April news roundup
Wine business news
Wines and Vines reported direct-to-consumer wine shipments in March reached 509,622 cases for a total of $283 million. That's an increase of 12 percent in sales over the previous year. In terms of number of cases, March's sales were twice as high as January's and 37 percent more than February's. This rise in sales stemmed from warmer weather and increased wine club activity.
California, Washington and Oregon were the first, second and third largest American wine producers, respectively. In addition, international sales for domestic wines have stayed at 4 percent over the past two months.
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is setting its sights on wine with a new shopping event. Company founder Jack Ma announced the online store would promote a sales event devoted to wine on Sept. 9, Decanter reported. Ma recently purchased Chateau de Sours in Bordeaux and has many partners in the region, including Chinese investors who own several wineries and the actress Zhao Wei.
Alibaba is taking inspiration for the wine event from the accomplishment it's seen with Singles' Day. The company successfully turned the holiday into a shopping event similar to America's Black Friday. Singles' Day sales across China totaled $14 billion last year.
Alibaba was inspired by the success of its Singles' Day event.
Meanwhile, wine sales in Colorado may be affected by new legislation. According to The Denver Post, state lawmakers proposed an initiative that would limit the number of liquor licenses within a certain area. However, a last-minute compromise could keep the option off the ballot this November.
Currently, Colorado stores are permitted one license for one location, meaning businesses with multiple stores can only sell liquor in one. The ballot initiative would alter this restriction, permitting only one license within 2,500 feet. Those drafting the bill including a sunset period after which the proximity rule would be lifted, but they have not come to a conclusion.
The compromise currently under discussion would require business owners to buy an existing liquor license in order to sell product harder than 3.2 percent beer. If unable to obtain one, they would be unable to sell alcohol until the sunset provision kicks in. Stores with current licenses can either sell them or keep them out of reach of competition. Many oppose the ballot initiatives, including government officials. They believe this ballot initiative would have a negative impact on local store owners, craft brewers and independent wineries.
"As someone who has done a lot of campaign work, I see the inevitability of the public voting yes on an initiative, and literally overnight you will see families and business owners bankrupted by this," Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman told The Denver Post. "I think providing an alternative to that comes down to being conscientious about the effects of what this process can do to people who have been under one set of laws that find themselves literally overnight under a different set of laws."
Practical Ecommerce provided helpful tips for engaging customers and wine club members through email lists and marketing. For instance, any follow-up triggers should be personalized. Follow-up triggers are emails that automatically send when a visitor takes a specific action on your site. This includes viewing a certain Web page, downloading content or abandoning a shopping cart. Changing the name in the "From" field from your business to a staff member makes the email feel more personal, the site said. In a similar manner, retargeting email ads show casual browsers the exact product they were looking viewing before navigating away from your site, getting them engaged once more.
Multichannel Merchant stressed the importance of providing a fluid e-commerce experience for multiple devices. In a report titled The Influence of Multi-Device Ownership on Ecommerce, created by Ipsos, surveyors found more than half of consumers ages 18 to 44 make purchases with a smartphone. Ownership of such phones increased from 51 percent to 75 percent over the past three years, and shoppers more frequently buy on their phones than they did 12 months ago.
A recent Arizona bill ends restrictions on in- and out-of-state wineries on Jan. 1, 2017, Wine Spectator reported. Signed by Governor Dough Ducey earlier in late March, the bill allows residents to have a maximum of six cases shipped to their homes from either in-state or out-of-state wineries with a state permit. Currently, residents must visit a winery before making a purchase, and wineries producing more than 20,000 gallons of wine per year cannot ship to Arizona residents. DTC wine sellers, take note: this could open up a whole new market for your business.