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FINE+RARE case study

A design discovery to explore the future of collecting and investing in fine wine and spirits

Fine + Rare


Since 1994, FINE+RARE has become one of the leading online platforms for both buying and selling fine wines and spirits. Aiming to evolve into the world’s largest global luxury lifestyle marketplace, they enlisted the help of Thunk to help take them to the next phases of their digital journey.

During a 16-week discovery, Thunk took the FINE+RARE CEO and leadership team on an immersive journey in understanding the needs of their customers and suppliers. We collaboratively created a truly innovative digital strategy and product roadmap that had the backing of both the board and the entire organisation.

What we did

  • Design discovery
  • Contextual user research
  • Research repository
  • Competitor benchmarking
  • Ideation workshops
  • Future vision prototypes
  • Cross functional collaboration
  • Strategy & planning
  • Define product roadmap


  • 25

    Contextual interviews with key customer segments and suppliers

  • 14

    Actionable insights formulated to inform product strategy

  • 1

    Clearly defined product roadmap based on user needs

  • Patrick O'Connor

    “Thunk immediately hit the ground running by understanding the complexities of our business and helping us to empathise with our customers for the first time.  The workshops they facilitated and insights they uncovered allowed us to fuse user and business needs with a design-led roadmap. Working with their leaders was crucial for us. Thunk certainly delivered. We will be working with them for many years to come.”

    Patrick O'Connor, CEO

Project Highlights

  • User Research Participants
  • Analysis
  • Insights Posters

1. Discovery research

Understanding F+R, their customers and their suppliers

The 12-week discovery began by immersing ourselves within FINE+RARE to fully understand the business, teams, processes, and what success looks like. Speaking with the CEO, leadership, product, buying, and account managers, a clear picture emerged of where FINE+RARE wanted to be.

We conducted a series of contextual interviews with various customer segments and FINE+RARE’s supplier network, to understand their needs, pain-points, context and motivations. This generated a number of previously unknown insights that uncovered key areas of focus and set the scene for the collaborative ideation sessions that followed. All of the raw research data (such as transcripts and videos) and insights were packaged up and stored in a digital repository for teams and staff to review at their leisure. In addition, we presented the insights on physical A1 boards to be shared around the office.

  • F+R research insights presented on a wall in ideation workshop by Thunk

2. Design workshops

Collaborative ideation based on user and business needs

The insights from customer and supplier research, in addition to what we discovered via stakeholder interviews, revealed many user and business needs that would become the basis for our ideation workshops. We facilitated two separate 3-day workshops in collaboration with the CEO and key stakeholders, to generate a tonne of ideas that would help FINE+RARE formulate their digital strategy.



  • F+R Workshop
  • F+R Workshop
  • FINE+RARE Workshop

3. Product strategy

Defining a future-proof digital strategy and product roadmap

The final output of the ideation workshops was a series of ideas that spanned across both customer facing and back-end digital platforms. This gave FINE+RARE a clear direction for their digital strategy going forward. We highlighted the endless possibilities and formulated ideas for how they could become one of the major players within the fine wine and spirits market. It allowed the product teams, in collaboration with ourselves, to create a truly innovative and engaging product roadmap for 2022 and beyond.

  • F+R Sketches
  • F+R Ideas Board
  • FINE+RARE Prototype