The Lightning 50 'Growth Hacking' Podcast

How This Welsh Premium Vodka Brand Achieved 10,000% YOY Growth!

April 21, 2022 Brightpearl Podcasts Season 1 Episode 1
The Lightning 50 'Growth Hacking' Podcast
How This Welsh Premium Vodka Brand Achieved 10,000% YOY Growth!
Show Notes Transcript

Jordan Major, Head of Ecommerce at Au Vodka, joins the inaugural Lightning 50 podcast to reveal the tactics behind this Welsh premium Vodka brand’s stonking 10,000% YOY growth!

Endorsed by some of the world’s biggest celebs, multi-million pound growth, hundreds of thousands of loyal fans on social media…

For luxury drinks brand, Au Vodka, those are  just a handful of high points in an incredible commerce journey that’s recently culminated in the brand being crowned the UK’s fastest growing retail brand for 2021.

Show Notes | Series 1, Episode 1 | Au Vodka

About our podcast

Brightpearl’s Lightning 50 E-Commerce Growth Hacking podcast, hosted by Caroline Baldwin, is a bitesize 15-minute podcast that gets under the hood of highly successful e-commerce brands to discover the key technologies they are using to power growth.

About our guest

Swansea-based Au Vodka is a luxury vodka retailer, and the fastest-growing vodka brand in Europe. Founded by young entrepreneurs Charlie Morgan and Jackson Quinn aged only 19 and 22, in just five years the brand has grown phenomenally, from starting out on the shelves of a few Selfridges stores to becoming a buzzing online sensation worth £2.5M. The retailer stocks its vodka in premium stores such as Harvey Nichols, UK supermarkets including Tesco and online marketplaces such as Amazon, as well as its Shopify Plus website. 

Primarily due to its huge social media following, the brand grew an immense 10,170% in 2019/20. For this podcast, we spoke to Jordan Major, Head of E-Commerce at Au Vodka.

Transcript highlights:

●      “In the past three years we’ve seen exponential online growth, and social media is to credit for that. The gold bottle is quite iconic at this point - it’s Instagrammable and works well in the right influencer’s hands.”

●      “We were turning over £29k in 2019, by the end of 2020, £2.5M. A massive factor in this is we react to trends and capitalize on them. We leverage social media marketing and paid ads to build relationships with our audience, rather than simply selling to them and letting them go.”

●       “I was looking at other brands online and how they were marketing themselves. We wanted to replicate that extra level of service and the online perks - but for booze. There’s nothing special about buying from a supermarket, but when you buy from us online you get a unique experience.”

●      “During Covid, people were spending more time on social. So we scrolled through TikTok to see what trends were happening and thought, why not feature influencers with a bottle? Everyone was on furlough, sitting at home with nothing to spend their money on, so why wouldn’t they treat themselves? We used the most appropriate influencers for our brand, like rappers, Love Island stars, even local celebs in Wales. We had a good idea of who to use and at what time.”

●     “Growing the e-commerce side involves challenges you don’t think of when you’re a small business - getting your products, marketing and warehouse sorted is something that only becomes an issue when you’re bigger. The sheer number of orders that need packing per day; that upscaling is a huge challenge.”

●      “A new bit of tech for us is our WMS [warehouse management system], so we can get insights about stock flow, when things are dispatched, etc. The tech allows us to pack 150/200 orders a day when we were doing 50 before - and like cavemen; with sheets of paper blowing around, manual orders and hands-on packing. Since we brought on a WMS, there’s been a massive increase in productivity.”

●      “We recently switched to Shopify Plus and we’ve seen huge benefits to that. Things you take for granted - like insights, customer reports, sales flows - again are things you don’t consider when small but when you’re bigger they become invaluable.”

 ●      “One tip - trust the people in your team, whether that’s four or 40 people. I’d never be able to handle our e-commerce platform now without my staff. Rely on them to help you and let go of doing everything yourself.”

●      “I was ecstatic when I found out we’d won the Lightning 50 - especially considering the other great brands that were shortlisted. The rest of the company takes the e-commerce team more seriously now we have a couple of awards under our belt!” 

Top takeaways

●       Au Vodka came in 1st place on the Brightpearl Lightning 50, and topped the regional rankings for Wales as well as in the Luxury sector.

●       That followed a 10,170% YOY revenue increase in 2019/20

●       The brand credits much of their growth to a smart social media and influencer marketing strategy, and uses tech tools Instagram and TikTok for this. They are the most followed vodka brand on TikTok, and the most followed British vodka brand on Instagram.

●     The e-commerce side makes up only 10% of the business, yet is primarily responsible for their huge growth. 

●      The tech tools Au Vodka says is responsible for their supercharged growth: Instagram, TikTok, Shopify Plus, and its WMS.