Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit

The Background

A liquor store that describes itself as, “arguably, the world’s greatest wine & spirit shop” is no stranger to meeting and exceeding expectations. To give your business the title of “world’s greatest” is to promise your customers a level of excellence that can stand up to *literally* every other liquor store in the world. But, for the founder and owner of Bottlerocket Wine & Spirit Shop, Tom Geniesse, that promise is the standard by which he manages his business.

Quick Hits

  • Bottlerocket’s sales increased 50% in the first two months after switching from Magento to City Hive.
  • Unifying Bottlerocket’s online presence with City Hive led to a 30% decrease in the Bottlerocket team’s overall workload.
  • City Hive’s simple web builder helped Bottlerocket create a custom website that mirrored and expanded on its unique in-store experience.
  • Because City Hive is a platform built for the alcohol industry, it enables more sales with a smaller workload.

Bottlerocket, and Tom himself, have never been a stranger to boldness. From the electric combination of purple and green splattered across both his retail location and website, to the revolutionary customer-centric approach of his trademark “islands,” his boldness has defined one of the most successful liquor stores in New York, if not the country. However, don’t mistake his boldness and energetic attitude for haphazardness, every decision that has led to the massive success of his business has been carefully and precisely made. That’s why, when he was building his business’s online presence, his search for a partner was an important one.

The Feature

As Tom will tell you, one of the reasons Bottlerocket is so successful, is that it suits the needs of his New York City clientele. He realized early on that the average customer walking into his store was not going to be a sommelier. And so, the traditional organization of wine stores by region/country and/or grape type would lead to customers either buying the bottle with the most attractive label or, most often, something they’ve had before. 

With that in mind, Tom completely reimagined what wine stores can and should look like, designing Bottlerocket around displays (or, as he calls them, “Islands”) categorized in a way his customers will understand. For instance, rather than making a customer hunt for what they think will pair best with their Indian takeout, there’s an island dedicated to takeout pairings organized by cuisine (for Indian, a dry Rosé pairs particularly well). Of course, this model expands far beyond takeout, with seasonal displays, local picks, and even wines specifically chosen for third dates!

The Pain

However, this unique method of catering to his customer’s desires meant Tom needed an e-commerce partner that not only understood his needs, but could execute them with the personal touch his customers deserved. That’s why, after losing business to a “crappy customer experience” with Magento (now Adobe Commerce), Tom and Bottlerocket made the switch, and went live with City Hive.

The Solution

Of course, as Tom will tell you, Bottlerocket has “a very specific business model, a very specific design, a very specific color scheme, and a very specific approach.” So, making full use of City Hive’s integrated web builder was critical to not only replicate Bottlerocket’s preexisting site, but to add to it. According to Tom, ensuring that his customers have a continuous experience, whether they’re shopping in-person or online, is not only a crucial part of Bottlerocket’s success, but it is also a key indicator of success across the industry. According to Tom, customers are “omnivores” that engage with businesses in a variety of ways, and ensuring they’re able to shop online, on an app, or in-store ensures that they’re more likely to “love all of it.”

About Bottlerocket’s onboarding process, Tom had this to say:

“It’s really amazing. We could not have done it without City Hive. It was amazing that City Hive is flexible enough that it can accommodate and translate the quirks and strengths of its clients from in-store to online.”

When the day came to officially switch Bottlerocket to City Hive, Tom described it as “a huge sigh of relief,” particularly from an integration perspective. After making the switch, Bottlerocket’s problems with Magento became even more apparent. 

Not only was the customer experience subpar, but it also became very clear that using a platform that wasn’t specifically built for the quirks and challenges of the three-tiered American alcohol industry forced an increased workload onto Tom’s employees to compensate for the shortfalls of the platform.

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Bottlerocket's sales increase after making the switch.

The Results

Being able to manage Bottlerocket’s entire online commerce from a single platform was a massive load off of Tom’s team. According to Tom, unifying Bottlerocket’s digital presence led to a “30% decrease” in his team’s overall workload, and time previously spent wrangling multiple different platforms could be spent talking to customers, arranging displays, and fulfilling orders.

Of course, the success of an e-commerce platform is, at the end of the day, measured in sales. Thankfully for Tom, in just their first two months after going live with City Hive, they saw a 50% sales increase when compared to that same timeframe in 2022 on Magento. However, past numbers are important only as long as they are an indicator of future successes, but according to Tom, he’s not worried, nor should any current or future City Hive customer be because City Hive is “built for the future.”

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