According to Business Insider1, Australia’s wine industry was worth $5.6 billion in 2017 – a rise of eight per cent with 1.37 billion litres of wine produced, up five per cent.
The value of wines shipped direct from producer to consumer across the United States continues to grow on average 15% year over year, representing $2.69 billion in 2017.
Connected wine consumers have more choices than ever when engaging with wine brands across the globe, thanks to online wine retailers that include Cellarmasters, Get Wines Direct, Cracka, Vinomofo and Wine.com.
Australian consumers are increasingly moving to online shopping, and, according to IBISWorld2, sales of premium wines and spirits are growing rapidly, driven by convenience, value, confidence in the technology platforms and better delivery options.
At the same time, many consumers want more engagement with the brands they purchase, so how are direct to consumer teams keeping up with this increased demand?
Robin Shaw, founder of Wine Tourism Australia and Sandra Hess, founder of DTC Wine Workshops have partnered to form Direct Wine Workshops Australia, providing a series of online direct sales training webinars designed for winery managers and owners responsible for cellar door, club and web store sales growth.
Shaw and Hess have received an enthusiastic response since their webinar program launch in December of 2017 and will be releasing their next 3-part series on Wednesday 16 May.
Attendees will learn how to give consumers more of what they want at the cellar door and between visits through effective engagement strategies.
Here are three things consumers are seeking from wine producers:
#1 Entertaining, Educational and Experiential Experiences with Wine Brands
In a recent interview with CMO Australia3, Treasury Wine Estates CEO, Simon Marton said the shopping experience for wine is becoming like traditional consumer packaged goods at the point of purchase.
The decision to invest in an Augmented Reality app, initially for the group’s more millennial-oriented and fast-growing 19 Crimes brand, was about adding an experiential element to the wine buying and consumption experience.
“This is about giving the shopper the ability to experience our brands in news ways that are entertaining, educational and experiential,” he said.
“The old ways of connecting with consumers don’t work well all the time anymore.
“Something like this, that uses new technology that is more scalable, accessible and easy to use, looked like a great idea and we ran with it,” Marton explained.
To gauge the success of the app investment, Marton said he’s tracking downloads, average use time per use – which is now sitting at about 3 minutes – frequency of use, and distribution gains from brands via its partners.
There’s also plenty of word-of-mouth earned media flow-on effect, and he noted one US retailer’s post about the AR app had already generated 19 million views.
In addition, the app is triggering several consumers to collect all five 19 Crimes varietals to take home in order to share the AR experience with friends at home.
Cellar door experiences that enable interaction with the winemaker, or the ability to get ‘hands-on’ are also growing in popularity, evidenced through events such as Winemaker for A Day and Blending Bench activities.
#2 Wine Brands that are Committed to Sustainability
According to a study conducted by Nielsen4 66% of people worldwide say they’re willing to pay more for sustainable goods, up from 50% just two years prior according to a recent global survey.
And it’s not just affluent suburbanites in the developed world concerned with positive social and environmental impact.
“Across regions, income levels, and categories,” the survey report reads, “people are willing to pay more to remain true to their values.”
For wine brands, communicating their commitment to sustainable production practices is a key strategy to engage this growing, socially aware market segment.
#3 Wine Brands that offer Personalisation and Customisation
According to an Australia Post Inside Australian Shopping5 report, online shoppers tend to use their discretionary household spend to buy products based on wants rather than needs.
Driven by expectations of greater convenience, value and choice, consumers not only expect their needs to be met at the touch of a button, but that the supplier can provide personalized or tailored solutions based on personal preferences.
For wine producers, offering full choice in wine club shipments and making offers based on customer preference data is a sure way to gain satisfied, loyal customers.
Demand for personalised products grew 28% in 2016, with online retailers offering the ability to co-design and add personal touches to their products.
Some major luxury retail brands now offer customisation through monogramming, colour selection and special add-ons to items such as handbags and shoes, while companies such as Spotify offer personalised music streaming services and even universities are investing in customised learning programs.
Corporate and personal gifting is particularly amenable to personalisation, and several wine brands and associated companies offer label customisation services, including Sirromet Wines, Brewtopia and PersonalWine.
Growing direct sales from cellar door interactions is a key growth strategy for Australian wineries. Winery teams interested in learning more about activating their DTC channel can visit www.winetourismaustralia.com.au or sign up for the next Direct Wine Workshops Australia webinar series commencing Wednesday 16 May.
Robin Shaw | firstname.lastname@example.org
2 IBISWorld Industry Report OD4087 Online Beer, Wine and Liquor Sales in Australia
5 Inside Australian Online Shopping 2017 eCommerce Industry Paper