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Give consumers more control, hears Vinexpo

Published:  20 June, 2013

Giving consumers more control over how they choose the wines they want to buy will be one of the principal drivers to ensuring profitability in the retail and on-trade sectors in the future, the trade heard at Vinexpo this week.


This was one of the key conclusions drawn from a conference at this week's wine trade fair in Bordeaux looking at current and future wine distribution models, which featured Richard Halstead, chief operating officer of Wine Intelligence.


He pointed to Wine Intelligence research that has identified five key factors in future successful trading models which include: minimising risk, engaging with the consumer, theatre, new selling models and developing ultra-niche concepts.


"Use the product as an iconic statement," said Halstead. "You're selling a concept and an idea."


The conference also included presentations from three independent wine merchants operating in different countries and markets who demonstrated how their different strategies have brought success.


Peter Ingram, store manager at Vagabond Wines in London, stressed the importance of allowing customers to taste wines before they buy. "They know what the wine tastes like in the store, so they know what is should taste like at home," he said.


Stéphane Girard, founder of Wine by One in Paris, said his approach was to give his customers a "passport" not only to the wines he sells but to their places of origin and cultures as well. It was vital, he said, to have as wide a range of products as possible so that consumers can really explore your offer.


Stephan Linden of Wine in Black said it was important retailers invested in technology and consumer data and understanding to ensure their customers got what they wanted. "For commercial success you must be good at understanding customers," he said. "You have to find an automated way to know what people want to buy."