The high point of user experience

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Rob Colenso left his journalism days to try his hand at product development and user experience and “never looked back.” As the senior product manager and UI/UX team lead for Total Wine & More, Colenso brings natural curiosity and a knack for research from his previous career to UX, which help him identify and develop user flows and design a complete customer experience both online and off. Colenso’s ultimate vision for the future is one where customers can order wine on-the-go, just like ordering a pizza. “The convenience of having wine just show up at your doorstep?” he says. “Amazing!”

On this week’s episode of Retail Gets Real, Colenso joins the co-hosts for a “spirited” discussion about UX, product development and selling wine.

With 150 stores in over 20 states and more opening every week, Total Wine is the country’s largest independent retailer of fine wine, beers and spirits. To complement its heavy bricks-and-mortar presence, Colenso’s team works on bringing the same customer experience online. “For us right now, the buy online, pick up in store experience is … where we are going to continue to have a sweet spot,” he says. Since wine is highly regulated, the company can currently ship orders directly to only a limited number of states, but customers have the convenience of shopping online and choosing their nearest location for pickup. “We truly look at ecommerce as an omnichannel experience,” Colenso says.

Rob Colenso in the podcast studio

Rob Colenso in the podcast studio

At Total Wine stores, sales associates help the wine connoisseur and the amateur alike; to streamline the experience online, Colenso looks at ecommerce holistically. He first identifies where technological elements can “emotionally enrich the user experience” where it would otherwise have been a utilitarian shopping process. The UX team then thinks about “both getting the design right and getting the right design” in terms of economies of scale as well as how it tells the broader story of the brand. By identifying and improving multiple touchpoints in the online customer journey, Colenso increased ecommerce revenue by 55 percent from last year.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn how the company facilitates “an ever more elegantly seamless fulfillment experience” and reduces a large inventory base into digestible information to provide value to customers.

Tony Fontana is one of NRF’s co-hosts on Retail Gets Real. Meet all the co-hosts and learn more about the show.