How Independent Winemakers are using eCommerce to take back Control of their Future

How Independent Winemakers are using eCommerce to take back control of their Future.

Independent wineries in Australia are facing an unprecedented challenge, trying to balance the decline in domestic wine consumption amidst the growing market power of the mass-retailers.

According to IBISWorld Industry’s 2018 Report on Wine Production in Australia, “the industry relies heavily on orders from retailers to generate revenue. Generally, increased demand from retailers translates into higher sales of wine.” 

It’s the dominance of these big retailers that’s creating a relationship of dependence for smaller wineries, driving a trend toward lower bottle prices and commoditisation.  That finding is borne out by Wine Australia’s 2017 Small Winemaker Production and Sales report, which reveals that the proportion of sales via retail outlets now exceeds 45% and is growing at 5% each year.

If your only channel to market for your products is controlled by someone else then your destiny really is in someone else’s hands. 

How can smaller winemakers take back control of their channel to market, and future proof their business? 

The direct-to-customer (DTC) reach of winemakers used to be restricted to people they could attract to their cellar doors, but today’s digital commerce environment offers a host of new opportunities for smart players. 

Wine tourism and winery-based experiences are still a lucrative value-add. But smaller producers can also create online marketplaces for their wine experiences using subscription-based sales models and e-commerce stores.

Talking directly to your potential customers through social media allows you to quickly build your brand and develop a community of loyal followers who appreciate the culture and heritage of your winery as much as you do. 

Talking about the identity and values of your business and sharing your winery’s story online will help them develop a loyal & high-value customer base. These people will value the nuances of your story & they’ll be prepared to pay a premium for your products. 

Like those who make the effort to come to your cellar doors, your online audience can be educated and nurtured into becoming the type of customer that buys a higher volume of product more often. Additionally, these are the very same customers that will purchase your product extensions, such as wine tours, or “glamping” in the vineyards. 

Digital communications offer every business the ability to find their audience and make a deep and lasting one on one connection with them. And by connecting with these people, and helping them to appreciate the finer characteristics of your wine, they’ll be so attracted to the authentic culture of your winery that they are happy to pay a premium for your products. 

The only way to avoid being commoditised into oblivion by the market dominance of mass-retailers is to go DTC and build your brand.  Never before in history has there been such a cheap, efficient and highly effective medium that is available to any business, and can build your brand DTC than there is now. 
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