Only a week after I decide to write down my thoughts on trends in online wine sales in France, I have a little more to report.
In the article on Love That Languedoc, I named four trends in the way French wine is being sold online:
The phenomenon of retailers who do everything including become bar tenders, restauranteurs, caterers, venue managers, online merchants, and anything else they can do just to stay in business.
Group purchasing and “team buying” where companies group individuals online to order large volumes of wine and benefit from the economy of scale.
Pre-sold custom wines which often include some kind of “wine experience” or “wine education”.
Regionally-specialized wine merchants who only sell goods from one specific place like the Languedoc Roussillon.
Well I got a nice email from Eve Resnick who writes the Wine Brands Blog. She noted:
“You could also see what some vente privée sites do: cave-privee.com, 1jour1vin.com and ventealapropriete.com. Most of them buy directly at the propriété.”
And rather hilariously, I discovered another site that advertises “prix du domaine” direct sales AND specializes in the Languedoc (two birds with one stone).
But all of this is harder for me to differentiate from conventional e-commerce sites. Buying directly at the property is what all my cavistes and online retailers do. I guess a fair amount of online retailers still buy from a wholesaler, so these are websites that step away from that model.
Maybe you could also define part of the differentiation as these are usually sites that deliver to your door and have no brick and mortar store front. But is this new? Did most online retailers start off with physical stores?
In this breath, it may be worth noting the evolution of businesses like Majestic in the UK and Curious Wines in Ireland. Those are wine guys who stepped away from high cost store fronts but still let people come and shope out of the warehouse. They also do the mixed cases delivery thing which is pretty great.
Which brings me to another point I didn’t really want to tackle yet… are my buddies at Naked Wines doing ALL OF THESE THINGS? I’m going to take a whole post later on to really address this question. While regional specialization is only slightly applicable, all of the other innovations I’ve mentioned do get used. Pre-selling, mixed cases, no storefront, and a bit of do-everything.
Something to look forward to in this ongoing series on wine marketing trends online.