Lion Nathan's Liquor King chain has become the first major liquor retailer to embrace e-commerce.
The company has unveiled a site developed by Advantage Group which it says will provide both individuals and corporate customers with online sales of wine, beer and spirits at "competitive prices". In keeping with the "clicks and mortar" model championed by Advantage, the site will channel orders through to Liquor King retail branches for local delivery.
"Liquor King wanted to establish an online store that was safe and easy to use, which customers can adapt and tailor for their individual needs and which leveraged the information-rich environment of Liquor King's supply chain operations," says Advantage e-commerce general manager Nevin Grieve.
"Online consumers want to be able to find what they want, be confident about paying for it and have a hassle-free experience. They also need to be able to contact a live person to discuss problems."
"This site provides our customers with a new, convenient sales channel, and assists us with the delivery of exceptional customer service," says Liquor King IT manager Mark Denvir. "And because our online store is a sales channel not a separate business, we are providing a more personalised relationship than many business-to-consumer e-commerce sites are able to offer … the online relationship is supported by local knowledge and people."
Like Advantage's last major retail job, FlyingPig, the new site is based on Microsoft tools, including Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition. And like FlyingPig, it also appears to have launched slightly short of prime-time status. IDGNet visits to the site indicated a number of problems, including slow performance on product searches and unexpected browser crashes.
Denvir says Liquor King is extremely pleased with the current site, but says "every online store is an evolutionary process and Advantage developers are already working on a phase II Liquor King site with even more innovative and exciting features.
"Advantage's e-commerce group has built us a strong smart effective solution. Their project management skills are excellent, they have a committed development team and have simply been a joy to work with," he says.