Virgin Wines ‘on track’ to achieve ambitious target

Virgin Wines says it is “well on track” to achieving its ambitious target to grow the business to £50m by 2018, and is set to unveil several key developments over the summer to help it grow its customer-base.

Jay Wright of Virgin WinesThe online wine specialist, which was sold by Direct Wines in a management buy out in November 2013, is looking to its 190k strong customer base by a further 25k people.

“We should do £40m this year, so we are on tracks towards our five-year target of £50m, and will grow again the following year,” CEO Jay Wright told the drinks business. “We want to see the customer-base grows by 25k ideally, but you need to recruit a decent amount of people to see at 25k net gain – but I think that is a realistic ambition. People stick with us as we are very much focused on what we do and doing it well.”

The company is set to expand in new areas that compliment its existing business – but has ruled out a bricks & mortar operation.

“There are other areas where we can do more that fits in better with what we do – we have ideas to expand different areas,” Wright said.

Both the relaunched gifting service, which launched in 2014, and its corporate business – supplying wine to corporations and businesses to reward clients – had seen good growth he said, with the latter up 250% year-on-year.

“That is an exciting area we’re investing in,” he said.

The company is set to bolster its Wine Bank facility over the summer to include new features and capabilities, as well as relaunching its website.

The scheme was originally launched ten years ago, and gives customers who ‘bank’ with it an extra 25% ‘wine interest’, but CEO Jay Wright says it is the right time to add new capabilities to offer its customers.

“The wine bank scheme is at the centre of the business and we already have 60k customers,” CEO Jay Wright told db.

The website is in the final testing stage of a major overhaul that has seen new content and capabilities added. Optimizing it for mobile will tap into the growing number of people who buy wine on their phone,

“It is a real step forward for us, so it is very exciting,” he said.

The company is also mulling the launch of a wine app, but Wright said the “only point” of doing so would be to benefit the customer, pointing out that with a fully responsive and flexible website, an app would have to add another level of value for its customers. There are easy things we could do to make it good for consumers, he said, “such as the ability to buy wines you like when you’re at a tasting or easily rate a wine you were drinking from the sofa”.


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