Around a decade ago, independent South Australian retail group Booze Brothers launched their first online store. 

It was ahead of the time – back then online retail wasn’t the incredibly popular giant that it is today. Alice Glanville, Booze Brothers Marketing Manager, said as a result, the great amounts of time, effort and money that went into the online store didn’t generate an amazing return, leading to the shutting down of the store. 

A lot has changed since then and so this year Booze Brothers stepped back into the world of online retail, softly launching an offering before the pandemic took over Australia. While plans were put on hold during lockdown, the brand has now built onto the store more, using data and a strong sense of identity to tailor an online offering that suits their customers. 

“Over the past few years, we’ve really been able to solidify the identity of Booze Brothers as having unique, hard to find products, or products that you mainly see in the on-premise, and a high level of customer service. Because we only have the four stores in SA, the ability to compete on a carton of Super Dry with Dan Murphy’s (for example), is never going to keep us moving forward.” Glanville said. 

“So now that we’ve recognised that, and have the ability to look at digital data and what people are searching… we can actually identify customers within the funnel to successfully launch the online store.”

During the pandemic, that development was put on pause somewhat, however there was still a basic model for customers to order wine in boxes of six. This allowed Booze Brothers to fill orders without delay, as freight could be quickly calculated for fast ordering and shipping. 

“Since returning [from the first lockdown], we’ve done a lot of research and decided to do an upgrade to the website to enable people to purchase as many bottles as they like across our wine range and our spirits range,” Glanville said. 

“We decided to launch that in line with the Christmas Catalogue, so that people could access some of those really nice unique wines or gins that they might not be able to get in some of the bigger retail stores.”

The Christmas Catalogue features around 120 products, and is an annual promotion by Booze Brothers. It provides benefits for both the stores and suppliers, again helping showcase the Booze Brothers identity while helping suppliers tailor their stock levels and displays for the busiest time of year. 

“It’s a way to engage with our suppliers and strengthen that partnership, for them to know what we’re displaying more prominently in store. Everyone wants to be front and centre with the customer at Christmas time when people are buying up. So it helps to be able to manage what stock is in displays, what’s prominent in the fridges and what products should be recommended,” Glanville said. 

Combining the Christmas Catalogue launch with the expansion of the online store has had positive early impacts for Booze Brothers, with orders already starting to trickle in. 

It’s something that will only increase in future, with the online store is being built up in stages as the group implements learnings and uses different data points to carve out an online niche similar to the one in store. 

For example, the online store currently doesn’t stock beer because the nature of limited runs of craft beer means retailers might only have a single case of something in store to sell. Glanville said this is something they will work on, as they iron out the ‘wrinkles’ of the new offering. 

She said the goal is to listen to customers to ensure “what they want to drink is what we’re serving them, not the other way around.

“People are willing to just try such a big variety of things and new things these days, which is awesome… and that’s on consumer behaviours changing over the years. And it gives our suppliers the ability to be so creative and come out with new things a limited run. It keeps categories interesting.”

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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