Virgin Wines launches new website after two-year project

11 August, 2017

Virgin Wines is celebrating the launch of its new website and IT platform – the culmination of a two-year project – and the company said it is now ready to offer customers a more personal service. 

Co-owner and chief executive Jay Wright told DRN: “Fortunately it has all gone extremely smoothly when you consider the size of the job even just to do the data migration. 

“There are huge amounts of work you have to do for this, and we have now migrated 1.6 million customers, 2.5 milion audit details and 9.5 million diary entries, so it’s huge amounts of data we have transferred over.”

The project was initiated two years ago as part of a decision to overhaul the system, which had been running since 2000. 

Wright added: “Basically it was a legacy system and e-commerce and technology had moved on an incredible amount in the past 16 years at an eye-watering pace. So we needed to make sure we had a proposition for even something as simple as mobile devices. 

“The previous website was designed before people really had smartphones and, although we had adapted the old site to do as much as we could in terms of its functionality, basically it was at the end of its life.”

The new site has a big focus on digital marketing, according to Wright. “Digital marketing has become a huge area and we wanted to exploit this to the full. The old site was a shop where people came in and bought something, but the new one is about stories and content and it is social – you can create your own wine library or make tasting notes. It has all moved on from just buying a bottle of wine. 

“Now it is a hub for all your wine needs, including education, and all sorts of rich content. 

“We are very lucky in this industry that there is so much rich content about winemakers, and there is so much we want to talk about and we want to make the most of that. That’s really what this is about.”

The new site will enable the company to collate data and put more personalised content on each user’s home page. 

It is also designed to put Virgin in a better place to compete with customer-facing wine retailers.

Wright said: “One of the great things about the web is all the information you can understand about your customers and the outcome is that you can give your customers the best experience possible.”

As part of the project Virgin has added to its marketing team with more digital marketing experience, including the appointment of a new chief marketing officer 10 months ago. 

“It isn’t just a new web platform and website as we have also changed the whole contact centre and the whole business has gone through an IT transformation on the back of this. 

“Under the bonnet there were a massive amount of things we had to do to allow us to analyse and provide good customer service. There is a whole raft of advances we have made with this that I think is really exciting,” added Wright.




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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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