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“There are 125,000 individual wine SKUs in the U.S. with more imported SKUs arriving all the time from hundreds of thousands of wineries on our planet. - CEO of Jackson Family calls for protections against imports – North Bay Business Journal, May 1, 2019
According to SevenFifty, in the state of Texas – 2025 suppliers and 34,205 wine brands are currently operating in 2019.
The clarity that comes with the quote from SevenFifty, i.e. from the stats from Texas, RNDC is that the odds of you getting your distributor to do something for you are going to become very slim.
Your wine label is in a jungle of SKUs where the survival of your wine is a bigger deal than you think. Selling wine in this labyrinth where several players already know every nook and cranny of its world and where every new player entering is only adding to this over-crowded Bombay of wines is now compelled to either change methods or bring new creative ways to sell altogether!
“Wine distributors in the room, I feel your pain!” – Ben Salisbury, Creator of Salisbury Creative Group, at the Conference for alcohol and beverage import and distribution 2019, hosted by Beverage Trade Network
Before I answer to that question, let me first begin with an example of what has been done in the more recent times:
Aldi Supermarket UK came up with a unique diploma course for consumers yearning to become a wine buff with a case by case education in wine with Mistress of Wine, Sam Caporn and set an example of how to stop depending on distributors to sell your wine to your consumers.
This paints the picture that something needs to change for when it comes to wine selling, this industry has never disappointed, but the problems that come with the crowded market did not exist 10 years ago when you could spend time with your distributors, and incentivizing them and educating them actually made a difference.
Bring “something new” that will eventually result in selling!
This “something new” can either be a something that will eventually mount up to an increase in sales numbers like Aldi did, or you could use creative ways to find gaps that you can play to your advantage which will result in a direct hike in sales number.
In today’s world, your sales staff cannot be a person who geeks out on wine. He/She needs to be a person who understands the business more than understanding wines. Being knowledgeable about wine is not enough! Instead for him/her to understand which wine is working in the market is more relevant for your business.
CRM tools like bmp’online (now named Creatio on 30th November 2019)!
“It is too expensive? Well so is failure, so is going out of business, this is a no brainer”, Salisbury
CRM tools especially the ones like bmp’online which is right now the only tool on the market that combines customer data with business process management. This helps you keep a record of your customers while at the same time coordinating various activities with your sales, marketing, and customer support teams. In the coming years, such tools are going to be given widespread preference to, since although adopting to such systems takes time, but that is a skill that could be learned by anyone which would ultimately give structure to the business and will very evidently highlight the weak zones of the business in a consistent and more holistic manner.
A tool like The Facebook pixel helps to understand how your cross-device ads help influence conversions. These are tools that optimize delivery by ensuring that ads are shown to people who are most likely to convert or buy the product, in our case, wine.
The novices to this world believe that we project intent only by maybe actions like “Add to Cart” or “Add to Wish List” but intent can be projected in a far more complex manner, for example choosing to read particular blogs, commenting on certain pictures, like a particular article, sharing a certain product. The most ideal way to understand online intent has not yet been created, but The Facebook pixel is by far the greatest tool for a step in the right direction and is evidently going to become a game-changer for the wine industry, especially now that a percentage of off-premise wine is bought online.
Leveraging technology and creativity will become the deciding factor as a new player if you wish to continue to push wine sales. The old ways have become obsolete, and the structured sales calls have already reached met demise. The wine industry too has changed, and so will wine selling have to.