The Way of Wagamama – Digital Case Study from Avenue Digital

20 May 2014

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As wagamama’s global digital agency for the past few years, Avenue Digital have continued to grow and develop their online presence. With over 120 restaurants in 17 countries and not to mention the wagamama lounge, which can be found at some of the UK’s top music festivals, wagamama offers a new kind of dining experience; fresh Japanese-inspired food in a friendly, contemporary setting.

wagamama's key marketing objectives focused on customer education and engagement; educating customers on wagamama’s unique brand proposition, whilst encouraging the trial of new dishes and increasing customer preference for wagamama’s Japanese-inspired menu.

Although big in personality offline, wagamama’s online presence lacked synergy with their retail service-space. wagamama wanted to take the vibrancy and inclusivity of the brand and create an online presence that reflected their status as an award-winning CoolBrand™.

Therefore, our digital strategy was to increase brand awareness at both a local and global level. With the aim of creating global consistency for the main UK and international territories, we worked to create an online presence that focused on the innovative personality of the brand.

What’s more, with 40% of wagamama customers favouring mobile devices, the brand required a multi-channel approach, taking into account usability across PC, mobile and tablet.

Working in close partnership with wagamama, we took the initial web brief and transformed it into an online experience across all digital channels. Taking into consideration SEO, social media integration and scalability, we devised a strategy that would position wagamama as an industry leader, bringing the brand to life online.

From The Design Kitchen:

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1. Harmonious Design

The website design needed to exude the brand’s cool, minimalist and creative style. The previous wagamama website was dated and very dark, which didn’t reflect the brand’s fresh and natural look. The new website was designed to reflect the freshness of the food and the in-store dining experience online, using a combination of uncluttered, simple layouts, which allowed the high quality imagery of the food and restaurant to shine. Slick, yet functional, transitions were introduced to bring the pages to life and better engage the users and through an enhanced online experience.

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2. Finding Your Perfect Dish

Searching for wagamama dishes on their previous site was unclear, uninspiring and fairly uninformative. The new food section was designed with the modern user in mind; food categories are clearly listed across the top of the page and, by selecting a category, the page instantly reloads the respective dishes. We worked with nutritional experts to introduce a dietary filter, which allows users to filter out specific ingredients in a clear and easy fashion.

We also included cool predictive search technology,; a key feature of the page. This allows the user to search for any keyword of choice across all of the dishes. As the user starts to type in the search box, the dishes listed below start to filter, removing dishes that are not relevant.

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3. Delicious Food- The Hero

wagamama wanted the new website to show off the quality and freshness of their dishes; as a result, food imagery plays a large part throughout. Website users can now see and easily browse through all dishes or filter down by ingredients to find a preferred choice. The user can choose between the horizontal slider view or a full page grid. Once the dish is selected, the user is presented with a detail page of nutritional information, ingredients and allergen details, as well as options to order the dish online or find a restaurant, with of course, the dish as the hero image.

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4. Immersive Educational Content

Part of the wagamama experience is about brand education. We created an engaging, visual ‘about wagamama’ area of the website where large parallax design was implemented. Here the user can learn more about the history and ethos of wagamama, find global restaurants with an interactive graphical map, understand wagamama food terminology, and see what it takes to be part of the wagamama team.

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5. Responsive Design

With 40% of wagamama website visitors using mobile devices, there was no doubt that the website needed to be mobile optimised. Our solution provides a tailored and optimised layout across desktop, tablet and mobile. Each device is delivered the same content, which is optimised for the specific display width. As a result, desktop users can share a link with mobile users without having to worry about redirecting to a mobile specific subdomain, where the content may be slightly different.

Think Locally, Act Globally

Built on an award-winning customer engagement platform and CMS, Sitecore the new website utilises the latest technologies in design and development, from parallax scrolling to responsive design, for a multi-device age. Designed to provide an intuitive user experience through a targeted content strategy, wagamama fans are now able to explore new dishes, order takeaways and make restaurant bookings, all within the accessible, innovatively designed website.

We have created a digital presence for the global brand that synergises with their retail service-space. By utilising Sitecore’s Digital Marketing Suite, wagamama will now be able to track engagement analytics and the digital footprints of their visitors, whilst offering wagamama customers a unique and stimulating digital experience.