StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays n n November/December 2015 20 BEST PRACTICES AWARDS approximately 88 percent of customers reported that locating their desired product was easier in the new store," Chatham says. "The proven design principles and space-planning techniques used in our premier stores will certainly be rolled out across our base. With each oppor- tunity Virginia ABC has to enhance its retail locations, we will look at ways to incorporate elements and details from the premier stores." EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY Web sites are a business product, and the statement they make by their appearance and functionality is critical to the business they represent. Virginia ABC recognizes this and earned accolades aplenty for its redesigned web site. As Judy Napier, Virginia ABC Commissioner explains, the previous Virginia ABC website had been without a ma- jor redesign for more than ten years. This meant the look and feel of the website was dated, it was not mobile friendly and content could not be efficiently managed. 'The redesign was launched with the goals of implement- ing a modern content management system, making the site mobile-friendly and responding specifically to user needs," Napier says. "At the same time, it was an op- portunity to broaden our digital strategy to include e-commerce to help grow revenue, improve processes and significantly enhance our customer service." The redesign began with an extensive quan- titative and qualitative study of both business and customer needs. These included in- depth surveys and interviews with various target audiences. From the initial research, Virginia ABC developed proper navigation for the site. A content management system, called Sitecore, was the platform on which the new site was built, giving Vir- ginia ABC much greater business control. Sitecore was integrated with numerous IT systems, in- cluding the inventory system, to make it possible for customers to check product inventory online in real time. Beyond this, Virginia ABC devel- oped an online ordering capability, giving customers access to purchase prod- ucts on the website for in-store pickup. After more than 1,500 hours testing the refreshed site, it launched in March 2015. The results have been dramatic. A sprawling 700 pages of tangled information were streamlined into a clean and orderly site of less than 350 pages. "We returned to the quantitative approach that began the process and extensively tested the site for usability," Napier says. "The new site showed significant improve- ment—both in the time it takes for customers to accom- plish a task and in their satisfaction rate. Particularly suc- cessful were the results in mobile environments, which now represent upward of 40 percent of our web traffic." To provide specific examples, participants searching for happy-hour advertising regulations found what they were looking for only 30 percent of the time on Virginia ABC's old website, while 79 percent of desktop users and 88 percent of mobile device users can now find that information. Only 70 percent of visitors could find Vir- ginia ABC training classes prior to the new site's launch, but that number has now increased to 100 percent for desktop users. And only 30 percent of visitors could per- form a licensee search on the old website. On the new site, 100 percent can complete that task successfully from their mobile device. "The website continues to evolve, and analytics and testing continue to inform our decisions about future changes," Napier says. "The redesigned website is not only important in realizing the agency's opportunity to grow business through e-commerce, but it's also vital in fulfilling Virginia ABC's goal of providing better customer service." Maura Keller is a Minneapolis-based writer and editor. She writes for dozens of publications on a variety of business-related topics. When not writing, Maura serves as executive director of the literacy nonprofit, Read Indeed.

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