As the largest wholesaler in the UK, Booker is considered the backbone to independent foodservice and convenience retailers across the country. To serve convenience retailers Booker operates several symbol groups - a franchise providing convenience retailers with the products and services they need to successfully grow their businesses.
Having worked with the Budgens and Londis symbol groups for some 20 years prior to their acquisition by Booker in 2017, it was time to re-imagine the independently owned convenience sector online.
Convenience doesn’t require detail - with all stores being independently owned the websites would primarily serve to direct the customer to their local store at the heart of their local community.
As with any project careful consideration should be given to the user as we look to convert them into future loyal customers.
From our decades of experience in the convenience sector and data analysis we knew that users primarily came to the symbol group websites to:
- Find their local store - in the case of a new customer
- Check opening times - in the case of an existing customer
- Get in touch - to raise a query or concern about a recent store visit
Approaching every project with a technically agnostic approach allows us to tailor every solution to the individual client partner. Through our previous experience with Booker and further discussions we identified a requirement for a unified content management system (CMS) which would cater for the needs of all of the symbol group websites both now and into the future.
In the fast moving digital landscape it is important to consider the data when planning a project. Whilst the immediate brief is focussed around a series of websites, these websites contain important data which could be harnessed in the future with the emergence of new technologies and devices.
Three key data types were identified during the planning phase of the project:
With its powerful content management features and impeccable performance out of the box Drupal 8 was chosen as the technical backbone to this project.
Unlike similar competitors such as Wordpress, Drupal 8 can be considered a more robust enterprise grade CMS often preferred by many government and NPO’s.
Stores, offers and recipes exist within the websites as content types output by the Drupal 8 core views module. This provides an efficient way of creating, editing and distributing content both within the websites and the built in RESTful API if required.
The benefits of using Drupal 8 extend beyond content management. Ensuring the required CMS functionality exists in the core CMS without modification or the addition of unverified modules or plugins allows Booker to have a tighter grasp on security and efficient path to future updates.
With the store locator experience being key to success of the project, careful consideration was given to its user experience.
Following competitor analysis during the planning phase of the project, we identified a common key oversight.
Aside from larger supermarkets symbol group stores are typically mid-small convenience stores nestled within local communities.
With the ever increasing usage of mobile devices and Google now using website performance to influence rankings it was imperative that the websites perform well.
The results of this can be seen when benchmarking the websites using Google PageSpeed Insights. Despite a heavy use of imagery the websites achieve top marks across the board.
Drupal 8 as a content management system provides many performance benefits out of the box including caching, image optimisation and code aggregation. In addition to this all websites we develop go through a comprehensive quality assurance and testing phase prior to release to ensure compliance and standards are met.
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