Super Liquor boasts a rich and prosperous history in the New Zealand liquor retail industry. Originally known as "Super Liquor Man" in the late 1970s, it later joined the Lion Group (LLR), which managed stores like Liquor King and Super Liquor. In the early 1990s, the brand was rebranded as "Super Liquor." LLR started franchising stores in 1992 but eventually relinquished direct management in 1995, leading to the formation of Super Liquor Holdings. Today, the group has 170+ stores.
Super Liquor approached nopStation with the task of developing a hyperlocal eCommerce solution for their business in 2020. After a thorough requirement analysis process, we identified the development challenges for the implementation of the new features and enhancements, based on the given requirements.
Creating a Hyperlocal-like eCommerce Experience that Adapts Based on Store Selection: Super Liquor wanted to create a customer experience that reflects their retail store experience. Super Liquor aimed to replicate its in-store customer experience by providing a localized online shopping experience based on store selection. With different stores in various regions and distinct catalogs, Super Liquor wanted to ensure their eCommerce platform could cater to their customers effectively.
Taking Their Entire Physical Retail Chain and Information Online: Super Liquor has 170+ stores in 12 regions across New Zealand. Each of these stores comes with its different catalogs, schedules and liquor licenses. They wanted us to help develop their solution in such a way that they could retain their store info and maintain a store-wise catalog of products.
Another key requirement from Super Liquor’s side was the presentation of their retail outlets on the online storefront, complete with vital details such as operating hours, shipping information, liquor licenses, and precise locations. This posed a significant challenge to our development team, as we needed to formulate a way to present their store information in a clear, user-friendly, and practical manner on the storefront.
Asking for the Age of Consent: As a Liquor business operating in New Zealand, Super Liquor adheres to regulatory requirements by requesting age consent verification from users before granting access to our website. This measure helps ensure that only individuals aged 18 and above can browse any alcohol-selling site. Our team had to implement an effective method to facilitate taking the age of consent for their website.
Implementing Recipes Feature to Highlight Liquor Products: Super Liquor wanted a way to highlight their liquor products through how they can be used in popular drinks or cocktails. Thus, they wanted a recipe feature for their website through which they could market and share drink recipes for promotion. They also wished to use this feature to further boost sales conversions.
Simulate Product Brochures on the Storefront: Product brochures or “Mailers” are a popular promotion tactic for retailers used to advertise their products, announcements and offers. As Super Liquor utilizes mailers in their actual sales and promotions, they wanted a similar feature to highlight products on their eCommerce storefront. Our team had to develop a feature that simulates a brochure-like browsing experience on their website.
Support for Different Types of Quotations: Being a large liquor retailer, Super Liquor’s outlets often receive quotations and requests for functions, parties or other events. They wanted to have a similar feature on their website where customers could reach out to them by creating party quotations for sales or sharing feedback through complementary quotations. Additionally, as they operate on a franchise-based model, they also wanted a quotation type where people can make franchise quotations to them as well.
Implementing a Fast and Intuitive Searching and Filtering Experience on the Storefront: Super Liquor wanted the search experience on their storefront to be fast and intuitive. They wanted a search solution that was able to effectively index their large product catalogs and data. They wanted their customers to have fast searching and filtering so that they could easily find what they were looking for.
UI Enhancements and Customizations: In addition to the core functional updates, Super Liquor sought to improve the visuals and user experience of their website. They requested several UI enhancements across various pages to enhance the overall user experience. Our team had to leverage their UI & UX expertise to research and implement more intuitive designs for these enhancements.
To achieve all of our development goals for the Super Liquor project, we conducted a thorough analysis of the business requirements alongside research to finalize its development strategy for the project. For development, our team utilized a mostly plugin-driven development approach based on some source code customizations.
Developing an Intuitive UX for Location and Store Selection: One of the most significant challenges for our team was developing an intuitive store selection UX to enable a hyperlocal-like experience as we had to deal with a selection process dealing with 12+ regions and 170+ store combinations. To achieve this, we developed a two-stage dropdown-based store selection popup.
Upon entering the base storefront, customers encounter this two-stage popup. In the first stage, customers select their desired region. Once a region is chosen, the store dropdown below dynamically populates with stores available in that specific region. Customers can then proceed to select the store they wish to explore, which redirects them to the corresponding subdomain. This division of the store selection into region and store dropdowns significantly streamlines the process for customers.
Image 1.2: Region and store selection popup
Additionally, our solution offers a location-based store suggestion feature. If customers grant the website location permission, the popup automatically suggests the nearest store based on their GPS coordinates. Customers can then select their preferred store in a single step, further simplifying the store selection process and providing a more intuitive experience.
Image 1.3: Auto-detecting the nearest store based on customer location
Developing a Subdomain-based Hyperlocal eCommerce Solution: To handle mapping store catalogs to each store, our team utilized the nopCommerce multi-store feature. In the solution, every store is associated with a unique subdomain. When configuring catalog items, store administrators have the flexibility to specify which items are available at specific stores. Upon selecting a particular store through the user-friendly selection interface on the storefront, customers are seamlessly redirected to the corresponding subdomain of that store. Here, they are presented with the catalog specific to that store. This approach empowers Super Liquor to tailor product offerings and store information to individual customers based on their chosen location and store preference.
Implementing Age Verification Consent Popup: To ensure taking age of consent when the customer enters Super Liquor’s site, our team developed an age verification consent popup. This popup loads when a customer enters the site for the first time. If a customer consents that they are of age 18, they can continue browsing the site and if the customer consents that they are not of age 18 then they will be shown a message showing that they are now allowed to browse the site. This helps Super Liquor ensure taking age of consent on their website and comply with local regulatory guidelines.
Developing a Recipe Feature with Related Recipes and Related Product Mapping for Promotion and Conversions: One of the major feature requests from Super Liquor was a way to create and promote recipes based on their products. To achieve this, our team developed a customer News and Blog plugin with related recipes and product mapping. This plugin lets their admins add recipes with a robust rich editor for formatting as well as add recipes HTML source code and design. To help boost conversions, this plugin also lets them map related recipes and products to any recipe. The mapped recipes and products are shown below the recipe in the carousel. Mapping recipes and products not only helps enrichen the look and feel of the recipe page but also helps increase product views and conversions
Image 1.4: Recipes section on storefront
Developing a Store Locator with Google Maps API Integration and Detailed Store Info: Our team developed a robust store locator plugin that seamlessly integrates with the Google Maps API to visualize Super Liquor's retail store information and locations. This plugin lets store admins add stores, providing crucial details such as contact information, operating hours, licensing information, pickup availability, shipping rates, and more. On the store locator page, customers can view a list of all established outlets and refine their search by region and city to find a particular store. The stores are visually represented on the map section at the top of the page.
Image 1.5: Store Locator with Google Maps location visualization
Customers are presented with several convenient options on the store locator page. They can initiate their shopping journey by clicking the "Shop Now" button associated with their chosen store, or they can explore further by clicking the "More Info" button to view detailed store information. Additionally, customers can use the "Show in Map" button to access the store's address directly through Google Maps for hassle-free navigation.
Image 1.6: Store details page with store info
Creating a visual “Mailer” Feature with Product Mapping: Our team leveraged Red Pepper's digital catalog service to integrate a mailer-style section into their website's storefront. Through this, we were able to implement a digital brochure for their products on the mailer page. Here, customers can easily browse through the page as in like a real mailer or brochure and clicking on desired products directly redirects them to the respective product details page, resulting in a more immersive and engaging shopping experience for our customers.
Image 1.7: Mailer with product links
Implementing an Algolia-hosted Search through Custom Plugin Development: To implement a fast and robust search experience on their storefront, our team developed an Algolia-based search plugin for their storefront. This plugin leverages Algolia's hosted search services, incorporating features like intelligent indexing, typo tolerance, search suggestions, and faceted search. On the storefront, customers now enjoy a seamless and efficient search experience, effortlessly locating their desired products.
Adding Support for Party, Complement and Franchise Quotes: To accommodate diverse types of quotes, including compliments, party quotes, and franchise requests, our team made customization to nopCommerce’s enquiry feature. Now, when users go to the "Contact Us" page, they will find three additional quote tabs: "Compliments or Comments," "Function & Party Quotes," and "Franchise Enquiry." Each tab is accompanied by a relevant set of questions. This streamlined approach empowers customers to easily fill out the appropriate form for their inquiry, while Super Liquor efficiently manages these inquiries on their end.
Image 1.8: Function & Party quotes
Helped Develop a Unique Brand Identity and UX: Besides these functional changes, our team of UI/UX engineers collaborated to craft a unique design and storefront experience tailored to Super Liquor's brand identity and product range. We used our Viridi theme for the storefront which comes with a modern and minimal design along with a selection of plugins. These enhancements enrich the aesthetics and user experience by incorporating robust sliders, eye-catching banners, and carousels, and facilitating smooth picture zoom functionality on product detail pages.
nopStation is the #1 Gold Solution Partner of nopCommerce and an eCommerce wing of Brain Station 23 Ltd., a top-ranking software development company, headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Team nopStation designs, builds and enhances eCommerce solutions on top of the nopCommerce platform for clients of all business sizes. The company has technology partnerships with 12+ leading ISVs including Microsoft, Google, and AWS. The company help its customers build their business online by developing the right eCommerce solution using nopCommerce at a competitive price and reasonable timeline.