Atom Supplies Ltd (ASL) is an umbrella for several businesses that operate in e-commerce, business consultancy, brand & product development, drinks distribution and fulfilment.
ASL has its core operation in e-commerce. The flagship brand of that operation is Master of Malt (MoM – www.masterofmalt.com). In 2009, MoM completed its transition from being a high street and mail-order retailer to being an online-only spirits store. In the subsequent years MoM has grown to dominate that space, winning awards including Global Online Retailer of the Year 3 years running at the World Whisky Awards, and Small Retailer of the Year at the Ecommerce Expo e-Commerce Awards.
ASL’s ecommerce platform was coded from the ground-up, eschewing the ease of deployment of off-the-shelf ecommerce solutions in favour of a tailor-made platform which is capable of meeting the demanding technical requirements of the board. It can confidently be called ‘a platform’ rather than ‘a site’, because, in November 2012, ASL successfully launched www.timeswhiskyclub.com.
ASL works closely with it’s sibling business Atom Insight (AI – below) to develop e-commerce marketing and analytics expertise within the group.
Atom Insight (AI – www.atominsight.com) was founded in 2009, as the analytic consultancy wing of ASL. AI provides analytic and marketing services to its sibling businesses (primarily Master of Malt and Maverick Drinks), but also services external clients. It has grown from a standing-start to achieve over half a million pounds external billing per annum, from a team of only 3 consultants.
AI’s client retention rate speaks for the quality of the service provided. AI have worked on an average of three projects for every client with which they have engaged, and some projects have run for well over a year.
AI’s specialism is in mining huge data sets to uncover insights, and then turning those insights into actionable marketing strategies and campaigns. An example project is a customer database segmentation carried out for a multinational wealth management company. The segments were identified from the previous investment and income data, which then formed the basis of a bespoke marketing strategy for each segment. These ranged from unprofitable customers that should not be targeted at all, right up to the very most profitable, who justified significant resources being invested in their acquisition and retention. ‘Pen portraits’ were created for each segment, based on their demographic profile, so that a tailored marketing creative and proposition could be targeted to each segment.
Web Analytics is another speciality of AI. For several clients (including Master of Malt), AI has helped the client to understand the web journey, the media sources that drive their revenues and the pinch-points in their customer flow. Application of these insights leads to a continual improvement in engagement and conversion on the site, and higher revenues and profits.
AI are proud to do things differently, borne out of previous frustrations from being on the client side. They don’t employ client handlers or account managers, and so don’t have the overheads that they represent. All of the consultants are specialists in their analytical fields, but have also all worked on the client-side and so know how to engage with people and to understand their needs and priorities. They don’t have fancy offices, and they don’t spend marketing money on wining and dining potential clients. In this way, AI are able to keep their prices low and ensure that every penny that the client is invoiced goes on providing analytical expertise.
AI also develops bespoke systems for the automation of marketing tasks. For example, the Master of Malt Google Adwords account, which contains tens of thousands of individual ads, is automated and optimised in real time.
Brand & Product Development
In 2010, MoM began to build on their historic success as an independent bottler, by adding numerous non-whisky lines to their in-house-produced portfolio.
The flagships in our fleet of in-house developed brands include (with a small sample of their awards),
- Bathtub Gin; World’s Best Compound Gin – 2014 – World Gin Awards; World’s Best Super Premium London Gin – 2013 – International Spirits Challenge; Best Design & Packaging (Spirit) – 2012 – Drinks Business Awards
- Rumbullion!; Flavoured or Spiced Rum – Silver Medal – 2013 – International Spirits Challenge; Best Design & Packaging (Spirit) – 2012 – Drinks Business Awards
- Springbank – Batch 2; Independent Single Malt Whisky of the Year – 2014 – Wizards of Whisky Awards; NAS (Campbeltown) – Gold Medal – 2013 -Independent Bottlers’ Challenge
- Caol Ila – Batch 1; NAS (Islay) – 2013 – Independent Bottlers’ Challenge
- Secret Distillery Number One – Batch 1; Independent Whisky – Silver Medal – 2014 – Wizards of Whisky Awards
- The Lost Distilleries Blend; World’s Best Blended Whisky – 2014 – World Whisky Awards
These lines have gone on to become astonishingly successful in their own right. Without listing individual achievements for the products (of which there are a significant number, a small proportion of the awards for a small proportion of our products are listed above), the innovative and progressive nature of the developments made by ASL have resulted in numerous overarching industry awards, often fending off more than one multinational organisation in the process. These awards include:
Whisky Brand Innovator of the Year – Whisky Magazine Icons of Whisky 2013
Best Innovation Winners (New Product Range) – Whisky Magazine World Whisky Design Awards, 2012, 2013
Innovation of the Year – Off License News Drinks Retailing Awards, 2013
Best Design and Packaging (Spirits) – Drinks Business Awards 2012
Maverick Drinks was formed in 2013 to take the distribution on ASL’s brands to the next level. Maverick Drinks represents the brands that are developed by ASL (above), as well as a global range of exceptional craft and small-batch spirits producers.
Maverick has enthused and delighted the UK bar scene, working closely with bars to develop cocktails and to organise some of the most exciting bar events in the London cocktail calendar.
The demand that this grass-roots promotion generates is met by having the products featured and promoted on the lists of the biggest wholesalers in the industry (Coe Vintners, Hammonds of Knutsford, etc…) and the biggest consumer retailers (Master of Malt, The Whisky Exchange, Ocado, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, etc…).
ASL is also making in-roads into international distribution, with products being carried by wholesalers in The USA and across Europe.
A significant proportion of the group’s development effort, and mindshare, goes into developing its fulfilment capability. World-class optimisation techniques are used to reduce walk-time, pick accuracy, packing time and goods-in time. Barcode scanners and mobile-rack-mounted tablets optimise the pick-path of stock pickers, reducing the number of trips and total walk-time required to pick a batch of orders.
These technologies and processes are built to scales, to meet both seasonal demand, and to facilitate ASL taking on the fulfilment for other brands and businesses.