Letting Mobile Mature – Majestic Wine

Majestic Richard WeaverUK specialist retailer Majestic Wine made its first moves onto mobile back in 2012, with its first mobile site, which gave the retailer a 15 per cent bump in mobile traffic, and Since then Majestics site has undergone two major refreshes – first in 2013, with a redesign that also added a tablet site, and then with a 2014 update of its entire eCommerce platform – in an effort to make the shopping experience smoother for customers.

It might come as a surprise, then, that Majestic has waited until now to launch an app. MyMajestic officially landed on iOS and Android earlier this month, following a soft launch back in March.

“We decided to make sure we got mobile web right first, and I think that was the right decision,” says Richard Weaver, eCommerce director at Majestic Wines. “The bare minimum that anyone needs to do is make sure that their site is optimised for mobile devices. I cant stand going onto a site on my mobile phone that isnt optimised – I think its just unacceptable now.

“The app is the next stage for us. It was really important when planning the app that we would deliver something new. If youve gone to the trouble of building a mobile-optimised site that has everything that your website has on desktop, then an app needs to do one of two things: it either needs to do the same thing again but with a native interface, or it needs to deliver something else entirely.”

Waiting for the right vintage
Having waited three years to launch its first app, Majestic plumped for the latter option. Designed in-house by a “cross-functional team” and developed in collaboration with CRM agency Indicia and tech firm Cohaesus, MyMajestic doesnt attempt to replicate the sites functionality of the site – and, surprisingly for a retailer, features no transactional capabilities at all.

“We have a very good mobile checkout at the moment that runs in a browser, we dont need to build a mobile shopping solution in a native app. We have the mobile site that delivers that already, and I think apps work best when theyre slightly single-minded,” says Weaver. “The clear focus with the app is curating your purchase history with Majestic and having access to product information at the point of consumption.

“It was designed to be useful to customers whether they shop with us online or in-store, which is an important distinction from the site. Plus, from our point of view as a business, it means not having to reproduce work weve already done.”


The app enables Majestics customers to access tasting notes, food pairings and other info for wines that theyve bought from the retailer previously – or, by scanning its barcode with the devices camera, a bottle theyve picked up off the shelf. They can also record which wines theyve liked, with star ratings and their own notes, and create wishlists of bottles they want to try in future.

“These are bits of functionality that we figured all customers would be able to derive value from whether theyre online or offline,” says Weaver. “In fact, in many ways, this is a functionality thats more useful if you shop in-store than if you shop online.”

Aging well
“We expect the results of that to be less direct and to be measured over time rather than tracked in the way we would track, say, a piece of online advertising,” Weaver says. “Weve quite deliberately not set ourselves the kind of direct ROI targets that we do with, say, a piece of online advertising.”

“What we want is for the app is something thats of use to our customers, that gives them value. But we wouldnt be doing this if we didnt absolutely feel there wasnt a really strong business case for customers that have access to this information being more likely to return to us.”

However, in working to connect up customers purchase history between web, app and even in-store, Majestic seems to have created a valuable attribution tool. While online shoppers can just use their log-in, customers whove never shopped on the retailers site are issued a 16-digit personal code that can be entered into the app to link it with their in-store activity. Connecting up all these touchpoints sounds like the holy grail for multichannel marketers – but Weaver says its not quite that simple.

“The approach that we have at the moment is a way of linking multiple systems,” he says. “The 16-digit code, in some ways, is not as smooth as it could be. It could be automated, but our concern is around privacy and data security. The code is a way of securing the details and making sure that only the actual customer has access to the purchase history. Thats the trade-off we have at the moment, going down the line we may be able to streamline that further.

“Honestly, I think the holy grail is not having those multiple systems at all, but that is a much bigger piece of work – and it raises all sorts of issues. One of the classic problems that weve seen other retailers have when they moved to a single customer database is: if Ive shopped in store and youve got my name and address, when I log in or register online, do I automatically have access to purchase history, or does there need to be an element of validation involved. How does that work?”

Answering that question seems like the obvious next step for Majestics app strategy, but Weaver says the answer ultimately doesnt lie with him: “We have some ideas of things that could be done next, in particular improving the integration of what you can do in terms of curating products but really, its not for me to decide. We want to put it in the hands of customer and see what they think.”