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My perfect customer: Emily Silva, The Oxford Wine Company

Published:  17 September, 2019

How would you describe your customer base?

It’s a broad spread, which varies depending on location. From people coming in regularly to stock up to those who only visit us when they’ve got a present to buy or a special occasion coming up. There’s a strong university contingent – students and fellows – which has only increased since we opened our town centre shop. And then we have those who come in for specific areas in which we specialise – whiskies and fortified wines, for example.

What would be your ‘perfect’ customer?

We are always happy with anyone who chooses to spend their money with us, and there are a few types of ‘perfect’ as far as I’m concerned; we have some wonderful regulars who have become friends. I love dealing with people who are curious about wine and interested in trying new things. I chose a career in wine because it’s my passion, and sharing that with others is special.

What can you offer customers that supermarkets and Majestic can’t?

We can offer expertise in a way that the supermarkets can’t. Our staff are unbelievably well qualified and happy to pass on their knowledge. I have to say though that every time I’ve been to a Majestic the service has been really good – their staff are wonderful. We have quite a few ex-Majestic people on our team at OWC… but I do think we have them beaten on range. We have over 2,000 products, covering the classics and more esoteric things, and since all our shops are in the same county, we can tailor our range really well to the needs of our local market.

How do you go about attracting new customers?

We don’t do a huge amount of advertising outside of social media. Our wholesale business helps with attracting new retail customers, which is great. And our Oxford shops are both in fairly prominent positions with plenty of passing traffic in one case and pedestrians in the other, so that helps.

How do you maintain relationships with existing customers?

The most important thing by far is efficient and friendly service. Tasting events also work well in fostering a closer relationship with our customers. Then there’s our email and social media marketing, which is all geared towards relationship building rather than anything too sales focused.