How to sell wine in a post-Covid-19 world, according to Liv-ex
Wine trade marketplace Liv-ex has published a report detailing how companies should best adapt their practices to sell wine in a post-Covid-19 world.
Liv-ex’s first key tip is to accelerate e-commerce strategies. With on-trade channels drying up, online sales have been one of the only ways in which some merchants and wineries have been able to distribute their goods.
Plus consumer demand is there. Google Trends saw search terms including ‘buy wine online’ and ‘wine delivery’ peak at the end of March as many countries around the world entered a period of lockdown.
Businesses can either choose a platform on which to operate, or construct their own bespoke site, working with a web developer or using ready-made solutions such as Shopify.
Global platforms include VineSpring, Wine Direct and VinoShipper. Companies can also use web developers or special consultancy services, such as The 3 Bottles, owned by Elisabeth Else, which helps UK wineries improve their online reach.
Liv-ex encourages businesses to use its LWIN system, a dictionary of codes used to identify wines and spirits. Liv-ex’s LWIN database currently has codes for 82,000 products, with the option of adding further detail into the code, such as the vintage and pack size.
With prices changing more frequently in the current uncertain climate, Liv-ex notes how it is more important than ever to correctly value stock.
This could simply involve search engine research using free sites such as Wine-Searcher, or other facilities including Liv-ex’s Wine Matcher. Liv-ex also states that companies should seriously consider an ‘automation’ option, whereby prices listed on systems are automatically updated when conditions change.
Businesses need not plough considerable funds into a digital marketing strategy. Liv-ex reports that masterclasses and tastings are often just as successful, and can be held online. Many winemakers and wine trade bodies are now organising webinars and virtual tastings, including a weekly series from Wines of Argentina.
Wine members’ club 67 Pall Mall has introduced a £10 virtual membership, giving people access to its weekly masterclass and tasting schedule.
At the start of lockdown, Jancis Robinson published a list of over 800 wine retailers offering delivery to their customers. Some businesses only offer local delivery, while others have expanded nationwide. Some, such as Roberson, have brought in new orders through having fast delivery times, while others have introduced offers for free delivery.
Liv-ex encourages businesses to remove the minimum spend or order size on their websites, and encourage staff to deliver products locally. Companies can partner with established couriers or delivery platforms such as Deliveroo. Many businesses have also teamed up with local companies to offer something new, such as Dorset’s Furleigh Estate that teamed up with a local asparagus grower to offer a wine and veg bundle.
Expand your options
Liv-ex also encourages its customers to expand their distribution globally where possible. The report suggests looking further afield to regions such as Asia which came out of the lockdown ahead of other parts of the world.
Liv-ex also suggests that companies should explore the option of automated selling, using APIs to advertise stock to buyers around the world.