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Ten ways to maxmise online sales as UK crowned thirstiest European country for alcohol online

Published:  28 April, 2017

Brits are not only thirsty shoppers, but are happy to jump online for an alcoholic fix.

This has been demonstrated by a new report from e-commerce analysts Profitero, who - in conjunction with Nielsen - have shown that not only is our addiction to buying wine online higher than average – it’s the highest of any market in Europe and third overall in the world.

Currently just a tiny portion of alcohol sales is conducted online, but the category is poised for spirited growth in the coming years.

A shift away from bricks and mortar, the growth of click and collect (a la Amazon) and the rise of wine shopping apps such as Vivinio, have all contributed to the boom in online alcohol sales.

Equally, e-commerce platforms have been forced to improve and expand, driven by increasing consumer demand to access quicker delivery options - sometimes within the hour - and more choice all at the click of a button.

In the UK alone, 21% of consumers have bought alcohol online - the highest proportion in Europe, and third only to China and Japan in the world.

This is against an average of 8% taken from 60 countries surveyed worldwide. 

The report’s author, Profitero SVP of global strategy Keith Anderson, said: “Many signs point to a consumer clearly ready to shop for alcohol online and sales growth via the web is inevitable.

“Retailers, brands and technology companies are exploring and experimenting with a host of online platforms and delivery mechanisms to make buying alcohol online easier. Liquor brands have plenty of opportunity to influence shopper behaviour and engage with online retailers and technology platforms.”

This is a market that’s only going to continue to grow, so e-tailers and those thinking of jumping online need to consider ways to maxmise their online potential.

Here are a few tips from the experts on how alcohol brands can win in the battle for online sales:

1. Implement a digital branding strategy – Take control of your product content strategy. Ensure consistent, accurate and detailed product content across ecommerce channels. Breweries, wineries and distilleries must optimise the appearance of their products on ecommerce sites like Amazon, grocery retail sites, on-demand mobile apps, as well as their own websites.

2. Supply stellar online content – Provide stellar content. Share the story behind the bottle, drink recipes or party planning tips. Online consumers want relevant content at their fingertips.

3. Partner with digital disruptors that matter – Collaborate with alcohol apps and up-and-coming tech platforms – they’re getting seed money and fuelling online alcohol growth in a big way.

4. Support traditional retailers’ online efforts – Help retailers move up the learning curve as they build their ecommerce offers. Drive online beer adoption by providing images, video content and enriched media to elevate the credibility of these retailers as a destination for beer both online and in-store.

5. Have an Amazon strategy – Watch what Amazon is up to around the world. It will disrupt the alcohol industry in a way it’s done with so many other categories. Amazon is now driving the majority of online FMCG growth around the world.

6. Consider creative partnerships – Take a page from the Deliveroo/Heineken tie-up and go direct-to-consumer. Find ways to link an online alcohol purchase into a restaurant or meal delivery service to provide incremental growth and online learning. Other delivery apps like UberEATS, DoorDash and Grubhub are considering this.

7. Engage consumers through digital initiatives – Develop online and mobile marketing plans that encourage consumer engagement. Pair experiential marketing with digital programmes. Just as alcohol brands want to be part of bar talk, strive to be part of social media conversations.

8. Launch an ecommerce hub – Consider operating your own ecommerce hub, such as “Discover the House” launched recently by Pernod Ricard to expand in the luxury market.

9. Watch out for challenger brands – Don’t overlook small-brand activity around the globe. The craft beer industry is exploding. Consumers are flocking to Amazon to buy BrewDog. Any challenger brand could be next.

10. Monitor online alcohol activity – Keep tabs on competitive brands, how retail models are evolving, and what’s happening on Amazon. Identify new online product launches and understand which brands are selling best. Monitor trends in pack size, pricing and promotions. These benchmarks and analytics will keep you ahead of the competition and make you a good online partner.