The SKIVRE team visited on the occasion of the 5th project meeting in Vienna the monastery shop of the Schottenstift and found a dedicated interlocutor in Alfred Kleinhappel, the director of the monastery shop. Since 2000, the shop has been in operation at one of the most beautiful squares in Vienna’s city centre.
The monastery shop’s assortment includes fresh products, juices, and fruit from the monastery’s own agriculture, as well as culinary delights from other suppliers such as jams and various confectionery. The own products are marked with the protected Schottenstift logo.
Products that are only available in the monastery shop receive a label that identifies the monastery shop – a seal of a quality virtually without being specified.
Personal care products of various monasteries can be found here as well as “classic” offers of a monastery shop: candles, Christian literature, devotionals, and stationery. The presentation is appealing and invites you to browse.
“Due to the Vienna city center location, we are local suppliers for all products of daily needs,” says Alfred Kleinhappel about his assortment. At the same time, he realizes that online commerce is growing steadily – with currently 5 % of total sales, there is still air up here, “but the Corona time has clearly favored this.”
The advertising medium of the online offer is a bright red deck chair in front of the entrance door, which points to convenient shopping.
He initially characterizes his customers as a “running clientele”: two thirds from locals and one third from tourists, usually “50+”.Why does he think people shop at his shop and not across in the supermarket? “It is not necessarily only faithful people who shop here, there are also customers who reflect on values and who also feel some monastic secrets in our goods”.
One-third of turnover is based on alcoholic products such as wines, beers, and, as a specialty, whiskey; another third come from personal care products and one third from religious products. Mr Kleinhappel observes an increasing demand for body care products – and offers shower baths, hair care products, various facial creams and body lotions of various monasteries, including products from the Italian Kamaldulensians, from the European monastery Gut Aich (Austria), and the French Monastère Notre-Dame de Ganagobie – all examples of outstanding cosmetic production. Particularly in demand at the moment: Disinfection sprays flavoured with flower extracts and spices. The different product groups are equally in demand from all age groups of its customers.
“We must be found,” says Alfred Kleinhappel, and increasingly successful partnerships, such as the Lower Austria-CARD or the Benediktushaus, the Schottenstift’s accommodation house. Guests of the hotel receive a small discount when shopping at the monastery shop; this is advertised in the entrance area of the hotel with a showcase with various monastic products.“It doesn’t have to run with high-priced advertising, cooperations have the same effect.” The Facebook page is also increasingly used as an advertising channel.
As a rule, products are not bought through intermediary trade, but directly from producers, because the monastery has sufficient storage space.“We want to know where our products come from, and we reward our partners with manual production and bottling.” Good producers are becoming more important, “because monasteries are increasingly withdrawing from their own production as the Congregations are growing older and fewer monks are accommodating.”Goods are also partly taken up by commission, which is in line with liquidity management.
The monastery shop of the Schottenstift is definitely worth a visit – for buyers as well as as a good example of a lively shop, an appealing offer, and an expandable concept.
Address: Freyung 6, A-1010 Vienna, tel. + 43 1 534 98 600