Buying wine on Internet

Buy wine online is something that still surprises many consumers. Quite a few people I know -wine lovers and regular buyers in wine stores and supermarkets- say they haven’t ever bought wine online. In our everyday work at Uvinum is to disclose our experience and preach about the advantages of the Internet over more traditional channels.

Buy wine online is now a reality. In the U.S., it represents already more than 8% of the B2C market, which equates to more than 2,000 million dollars. In Europe, online wine sales are growing year by year more than 10%, even if it is true that in Spain, consumers have failed to see (and companies might not have known how to educate well the user) the advantages and convenience of shopping on the Internet.

So I think it is good to do an afterthought process on what are the key elements when deciding to buy a wine at a wine shop or supermarket, for example. We have made several brainstorming sessions with people in the industry (and people who are not) and these are the elements that stood out when making a decision to stop buying a wine:

  • receiving a recommendation
  • price and price/quality ratio
  • complete information about the wine
  • brand
  • discovering a wine
  • design/packaging
  • wine brand
  • grapes
  • and DO (appellation)

To all this I would add:

  • the breadth of catalog
  • recommendations not influenced by commercial interest to buy a wine vs. other
  • the convenience of buying wine when you want (at work, at home…)
  • receiving personalized recommendations
  • being able to compare prices between shops and deciding on the best price

If I add up all these elements, all of them are clear arguments in favor to buy wine on the net. Internet offers all the options discussed here, but unfortunately buying wine online is not a massive reality in Spain today. What are we waiting for this to happen? If the travel industry, Internet represents already more than 25% of sales, given the clear benefits which this entails (over a traditional travel agency), how could it not be the same with wine?

In addition, there are several online stores in Spain doing a fantastic job, such as Drink Supermarket, Slurp, Exel wines, Swig, Naked wines, BBR, Majestic winesLaithwaites, etc. and other overseas such as, Chateauonline,… All of them have proven over time its quality as a service and its advantage as a sales channel.

On the other hand, when I talk to people about the issue of the online wine sales and the possible disadvantages of the net, some tell me:

You can not taste wine on the Internet…

And it is true, on the net wine can not be tasted. But, can you do this in a supermarket or in most of wine stores?

At the end, each sales area has its advantages, as can have it specialty shops, wine stores, supermarkets, etc. The only important thing is to spread the wine culture and the responsible consumption to share with your family or friends.

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