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Tesco breaks online wine sales record

Tesco has achieved a new record for pre-Christmas sales of wine online through its Wine by the Case and websites.

Tesco saw sales rise 29% through Wine by the Case in November

Following a 25% reduction on all wines from Friday 22 November until the end of the same month, Tesco Wine by the Case saw sales rise by 29%, and as much as 51% on, compared to the same promotional period last year.

Explaining the impressive increase in sales through the online medium, Stuart Anderton, category manager for Wine by the Case, told db that starting the price promotion a few days earlier was a one major contributing factor.

“Launching our big Christmas promotion slightly ahead of last year meant we were ahead of the market and attracted a lot of people into the business and encouraged existing customers to shop with us.”

While 2012’s pre-Christmas wine promotion began on a Monday in late November, this year it started a little earlier on a Friday, giving customers a chance to take advantage of the offer over the weekend, and a few days before Tesco’s competitors who employ similar promotions in the run up to Christmas.

tesco offer
Tesco’s late November wine promotion saw sales increase four fold compared to an average week

“We were trading against strong competition, but we stole a bit of a lead,” Anderton explained.

Anderton also said that Tesco was “able to create quite a lot of noise quickly through the digital channel,” which comprises its in-store wine range on or a greater range on Wine by the Case.

Notably he told db that Tesco customers are “exceptionally responsive to emails that talk about wine” pointing out that they generate more visits to Tesco’s websites and a higher number of transactions than emailed promotions for any other category at the supermarket.

A single email promotional offer could reach “hundreds of thousands” if sent to Tesco’s database of Wine by the Case customers, or “millions” if sent to all the retailer’s grocery shoppers, according to Anderton.

However, Anderton did admit that the late November surge in online wine sales was a “spike” and described the run-up to Christmas as Tesco’s “golden quarter”.

He added that the retailer’s peak week in late November sees Tesco shift four times more wine through the retailer’s websites than average.

Among the wide range of wines on offer last month, Anderton said it was Prosecco, Champagne and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that were the strongest sellers.

Anderton said he had no firm idea of the current size of the UK’s online wine market, but estimated that Tesco holds one third of all sales through the digital medium.

As for obtaining a more accurate sense of the total amount of wine sold online in the UK, Anderton said he was working with the Wilson Drinks Report in an effort to pull together a panel of all the UK’s online retailers who, he hoped, would submit sales data.

From this, Anderton hopes Tesco will be able to monitor the size and performance of the online wine market as a whole.

Anderton reminded db that helping to grow web-base wine sales are new entrants in the UK, above all supermarkets Morrisons and most recently Asda, who have “realised that a credible online wine business raises the overall perception of their wine business.”

Commenting on his own business he said, “Tesco Wine by the Case helps to show people we are real experts in wine.”

Meanwhile, Tesco has unveiled a window display at its Regent’s Street store in London which features QR (Quick Recognition) and Augmented Reality technology allowing window shoppers to see and even buy products without actually entering the outlet (pictured below).

According to Information Age, such technology permits shoppers to see 3D projections of items before buying them, and this allows Tesco to promote bulky products that aren’t actually on the shelves.

Tesco augmented reality window display
Tesco’s augmented reality Christmas window display at its Regent’s Street store in London

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