Diageo launches its first ever UK e-commerce portal

Diageo has launched its first ever online store as part of wider push to expand the breadth of its digital offering.

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Drinks maker launches online portal for consumers to purchase premium brands.

The Alexander & James website, named after sprits makers Alexander Walker and James Buchanan, sells premium Diageo brands including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka and selected single malts.

It focuses on gifts and features a dedicated area offering ideas for packaged present ideas.

Philippa Dickson, managing director of Alexander & James, says the “luxury e-commerce platform” will give the brand greater insight into how its customers behave online as well as highlight the heritage behind its premium brands.

She adds: “Alexander & James is more than an online shop, it provides ideas that will appeal to the lifestyle of the discerning person alongside new and beautifully packaged gift ideas. It is a white glove, end to end luxury brand experience where people will be able to learn about our spirits and receive expert advice on food pairing and mixology ideas for every occasion. We provide the ease of making a well-informed purchase online.”

The portal, created in partnership with digital agency Huge, will also link to Facebook for users to share wish lists and get reminders of friends birthdays. Registered members can create a wish-list to share as well.

It is currently only available in the UK and will be expanded across Europe in the coming months.

The launch marks a new retail context for Diageo, one which moves its products beyond supermarket shelves and off-licenses. It is hoped the platform will allow the company to convert users searching for its products online into direct sales.

The initiative is not the first time Diageo has experimented with selling to fans online. Last year, it partnered with Amazon to launch a Smirnoff-branded YouTube for fans to purchase party items directly from featured videos. The company is planning to focus more of its marketing activity around social media and online video this year across its brands.

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