Skip to content

Pott Au Chocolat
Marie-Luise Langehenke| Dortmund, Germany
“It was such a relief that we made the decision to lean into digital when we did. It provided a solid base to build from in a confusing time. Honestly, I don’t know how we would have managed without it.”
Marie-Luise Langehenke, Pott au Chocolat

Pott au Chocolat’s enhanced digital capabilities allowed it to quickly adapt and seize the initiative as many businesses across Europe struggled.

Marie-Luise Langehenke never imagined she’d become a chocolate maker. Yet, for as long as she can remember, she had a sense that chocolate should be much higher-quality—and much more sustainably and ethically produced—than the options typically available. In 2008, she took matters into her own hands and opened Pott au Chocolat with her business partner. Thanks to enhanced digital capabilities enacted prior to the pandemic, the company was able to quickly adapt and seize the initiative as many businesses across Europe struggled to pivot.

While initially focused on in-person customers, Pott au Chocolat had a website since early on and Marie-Luise—who handled marketing for the company—increasingly recognized the promise of promoting her business online. In 2019, the co-owner of this German small business transformed her website into a more functional online shop. Marie-Luise Langehenke also leaned into digital marketing and, by using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Ads, she was able to better understand her customers and reach them more effectively. She also launched an email newsletter and began writing more on the Pott au Chocolat blog. This represented the beginning of what would become a more sustained effort to raise brand awareness and cultivate a broader online community—something that would prove valuable in the trying times to come. “It was such a relief that we made the decision to lean into digital when we did,” Marie-Luise explains. “It provided a solid base to build from in a confusing time. Honestly, I don’t know how we would have managed without it.”

While Pott au Chocolat’s stores were allowed to remain open during the pandemic, customers soon slowed to a trickle—so much so that it often did not make sense to keep the doors open. But Marie-Luise was prepared. As explained above, she turned to the tools and digital strategies her business had already implemented just prior to the pandemic—and doubled down where she could. Her online sales soon took off. That’s when other tools became increasingly important such as Google My Business, which allowed the company to keep up with customers digitally and quickly answer their questions.

“We explained the key elements of our mission, such as how we work in collaboration with local cocoa producers and how we ensure that they are fairly paid,” Marie-Luise explained. Customers responded almost immediately. “I was actually surprised by just how effective this was,” she recalls, “People were really interested in what we had to say. And those who liked what we said were willing to support us.”

Since the pandemic’s start, Pott au Chocolat has already seen a three-fold increase in its share of digital sales. Marie-Luise would now like to increase that figure further—by at least double, she says, and perhaps even higher. She plans to explore more digital possibilities such as Google Shopping Campaigns and remains confident in the trajectory for her company moving forward. “Pott au Chocolat has proven that chocolate can be made with higher quality and with more sustainable and ethical practices,” Marie-Luise says, “and the pandemic has proven that digital tools are critical to companies like mine being able to thrive in even the most difficult of circumstances.”

See their Stories

Cake Cowboy
“There’s no way we would have been able to properly communicate who we are or what we stood for without digital tools, and there’s clearly no way we would have survived the pandemic without them either,”
“While other companies laid off salespeople during COVID-19, we learned how to work in an entirely new way and thus grew our workforce by about 30% instead.”
“While Haltian has always been digitally driven, what the pandemic really taught us was how to make the most out of the tools we already had and add new ones on the fly,”
La Maison des Soeurs Macarons
“Improving digital visibility is what allowed us to save this centuries-old family company. It was simply a matter of survival at first. It is now a vital cornerstone of our business.”
Hooray Heroes
“We are fully digital and we are nimble, so we are well positioned to persevere in difficult situations.”
Little Box of Books
“The reality of having a business today is that you can’t not have a robust digital presence, which meant I had to become digitally literate quickly when I decided to open Little Box of Books.”
Lusa Language School
“I loved this business and I didn’t want it to close. I felt this immense weight upon my shoulders because it was on me to ensure that didn’t happen. I also realized that it was in my reach to do something about it.”
Moon Dot
“This one tiny tweak allowed us to dramatically increase our visibility with those who look for products using Google Image search.”
Progetto Quid
“For our young social enterprise, the most important challenge was being able to not just survive COVID-19 but actually emerge stronger,”
“We had zero experience in retail and zero technical skills, what we did have was a range of low-cost digital tools that were easy to use, even for us. We just figured it out.”
“This was a group effort and digital tools made it all so much easier and more affordable than any of us were expecting,”
“We may be the world’s oldest restaurant, but we see the value of these next-generation tools. I have no doubt that we will continue to use more of them heading into the future.”
Emmantina Houses
“Without the use of the online tools, we would be permanently closed right now without a doubt,”

Want more insights on the Digital Safety Net?

Sign up to be the first to receive our reports and findings.