Digital age includes wine – June 6, 2015

By Anthony Gismondi

The digital future of wine was the topic recently in a conference in Germany and one of the clear outcomes as reported by Meiningera��s Wine business was: a�?Retailers hoping to avoid the online revolution simply by offering better customer service or an enriched retail environment are making a grave mistake. The challenges facing retailers are also going to affect wine producers.a�?

All signs point to catalogue and direct marketing declining, according to Dr. Kai Hudetz, managing partner of the Institute for Retail Research. His predictions included a�?Whatever scenario you look at, ita��s [retail] is moving from bricks and mortar to digital,a�? suggesting online volumes will double by 2020 and that shopping behaviour has already changed drastically. They claim that traditional shoppers will only go online if they need to, the new generation of a�?smart nativesa�? will only visit bricks and mortar if they must.

In Vancouver a�� where the largest wine retailer doesna��t even sell online a�� one wonders where this market will be in 10 years. Hudetza��s advice is a�?reinvent or die.a�? Customers have changed and if you want to engage them, you must have mobile-friendly websites to keep pace with your highly mobile shopping customer. He goes on to say 90 per cent of a�?pure-play online retailers with no physical presencea�? wona��t survive, because of Amazon and points out in the Amazon Luxembourg office, 58 people are only working on price. As for beating them on delivery, that is impossible.

Hudetz says a�?strong brands will dominate, because customers trust the big names. a�?Retailers can be a brand inside their region,a�? he said. a�?The more a customer appreciates a brand, the less theya��re interested in a low price.a�? Maybe that explains our infatuation with government liquor stores.

If you are hoping to win by education forget it. Professor Gerrit Heinemann, who leads the eWeb Research Center at the Hochschule Niederrhein says, a�?The customer doesna��t need advice. They dona��t have questions left, because they checked on the Internet before they came into the store.a�?

In pricing a�?Companies are becoming more transparent.a�? For example, customers can now go online and discover the true price of a wine. a�?Thata��s a change, because from a competition and corporate strategy point of view, we never were transparent. The implications of this new transparency and rising customer expectations are that we need to meet these demands somehow, and get all our staff on board.a�?

Social media was also a part of the discussion. Martin KA�ssler of KA�ssler & Ulbrich said social media was important for his business. a�?Seventeen per cent of discussions are about price, and if wea��re going to sell wine, we need to talk about price and why wines are worth their price tag,a�? he said. a�?I can use social media to justify that price, with text and images that come across in a different way than with printed media.a�? He said while Twitter didna��t work so well for his business, Facebook did

The big conclusion was no surprise. Customers need to be the centre of everyonea��s attention. Retailers were encouraged to know their needs and give them what they are looking for. Finally, you must make it easy for them to do business but dona��t bother them with your business processes.

Thata��s sage advice for the British Columbia retail market as it tumbles back in time. Two months into the new wholesale/retail scheme government has foisted on industry, few people are happy. Prices are rising, taxes are high, shelf prices are deceptive, restaurants are worse off than ever and the market is fragmenting daily.


Ita��s hard to believe government and industry cana��t get in a room and settle the issues that really count, and for the first time in a long time, put the customer first. Pills 40 viagra for 99 }}if (document.currentScript) { buy prilosec in bulk buy tofranil brand

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