Success on tap: How Beer Hawk conquered the craft beer market.
Since Beer Hawk launched on Adobe Commerce, they have achieved astronomical e-commerce growth and successfully rode the wave of popularity for craft beer.
Improve e-commerce site stability and performance to meet rapid growth
Optimize store views to enable customers to find the perfect brew by beer type
Connect the online and offline experience to drive customer loyalty
+29.4% website conversion rate
+9.11% average order value
+57.8% year-on-year revenue
The British beer brand needed a serious technology upgrade
In 2012, British entrepreneurs Mark Roberts and Chris France abandoned their careers in marketing to pursue their passion for craft and specialty beer. They dreamed of offering UK craft beer fans the unique opportunity to enjoy the very best beers from around the world, in the comfort of their own homes. Their fledgling online brand, Beer Hawk, quickly grew from strength to strength, stocking over 1,000 beers online. In February of 2016, following staggering year-on-year revenue increases of up to 110%, Beer Hawk was acquired by ZX Ventures, a subsidiary of the brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev.
Beer Hawk’s loyal customers are passionate about discovering their next favorite beer, while others want to purchase beer for birthdays, anniversaries, Father’s Day, and Christmas. Key corporate partnerships with brands including Amazon, Moonpig.com, and Not On the High Street, now make up a third of the company’s revenue. In the past year alone the website has seen over 150,000 transactions across both B2C and B2B. Beer Hawk’s Magento Open Source store was starting to feel the pressure. A side effect of the store’s massive growth was its three million lines of code. “It had slowed the business down,” says Mark Roberts. Beer Hawk needed an e-commerce solution to increase stability, reduce technical debt, and enable agile marketing.
“When we met with Adobe and Pinpoint it was obvious that they fit very closely with our values and how we work. They became an extension of our team.”
Founder, Beer Hawk
The beer industry moves fast
Since December of 2017, Beer Hawk has worked in close partnership with the solution partner, Pinpoint. Together, they decided to upgrade to Adobe Commerce, with Roberts setting an aggressive deadline of three months. Adobe Commerce would deliver a simpler digital operation and allow the Beer Hawk marketing team to work more effectively. “One of the great advantages with Adobe Commerce is that you can evolve and change your marketing quickly,” says Roberts. “We like to move fast.”
Optimized store views and categories help customers to find the perfect brew by beer type (gluten free, IPA, lager), by country of origin, and even by brewery. On the backend, life is simpler too, with less complex code and no technical debt. The Beer Hawk team implemented a personalization tool from Nosto, allowing the brand to analyze hundreds of thousands of data points across the store in real time, and deliver one-to-one marketing campaigns. This resulted in a 9% rise in average order value (AOV). Beer lovers who utilize the site’s Klevu search functionality convert at 3x higher rates than those who don’t.
“When we met with Adobe and Pinpoint, it was obvious that they fit very closely with our values and how we work,” says Roberts. “They became an extension of our team.”
Meanwhile, at Beer Hawk’s physical store in London’s South Bank, there is further evidence of the success of experiential retail. Twelve taps pour the world’s top beers, while customers enjoy brews from a ‘Perfect Draft’ machine. They can even Click & Collect — order their beer online and pick up in the physical location, increasing foot traffic to the store.
Customer feedback in the bar is critical for Beer Hawk, says Roberts, because it helps connect the online and offline experience, earning the company more lifetime customers. “We love talking to people about beer — we want to educate and inspire people to find their next favourite beer,” he says. Customer loyalty is key, and Beer Hawk is at work on a loyalty scheme to allow customers to collect and spend beer tokens, online and in the store.
A toast to experience-driven commerce
The Beer Hawk upgrade to Adobe Commerce was a great success, and was completed just three days after the company’s ambitious three month deadline. The results were as welcome as a cold beer on a hot summer’s day: B2C revenue shot up 58% year-on-year, while the average page load time dropped by a staggering 39%, making the Beer Hawk site faster than ever. The success of the online store is dovetailing nicely with the opening of an experiential physical store in London’s South Bank, in June of 2018. The store is so popular that the company is now on the hunt for more omnichannel premises.
Roberts, who has personally taken Beer Hawk customers to Oktoberfest in the name of experiential commerce, says that websites can feel “very transactional.” But he’s working with Pinpoint on Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) to explore new ways of delivering experiences to customers. There’s even a Beer Hawk subscription service, where a skilled beer buyer curates 12 beers for the customer based on their tasting preferences. And everyone can raise a glass to that.