Wine retailer Laithwaites has launched a new version of its website to improve the user experience and provide more help for customers in their wine selection.

I've been talking a look at the new Laithwaites site, which is powered by ATG...

Laithwaites homepage


The new homepage is an improvement on the previous version, with a clearer layout than before. Prominence is given to the search box and the wine finder, as well as a rolling display of the latest offers.

The search box and navigational options are clear, but Laithwaites doesn't give enough prominence to its recommendations, which are buried in a sub-category under the unhelpful label 'our wines', while the wine plans aren't advertised on the homepage.


I like the way that Laithwaites is using filtered navigation to help users find wine. If customers have a specific wine in mind, the search box works well, but for a product as varied and complex as wine, users need help to narrow their selection.

There are useful filtering options, such as food matching, body/sweetness, as well as more obvious filters such as wine types, country, and grape varieties, while a slider tool allows you to select a price range:

What makes it more usable is that results update quickly once you add, remove or alter a filter, rather than having to click again to update results or reload the page.

Other filtering options may be useful, such as by recommendation or user review score, and this may be a good option to add once a decent amount of reviews are available on the site.

The way the search results are displayed can be adjusted so you can see more detailed listings of individual wines, enabling the user to scroll and compare without having to click each result for more information:

The one thing I would criticise about the navigation is that some features of the site, such as staff wine recommendations, mixed cases, and wine plans are hidden thanks to unclear labelling of navigational options.

The three options on the tabs, 'Our Wine', 'All about wine' don't rely describe what can actually be found under these options; recommendations, food matching guides etc, while the 'About Us' link doesn't necessarily belong in such a prominent position.

Product pages

The product pages do a good job of describing the wine and contains some useful information on food matches, serving temperatures, and even provides matching recipes for some wines.

I would have liked to have seen a clearer call to action here, while delivery charges and related information is missing from the page.

Compare this to Naked Wines and Majestic - Naked Wines makes its delivery charge clear throughout the site, and provided a next day delivery countdown as a persuasive sales driver, while Majestic provides a clear free delivery offer. This information is important to customers so should be made clear.

Basket / checkout

The shopping basket is clear enough at providing a summary of contents and the option to add and remove bottles, but the delivery charges are too small, and the delivery options aren't displayed.

Other information on available payment options, as well as reassurances about server / transaction security is missing.  

Login or registration before checkout is compulsory, making for a potential obstacle for some customers, especially as available delivery option and times have not been displayed at this point in the process, meaning customers seeking this information may be deterred by the need to fill in forms first:

The registration issue aside, the checkout is well designed, the process has been enclosed to remove distractions from users, and forms are easy to fill in, though it is too strict on postcode validation.  

I also like the delivery options, which allow customers to select a specific delivery slot, including the option of evening delivery, useful for customers who are at work during the day:

Delivering items on a particular days can be a compelling prospect for customers, so it should perhaps be made clearer earlier in the process, on product or shopping basket pages. 


The new Laithwaites website is a big improvement on the old, more complex and cluttered version, and the wine finding tool makes it much easier for customers to search and narrow their choice of wine.

There are some issues which, if fixed, could improve conversion rates, such as using reviews and recommendations more effectively, being clearer on delivery charges, and possibly making registration voluntary.

Graham Charlton

Published 21 January, 2010 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

2566 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (5)


George Rosier, Product Manager at Spark New Zealand

I'd not seen the old site, so can't comment in terms of comparison, but I like the functionality of the site overall.

I (personally) feel the homepage is a bit...hectic, though? And the sitemap seems to not understand the 'Winemakers' content section. I wonder if the sitemap's dynamically populated or manually...

Otherwise I agree with you: I think the product pages are nicely laid out, even for a wine layman such as myself!

over 8 years ago



They don't seem to appear on the first page of Google anymore?


Did someone forget a couple of 301s?

over 8 years ago


Michael Mead

As a fairly long standing customer of around 25 years who buys all our wines from Laithwaites I think the new website is patronising and an unmitigated disaster. I enjoyed browsing the wine selections and making up my own mind. Now this horrid little "find your wine" tool seems designed to take the pleasure out of the experience. Before things were visible and easy to find but now you have to search for everything. A good website doesn't rely on Search. The navigation and internal links should take priority. Regrettably I think I shall soon be looking elsewhere.

over 8 years ago


Tony Pretlove

Yes, I agree with Michael Mead. The site is dead slow to load and then when you get there the damned thing keeps jumping from one thing to another just when you are part way through reading what it has to say. The search system is not very clear or effective either. When you have eventually found what you want, try going back to the original page - it don't wanna do it! Please go back to the old website.

over 8 years ago



Nice review guys
I quite like the new layout, I am always happy with easy on the eye sites and easily navigational options

over 7 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.