers develop Brazilian mixtures that combine taste and health, all in a deeply sensory experience meant to show your tastebuds what’s good. Paying more attention to the main resource, cacao, and buying over the average market price, Dengo encourages a fair and transparent remuneration system, unaffected by the rules of competitive pricing.
“What the farmer receives is a premium price over the commodity price that is negotiated in the New York exchange. We must pay more to show respect for people’s income and living standards.”Estevan Sartoreli, CEO of Dengo
There are three pillars in Dengo’s business proposition. At the top of the list, there is respect for all the stakeholders that make the chocolate brand run to its potential: from the farmers to the employees who share Dengo’s values entirely. The second pillar is inspiring customers and other brands to act consciously about their business model. Last but not least, at the basis of chocolate production lies a clean and simple method: high-quality ingredients are most important.
With reduced use of packaging and over 60% of the expenditure going into prime materials, Dengo prides itself with an ever-widening culture for sustainability. The customer pays the same price as premium chocolate on the market in Brazil with minimum added sugar, no saturated fats or aromatizers.
“In Dengo we have a special treat for our customers because we value people. And we value them every step of the way, from those we buy our cocoa beans from, to every single person in our team, to the end-customer, the one who eats our product. Respect is the basis of all our activities. Everyone we work with connects with our cause and values.”Estevan Sartoreli, CEO of Dengo
Less physical, just as engaging
Since Dengo was born, it had an ecommerce channel with VTEX, which was performing at a low level compared to brick-and-mortar revenue. The coronavirus caused companies to reinvent their integration between physical stores and e-commerce. Luckily enough, Dengo started working on their live experience in 2017.
Inspired by a cheese shop in Amsterdam where the customer could access the store online and click on physical products in the windows to see their description, Estevan brought this idea to Marcio Machado, founder of StreamShop, and the duo took this as their new digital goal. Through ecommerce, they wanted to replicate the warmth of human experience and arranged a live streaming service in the Dengo store, set to replicate the real-life experience.
They used their brick-and-mortar sales team to bring that in-store feeling to the digital channel. When asked about what determined Dengo to up its game and adapt to the live commerce solution, Estevan said that “ecommerce needs to be more humane”. The premise was to give people what they are missing: human interaction, real content, a perfect replica of what they would have had in the real world.
The cocoa is live!
The live experience project was ready in November 2019, way before any pandemic in sight. Not sure if they had great intuition and anticipated it, but Dengo for sure has hit the jackpot by preparing their online experience beforehand. In only a few months, the mission was accomplished: to create a live-stream sales channel to engage customers.
The way live ecommerce works is quite simple: as you log into Dengo’s online store, you can see the “shop live online” icon in the upper right corner. Almost instantly, a specialist will appear live on your desktop to guide you through the premium chocolate world as if you were right there, tasting the sweetness. You make your pick, add it to the basket and a food delivery third-party will pick up your order and have it delivered to your door within an hour. The live streaming working hours are between 12 pm and 8 pm Brazil time.
What the client doesn’t see is the video equipment installed in front of the counter and fully connected with the online platform. There were no platform costs incurred for Dengo for their live commerce experience, and the setup of the integrations is very easy. Behind the curtains, there is a classic headless, API-oriented, custom-built application.
Headless Commerce is the modern approach by which a business is empowered to select and assemble various commerce solutions and use them to satisfy specific requirements, just like Dengo’s live experience. Moreover, it allows you to opt for the best of breed third-party solutions. Even better, imagine the internal architecture of live streaming as a layered interface where the upper slice is what the customer sees on the website and the lower slice is the commerce platform APIs working to turn clicks into orders. Now, in-between, add a middle row with a video transmission that fits perfectly with the other two. That’s the live commerce experience tool.
“Dengo and StreamShop launched the live option in the middle of the pandemic. I think it was very good that we create a different kind of operation that doesn’t increase the workload of the client leading with the commerce, the client can manage all the catalog through VTEX, making it fully connected and very easy to operate.”Marcio Machado, Founder of StreamShop
Overcoming the virus with chocolate
Before the pandemic started in March, the ecommerce of Dengo used to have a few orders a day. After brick-and-mortar stores were closed their ecommerce experienced a boom of over 1000% increase in orders per day. The market leaders nowadays are the ones who did their ecommerce homework well before the pandemic and invested in what matters the most: engaging with the customers in every channel.
“In the beginning, we had no idea how to estimate the costs of the live stream implementation but we knew we had to do it because it brought so much value to the brand.”Estevan Sartoreli, CEO of Dengo
Physical shopping and ecommerce can hardly be separated, but rather taken together. Estevan’s take on the phenomenon is that “the stronger you are in one, the better you will perform in the other as well”. Another important factor that determines the success of a business is customer fidelity and engagement with your community. So let’s not underestimate the power of a very good local presence.
The Dengo live store was born to create a new shopping experience, maintaining the touch and proximity of human contact while using all the potential that technology and the internet have to offer. The store was the first to make a model of its kind in Brazil. Estevan said he doesn’t want Dengo to outgrow itself, he wants things to be humane, honest and environmentally friendly. His last take on the future of Dengo was rather simple but thoughtful: “we don’t need it to be perfect; we need to be humans.”