Saverio Cardillo is no stranger to the hospitality industry, having served loyal customers at his Bottega restaurant in the heart of Parkhurst for two decades. Beyond the delicious food and warm welcome, those who frequent the family style restaurant will tell you that Bottega has a serious whisky menu.
With Sav’s love of whisky and passion for discovering exclusive bottles and rare gems, he branched out from serving and selling alcohol in store only, to a retail model, creating a website on a shoestring budget in 2017. That, together with his popular Tuesday whisky tastings, helped Sav to scale his business and live his whisky dream.
But when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, it brought the hospitality industry to its knees in a matter of weeks.
‘As the pandemic played out, we realised that our website was more important than ever before and it needed to evolve with the times’ says Sav. “We needed to make sure our customers could continue to find what they wanted and order, so that when legislation changed, they could collect. In retrospect, it was this cash flow that helped keep us afloat without having to retrench anyone during the lockdowns” he adds.
As a regular to the establishment, SearchKings™ Africa founder Brett Perlstein had struck up a relationship with the restaurant owner and was very excited when Sav and his sister Franca wanted to discuss streamlining the functionality of their website.
“Working with people with a shared passion, in this case whisky, is always special. That shared love creates an energy and a momentum for success and we were so excited to help Sav unpack his whisky potential online. We know how important it is for customers to be able to find you in their moment of intent and during the country’s lockdown this became even more critical.”
“Brett is a loyal customer and we like to support those who support us so it made sense to work with SearchKings™ and the results have been phenomenal” says Sav “Nico, Digital Solutions Lead at SearchKings™ and the team redesigned the website including a better mobile experience to capture customers on any device. They also added customer testimonials and have made it easier for customers to find what they are looking for”
Besides the website re-design and additional features, critical to the website revamp was the transaction cost saving with WalletDoc, newsletter signup integration and of course mobile and desktop UX improvement.
Having only gone live with the new website at the beginning of September, Sav and Franca have been blown away by the positive feedback. “Customers have already commented on the fantastic speed of the site compared to before. There is also a lot of excitement around some of the new features like Sav’s pick of the month which has even brought people into the store” says Sav
Something else to cheer about is the improved mobile speed by 300% and the improved time on site by 100%. This month’s online sales increased by 130% in the month since launch compared to the previous year and open rates on mailers are up by 80%.
“We have enjoyed working with Nico and his team. I could tell you about whisky all day but when it comes to technology that is not my forte” quips Sav “SearchKings have guided us through this process and shared best practices along the way. When we give feedback they are open to it, ready and willing to make revisions for us too. It is a great working relationship”
For exciting and rare new whiskies, tastings and so much more, visit the website here.
From all of us on the SearchKings™ team wishing Sav and Franca nothing but success as they continue to unlock their potential online.