Case Study: A Bespoke Ecommerce Subscription Solution For Union Hand-Roasted Coffee

Bringing the 90s San Fransiscan artisan coffee scene to the UK, Union Hand-Roasted Coffee keep sustainability and fresh, high-quality beans at the heart of their business. Find out about the bespoke ecommerce subscription and gifting solutions we developed for their Shopify store.

Written By
Han Dickson

About Union Coffee

Inspired by the 90s San Franciscan artisan coffee scene, scientists Steven Macatonia and Jeremy Torz created their first coffee blend in a humble garden shed. In 2001, they brewed up London-based business Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, which today sources beans from across 14 countries and works with more than 40 produce partners to bring an array of unique coffee flavours for every taste.

Driven by their passion for sustainability, Union Coffee was one of the first roasters in the UK to trade directly with coffee farmers, improving the livelihoods of over 65,000 individuals across Rwanda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, and more.

The brand’s freshly roasted coffee can be ordered online and delivered to your door, picked up from the shelves of Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado and Whole Foods, or enjoyed at selected coffee shops and restaurants across the country.

And for those looking to be constantly topped up, the CoffeeClub subscription service allows coffee lovers to periodically receive the very best freshly-roasted blends on offer straight through their letterbox, with tailored, flexible plans to suit all tastes and budgets. 

The challenge

After an unsuccessful implementation with a previous agency, Union Coffee got in touch with Swanky to help achieve their ecommerce goals.

Their subscription offering lived separately from their one-time purchase options on a subdomain of their main site – and they wanted this to change. Union Coffee tasked us with upgrading their subscription flow and rehousing it under their root domain. Not only would this provide users with flexible purchasing options under a single account, but it would also allow Union Coffee to benefit from a consolidated tech stack and site maintenance. 

How Swanky helped

By building a bespoke subscription app, we were able to merge Union Coffee’s subscription piece with their Shopify one-time purchase site to create a seamless shopping experience for all.

The bespoke subscription app

Navigating the technical complexities intrinsic to a customisable CoffeeClub subscription where three curated coffees are delivered each frequency, Swanky produced a streamlined bespoke app that sits between Shopify and Recharge.

By augmenting functionalities from both platforms that weren’t natively possible, customers are able to swap out coffee blends, or name some of their favourites to be selected each delivery for more personalised variety.

Since all of Union’s coffee beans are hand-roasted to order, the app circumvents the traditional warehouse fulfilment process and allows the business to calculate how many kilos are required of each coffee, roasted, and then dispatched that very same day. 

Gift subscription solution

Utilising gift card and store credit solution Rise.ai, Swanky implemented a complex gifting system whereby subscriptions of various durations can be redeemed by the recipient to set up their own personalised subscription.

Selections can be made based on roast level, flavours, brew method, grind (wholebean, cafetière, espresso or filter) and, lastly, the frequency of deliveries.

This innovative ecommerce subscription solution will allow Union Coffee to deliver a smooth and intuitive shopping experience for its customers moving forward. We can’t wait to see where their retail journey takes them next!

Your subscription ecommerce experts

Feeling inspired by our bespoke ecommerce subscription project with Union Coffee? Here at Swanky, we get a big kick out of building innovative custom apps that transform the ecommerce experience for consumers, leveraging our enviable experience in the field of subscription ecommerce to design, build and optimise tailored subscription strategies that deliver real results.

To find out more about how we could help transform your subscription-based store, get in touch with our friendly team of Shopify Plus experts today.

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