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Birmingham Wine Weekend

Uncorking a new app

Uncorking a new app
We collaborated with Birmingham Wine Weekend to digitise their event and gather more data, creating an experience as smooth as a glass of red.


  • UX design
  • Discovery & user journey mapping
  • App development
  • User testing
Uncorking a new app

The Challenge

Birmingham Wine Weekend was born from the success of Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, giving the people of this fine city a week of wine discovery, jumping between hand-picked venues for exclusive offers on delicious wines, dishes, and canapés. 

In previous years, the Birmingham Wine Weekend has been a manual, paper-heavy affair, with people registering for the event using forms found at events and hotel lobbies. It was time to go paperless.

In addition to digitising the entire process and event, the organisers wanted to learn more about the attendees, something which they couldn’t do from one-off paper registrations.

The Goals

  • Reduce the amount of manual work required from organisers.
  • Help Birmingham Wine Weekend go paperless.
  • Increase learnings from attendee data and behaviour.
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The Solution

Taste-testing: Discovery workshops

We began the process with a series of workshops, designed to give us a taste of what the organisers were looking for. This included:

  • Design consultation - Understanding the desired look and feel.
  • Content planning consultation - Understanding their audience and the content that would attract them.
  • User journey mapping - Ensuring the experience of the user was at the forefront of the project.

Brand-new app development

The first step in going paperless was to create a brand-new Birmingham Wine Weekend app, built using ReactNative—a platform used by Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Shopify, and so many more big brands.

This app took the entire Birmingham Wine Weekend online, with multiple features to capture attendees’ behaviours and opinions throughout the event.

More mature, streamlined UX

As BWW has a more mature audience than the previous Birmingham Cocktail Weekend, there were people who were concerned that an app would be too hard to use.

So, to appeal to this audience, the style was kept low-key and mature, while the sign-up process was simplified, reduced to:

  • Minimal sign-up page with only key information requirements.
  • Clear signposts of where to go next.
  • Post-sign-up instructional videos: These gave simple, clear information that showed attendees how to check in, alongside all the venues, wines, and offers waiting for them in Birmingham.

Wine Pass

Once a person was registered for the event, their app held their very own Wine Pass, containing a profile picture, QR code to access venues, and a countdown to the event. 

To suit the audience, this was styled in a similar layout to a passport, only with a more sleek design that would appeal to the wine connoisseurs of Birmingham.

Personalised tasting notes

Adding bespoke Wordpress functionality, the app featured a space for people to write their own tasting notes and rate wines as they visited venues, creating a more engaging experience while also creating valuable information about the wines that people enjoyed or disliked.

Pre-Wine Weekend journal

Even ahead of BWW, people could use the app to create a Birmingham Wine Weekend Journal, which functioned like a wishlist for wines, venues, offers, and events.

With a week of reasons to explore Birmingham, this helped attendees keep track of everything they wanted to experience.

Wine Weekend map

The app also included a map with all included venues, meaning that attendees didn’t even need to exit the app to see where they were heading next.

Plus, to ensure that the app wasn’t draining battery usage too quickly, our developers set the map’s location tracking to only update every 10 seconds. Cheers to quick thinking!

Exclusive offers & wines

BWW’s app also made the extra incentives clear, motivating people to check in at venues to receive exclusive discounts on vintage wines and food pairings (e.g. 10% off your steak).

This was vital information to the organisers, seeing which venues, dishes, and offers attracted the most attention and getting a head-start on selecting these for next year’s event.

Golden Ticket - Push notifications

One final benefit of downloading the BWW app was the potential of winning the Golden Ticket, giving one attendee the chance to win a bottle of wine.

As simple as it sounds, this involved targeting one specific app user at random, assigning them a token, and then sending a personalised push notification directly to their phone.

However, due to app updates and some users turning off push notifications, this was quite a manual process, something which we know can be improved on for the next Birmingham Wine Weekend. 

More learnings for the next Birmingham Wine Weekend

By seeing how this app performed during this year’s event, we’re able to recommend additional functionality that will improve the experience during next year’s Birmingham Wine Weekend, including:

  • Improved options for sharing where you’ve been and what you’ve tasted, directly from the app to social media.
  • Increased search functionality for included wines, venues, events, and offers.
  • A unique digital stamp that can be collected at each venue.
  • The ability to add photos to their personal Wine Weekend Journal.
  • An expanded rating system for wines.
Uncorking a new app

The Outcome

While people were exploring Birmingham, one glass at a time, the Birmingham Wine Weekend app was pouring impressive results:

  • The venues ranked the app 85 out of 100.
  • Customers ranked the app 60 out of 100—this shows that there’s still room for improvement, but since this is a more mature audience who were initially wary of using an app, this isn’t too surprising. 
  • 76% of people loved the week-long extension of the event, which shows the additional benefits of the app from an operational standpoint—can you imagine trying to organise and run a week-long event with paper sign-up forms? Not happening.

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"I thought the app looked fantastic and I was really pleased with the design particularly, it felt perfectly on rband and I really didn't feel like I had to work at that - the team complete got it and just made the magic happen!"

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Every great relationship starts with a conversation. We’d love to talk with you about your next project and answer any questions you might have about Shopify. But be warned… once we get talking about this stuff, it’s hard to shut us up!

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