Tanners Wine

The switch to the Mollie Magento plugin has driven consistent growth with average order value 35% higher and conversion rates 26% higher than pre-Magento.

Rob McQuattie Ecommerce Manager Tannners Wine

Selling wine is a complicated business. Though bottles may look the same to the untrained eye, there are myriad grape types, growing regions, vintages, and price points to navigate and choose from. 

For a consumer who doesn’t know much about the world of wine, this can feel intimidating. All the choice and complexity can drive them to purchase the same bottle of Pinot Grigio or Merlot over and over again, for fear of wasting money on a bottle they don’t like. 

However for a modern retailer, this presents an opportunity: With the right education, data capture, and customer journey, they can not only create a repeat customer, but a passionate oenophile for years to come.  

Tanner Wine Merchants is one such company with an impressive 180 year history. The Shropshire-founded, family-run business has earned its reputation as one of the top wine merchants in the UK. Operating across eCommerce, B2B, mail order, and six brick and mortar outlets, Tanners shows that an integrated, omnichannel strategy can meet customers wherever they are in their wine journey and work to turn them into dedicated customers.  

‘A brand-led company’

Tanners launched its first website 20 years ago. But Rob McQuattie, the company’s eCommerce manager, says that 2016 was the year that the eCommerce component of the business became a key channel for growth and sales. With so many touchpoints, the focus is on making sure that the customer experiences an integrated brand across all channels, whether they first interact with it in a catalogue, online, or in a retail outlet. 

“We are very much a brand-led company,” McQuattie told Mollie, “We have a lot of customers who do cross channels, so the challenge is trying to build that picture of where they're coming from and how they want to interact with the business. It’s really important that we have visibility of those touch points and we try our best to build those customer profiles and to market them and share data across different channels.”

The company uses its CRM system to keep track of every customer, from the casual drinker who’s popping into a shop for a bottle of wine on a Friday night to the one who may be investing large amounts of money and already knows a lot about top fine wines. Those two customers have very different needs, and thus need to be marketed to differently. 

Part of the job is figuring out what customer who buys a bottle of Pinot Grigio might go on to buy next. In other words, what’s their new favourite wine that they haven’t even tried yet? “We’re always asking ourselves: What is the upsell from that?” McQuattie says “Which I think is really different in wine compared to a lot of industries, where you would naturally have a progression. With wine it’s much more unique to the customer’s taste.”

Newer customers need to be educated and marketed in a way that’s not intimidating, a contrast to the stuffy wine shop down the road. McQuattie explains how buying wine online has helped democratise that process, and review sites such as Vivino have made the world of wine feel a little less intimidating. That said, since Tanners long history and heritage is so central to the brand’s identity — and sets it apart from competitors — the online side of the business still makes an effort to drive customers to brick and mortar outlets, especially if they are at an earlier stage of their journey with the brand.

“For a customer to get what Tanners is about the whole brand.

“For a customer to get what Tanners is about the whole brand — the whole heritage of it — the in-person brick and mortar experience is really powerful,” McQuattie said. “Once they understand that, once they’ve seen it in real life, they’re more inclined to shop with us online, and we can target them accordingly.”

Reduce friction, drive conversions

A key growth lever of the last few years has been relaunching the Tanners Wine Merchants website on Magento 2. The platform switch has allowed Tanners Wine to extend their product range, improve functionality and facilitate growth with mobile users.

And in terms of payment methods, the Mollie x Magento 2 integration made the switch seamless. McQuattie explains that the “configuration was easy and quick” with Tanners switching just before the busy Christmas period. 

In terms of growth stats McQuattie explains how the switch to the Mollie Magento plugin has driven consistent growth with average order value 35% higher and conversion rates 26% higher than pre-Magento. 

Another area where Mollie’s offering has helped is with mobile conversion rate. It’s a well known, if poorly understood, aspect of ecommerce that growth in mobile traffic doesn’t always translate to a higher conversion rate. Tanners has run into that same problem of trying to entice that “more transient mobile consumer” into making a purchase. McQuattie says that Mollie’s seamless payment offerings have helped turn that conversion rate back in the right direction after a dip. 

In addition, offering certain payment methods that customers have been requesting has unlocked growth by reducing friction and meeting the customer where they’re at. Specifically, Apple Pay has been a hit, McQuattie says, “with a good percentage of our customers using it.” The ease of use and high level of payment security has driven conversions. And American Express has been popular with that high average order value customer that every company wants to please. 

“We find that Amex customers are very loyal. There's almost a bit of tribal quality around Amex customers, so I think it's a really important thing to offer because you will lose them if you don't offer it quite simply.”

Ultimately, wherever a Tanners customer interacts with the brand, McQuattie wants them to feel they’re interacting with a heritage-led brand that has a thoroughly modern understanding of the customer journey — and walk away with their new favourite bottle of wine. 

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