Wine Society rolls out Click & Collect to boost appeal to millennials

The Wine Society has launched a next day click and collect service for its members, as it ramps up its appeal to younger discerning wine consumers.

The Wine Society, which is a mutual owned by its members, has teamed up with click and collect logistics provider Pass My Parcel for the free service, meaning its members can choose to collect their order from more than 3,000 local shops and outlets across the country. Orders made before midday will be available to collect from 7am the next day, although some products, including the Vintage Cellar Plan schemes and reserve call-offs are not included in the new service.

Pierre Mansour, the Society’s new head of buying, told db the click and collect service formed a key plank in its on-going strategy to boost the functionality of its growing e-commerce operation, which now makes up around two thirds of its total business, compared to only a third four years ago, and to attract new, especially younger wine consumers.

“I think it will be big, especially for that younger generation who are looking to be able to buy things and have them delivered in a instant, or within a certain time frame that they are used to,” Mansour said.

The existing options of free home delivery using The Wine Society’s own fleet of drivers, free-of-charge name-the-day delivery by third-party carrier or a £6 per case next day delivery option will still be offered, he continued, as many members value a personalised service more than getting their wine the next day.

The Wine Society’s Pierre Mansour

“There will be a lot of members who will still want wines delivered to their home by our drivers, who they may know personally and who know where to leave the wine when they are out, but we’ve done a fair amount of research, and we do think one of the things that newer younger wine drinkers find challenging with the Society is that lack of ability for instantaneous things – so we’ve addressed that. Among the younger generation, that ‘instancy’ is more important to them.” Mansour said.

Although the membership is growing, grow its membership of “younger discerning wine consumers” is one of the key business focuses this year.

“We believe there is a ‘segment’, a group of consumers who are not Wine Society members but who have similar interests and involvement in wine that we haven’t quite tapped into as a wine business, and we are looking at how we can appeal to that part of the market with more relevance,” he argued, adding that the society’s way of sourcing wines from family-run, smaller artisan producers already particularly resonated with the values of this demographic.

“I think a lot of younger generation of wine drinkers and younger consumers care about authenticity in what they’re buying. And wine is an authentic product, it relies on Mother Nature and human skill and when you work with the producers we do – tend to be family-run, smaller artisan producers – that really resonates with younger consumers,” he said.

“We haven’t changed what we’re doing, but we are in an era where that is more and more important.”

The Society is looking at how best to appeal to this demographic and experimenting with the design, feel and presentation of wines on its paper-based offers and mailshots, a process that started at the end of last year .

“We will take lots of learnings, and see how we can then move it forward,” Mansour said. “Within 12 months you might start to see the Society present itself in a slightly more colourful way, although it will still be consistent with our values.”

Mansour pointed out that although there had been a big shift in balance from the organisation’s mail order to online business, the society still produced the same amount of paper offers it did fifteen years ago, alongside a greater number of email shots and digital only offers.

“We wonder if there will be a time when we can go totally digital, but so far all the research we’ve done shows that predominantly, where orders go through digitally, the catalyst is when our members receive a paper offer which they browse and then go online to order.”

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