Wine.com doubles online offering in US

US-based online wine retailer Wine.com has doubled its wine range to include more than 10,000 wines and launched a new mobile site, making it the “world’s largest mobile wine store”.

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In the past 12 months the retailer has expanded its range to include more than 10,000 wines, which are available in California and other states served by its west coast distribution hub. In New York, and other states served by Wine.com’s east coast hub, customers can choose from over 7,000 wines.

“Without physical space limitations, Wine.com can offer a selection with breadth and depth unlike any brick and mortar store,” says Mike Osborn, founder and vice-president of merchandising. “Our job is not to be a gatekeeper for consumers, but an enabler for wine choice.”

It’s expansion follows a report by Rabobank last month which predicted that online wine sales would grow by nearly 12% each year over the next four years, with it now “almost unquestionable” that e-commerce platforms would continue to gain share of retail sales.

Overall, Rabobank analysts said e-commerce channels within the wine trade would continue to outperform growth of more traditional channels, but that harnessing its potential would be an ongoing challenge for wine brands and retailers.

The report highlighted interactive tools as one of helping consumers buy wine online, a tool already introduced by Wine.com whose members can chat live with online sommeliers.

“Wine.com is seeking to become the world’s largest wine store with the world’s best service,” said Rich Bergsund, Wine.com CEO. “Our live chat sommeliers have been a huge hit with our customers, who appreciate friendly, knowledgeable advice when choosing their next bottle.”

The company also launched a new mobile site, allowing customers to purchase wine from mobile devices which now makes up over 40% of its traffic, with revenue generated from mobile devices said to be up by 55% for the first half of the fiscal year.

In the UK several major retailers have launch online initiatives and boosted their ranges in a bid to capitalise on the anticipated surge in online wine sales. Supermarket Aldi announced earlier this year plans to launch an online service delivering wine by the case as it revealed record sales of almost £7 billion last year. Similarly, Asda boosted its online wine shop this year with the addition of nearly 100 new and fine wines.

Naked Wines, which was bought by Majestic Wine in a deal worth £70m earlier this year, launched a click and collect service for its “angels” with Majestic’s 213 UK stores serving as pick up points for its online customers. The move was part of the company’s strategy to to share the “complementary strengths of both businesses” – Naked Wines’ e-commerce skills and Majestic’s distribution network.

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