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Greene King - Transforming the online bottle shop for the UK’s leading pub retailer and brewer

by Ricky Wallace


Greene King’s customers increasingly wanted a superlative experience when buying beer directly from the brand

Greene King is the country’s leading pub retailer and brewer, running over 2,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels in towns, villages and city-centre high streets across England, Wales and Scotland.

The brew shop industry has been in a state of flux for some time, with many pub brands updating their digital presence and producing user-centric content to promote their apps and websites.

Covid-19 has forced pubs and brewers to rethink their sales and distribution propositions, as demand on direct-to-consumer (D2C) distribution increases. As a leading pub brand in the UK, this is an opportunity for Greene King to step ahead of the pack, by delivering a rich customer experience that will scale to business demand.

Greene King already had a foothold in the D2C ecommerce arena, with a website that allowed customers to order from a selection of beers and glassware for UK delivery. However, since the website was first launched, a number of factors meant that it was no longer fit for purpose. The WordPress and WooCommerce-based platform wasn’t able to scale to meet the increasing demand placed on the website.

For Greene King, it was imperative to be able to offer something unique in this ‘new normal’. This presented an opportunity to lead the pack and deliver a rich customer experience online that can scale as demand grows.

The Challenge

Working in an agile way to improve the online shopping experience

Having served as Greene King’s digital delivery partner for several years, Zone collaborated with it to transform the experience and ecommerce capabilities of

Greene King’s existing ecommerce store was relaunched in August 2019. Although it had been working relatively well, they recognised that improvements were needed to meet the new demand created by both the rise in competition and the pandemic. In addition to this challenge, the experience was inconsistent with their brand values, and Greene King were not able to leverage data and record metrics to truly optimise the experience.

Timing and budget were tight, with Greene King having to respond to the urgency of the pandemic and the changing business landscape. We needed to work at pace to build an experience that could both scale to meet demand and support the longer-term goals of the business within eight weeks.

Leveraging our existing relationship, we collaborated with Greene King to bring to market a live Minimum Viable Product to improve the online purchase experience that would ultimately build better customer relationships. Zone delivered Greene King a new Shopify-based ecommerce platform that would integrate with its existing fulfilment provider with no loss of service. We used modern engineering such as automated deployments to streamline the development process of using Shopify’s SaaS platform.

The Outcome

A new and improved D2C ecommerce platform that offers a seamless customer experience

Zone has transformed the way Greene King’s customers can buy beer online. Design and built in just eight weeks, we delivered a platform that surfaced a desirable, personal and compelling user experience.

Built with Shopify Plus, the platform enables Greene King to scale up and grow with the business. The site is future proofed allowing for seamless integrations through the headless commerce across all of Greene King’s brands, websites and apps.

By using Shopify plus, Greene King have been able increase their exposure and reach using integrations with Facebook Marketplace, Instagram and Google Shopping.

The efficiency and effectiveness of the ecommerce experience is underpinned by the enhanced analytics of the system, which will enable Greene King to export data and gather the right insight to determine areas for continuous improvement in the future.

Now the initial platform has been delivered, the teams have switched to an ongoing optimisation phase through continuous test-and-learn iterations. We’re really excited to continue to develop the platform to improve customer satisfaction and increase sales for Greene King.

It's been a great project to be a part of and it's delivered much more than a new website: an excellent new ecommerce platform in Shopify Plus, established new agile ways of working into the business, and exceptional teamwork both internally and with our digital partners, Zone.

~Andy Lewis, Head of Product & User Experience, Greene King




Greene King