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Wine trade has lucrative opportunity through mobile technology

Published:  16 June, 2014

The wine industry has historically been slow to cash in on mobile technology, but the time is right for the trade to ramp up its approach.

That's according to Ben Morel, digital project manager at Obergine, who led a number of sessions about technology and the wine trade at London Wine Fair earlier this month. "I found in my research that wine is lagging a bit behind.  I have looked at other industries but found that wine has not adopted mobile technology at the same rate as other industries."

Innovation in the form of apps is on the rise in the wine trade. Ben MorelObergine’s Ben Morel believes the wine trade is finally on the cusp of cashing in on the world of mobile technology.

In the past two weeks The London Wine Guide and Find A Vino have both launched apps in the UK, signalling a small increase in the adoption of mobile technology in the wine trade.

The change could not come at more lucrative time.  According to Morel: "Mobile ecommerce is a £9.5 billion industry in the UK. By 2017 it is estimated that mobile commerce will rise to £17.2 billion."

Because wine's progress has been slower than other categories, there is an even greater opportunity for wine companies that focus on developing mobile technology and are the first to get into the arena. Morel said: "There is an opportunity here then because wine hasn't really played in that arena that much, at least not to the extent that it could do. This makes is a very interesting time for the industry at the moment."

Apps are an important part of engaging with consumers. "Apps can be very useful and they are so much more engaging and when used appropriately can really increase consumer engagement."

But Morel cautioned that before developing an app, businesses should focus on getting their websites right - critically by making sure they are mobile compatible.

 "The website is the fundamental. That is what people will come back to. The average open rate for an app older than six months is about 2%, but people will come back to a mobile website time again if it's good. Plus, if they don't like your website they won't ever go look for your app," warned Morel.

The first investment needed in a website before investing in an app, is to ensure that your website works across all devices.  This type of technology, called responsive web design, is not the cheapest option, but does provide for a better user experience, said Morel. 

RWD is a web design approach that allows for optimal viewing, and adapts the website's look and content depending on the device being used.

Morel said: "Websites that use responsive web design are more expensive, but they are more effective. Having device specific designs and content changes the entire user experience and is way better.  If you have limited budget make sure the website is awesome across all devices before looking at funding an app."