Over the past one year, one of the good things that happened during the pandemic was the massive surge in digital e-commerce. Consumer buying behaviour has completely changed and this has forced the wine industry to focus on digital marketing and sales. The Australia Post’s Inside Australia Online Shopping eCommerce report shows that in January 2021, e-commerce grew by 44% year-on-year in Australia. The changing trends helped wineries to make sales even during the restrictions, however, not every winery embraced this new growing digital opportunity.
Source: Australia Post
The overall demand for wine around the world did not change much. The only major change was how the consumers purchased their wine. Due to lockdowns and restrictions and thus, the shutdown of on-premises channels like bars, taverns, clubs, restaurants and hotels, consumers shifted towards purchasing more wines online. As Melissa Parker, journalist at Drinks Trade put it in her article on the effects of the pandemic on the wine industry: And when it comes to a competitive market like that of wine, it generally is “adapt or die”.
The pandemic has shown the growing importance of digital sales and marketing as a route to market. The usage of online channels to reach the customers is already quite popular in China but needs to be focussed on and expanded in other larger markets like USA and Australia. Even though the cellar door will always be crucial in obtaining new customers by providing memorable experiences, the digital channels cannot be ignored to survive and prosper in the digital world. Online shopping is less time consuming and more convenient and the bonus benefits to customers through promo codes, cashback partners, loyalty programs and the ability to research for the best price has reshaped their behaviour. And even though many of the changes due to COVID-19 might not last, the clear trends emerging in digital ecommerce shows that it will endure as it was already on the rise, but the pandemic gave it a huge acceleration.
Source: Wine Intelligence
Having a great digital presence will enable consumers to support their favourite wineries, without physically visiting them. And even though the restrictions are being eased now, this trend has become the new normal. Wine Intelligence’s report shows that most online wine buyers tend to be young and high spending and interested in good deals and enjoy shopping in their own convenience. They have become more comfortable with buying wine online and having it delivered to their doors. And to grow sales in this competitive market, small to medium winemakers need to provide a seamless shopping experience to the consumers through a well-managed cellar door, ecommerce store and email marketing. They also need to be able to set themselves apart using stories, as stories sell wines. They need to embrace digital or get left behind. And since no one wants to get left behind, technical innovations are being developed and activities are being strategically planned by wineries to build their brand, engage and serve both existing and potential future customers by standing out. The trend of consumers having top quality wine delivered to their home is with us to stay as the rest of the market gradually returns.