Sheri Hebbeln
April 8, 2014 | Customer Relationship Management (CRM), eCommerce , Wine Industry Trends | Sheri Hebbeln

Study: What drives wine purchases?

Why do shoppers settle on particular wines? Is it because of cost, flavor or brand loyalty? A new study from the University of Adelaide in conjunction with the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation analyzed the preferences of consumers in 11 countries and retailers, distributors and restaurateurs in the U.S., Australia and China. The findings may help you refine your wine marketing efforts based on what customers are looking for. 

"All the work that goes into making a 'brand' for wine, including the packaging, medals, name and taste may be a waste of time if a wine business doesn't know what influences wine selection at various points of the supply chain," said Dr. Steve Goodman, a wine marketing researcher at the University of Adelaide. "Our research found that retailers are not influenced by an attractive label and medals. They want to stock wine that will deliver a good margin."

The research aimed to identify the factors that played into purchasing stages during each step in the wine supply chain. Wineries need to be aware of different segments in the market. For example, if you sell wholesale wine to restaurants, your primary customers won't have the same concerns as individual consumers. Goodman added that restaurant managers tend to choose wine offerings based on taste and pairings, and customers are more likely to pick a wine they have tried before and liked - even if the staff makes a different recommendation. This means wineries need to consider multiple target audiences to ensure they are highlighting the most appropriate brand attributes. 

Deciding factors varied by country
Not only did each audience have different concerns when it came to buying wine, but predictably customers in separate countries had different values. Both Chinese wine suppliers and consumers were highly concerned with wine brands. Individuals in the U.S. and Australia were more likely to make decisions based on the origin and type of wine when choosing wine in a liquor store. However, this was less likely to be a factor for the same consumers in restaurants and bars. 

"Wine businesses need to understand their consumers and their customers (those who buy wine to sell to others)," Goodman said. "At the end of the day, the majority of retail purchases are made because of what is available - someone may love your wine, but if it's not easy to source, they're less likely to buy it."

Acknowledge customer preferences in wine marketing
Whether customers buy wine online or from a liquor store, segmenting can make a huge impact on the success of your winery's marketing. To do this well, you need to collect as much information as possible about your clients. Analyzing purchasing history can be a great way to make more relevant recommendations in the future. In addition, you need to be be able to gather data from each customer touch point. 

However, this prospect can be difficult for those in the wine business because their products in sold in retail outlets that belong to other companies. Online wine sales purchases from your tasting room may be only a small fraction of the overall sales of your brand. This means some wineries have less access to information about customer preferences, according to MediaPost​, which makes it harder to target marketing efforts based on specific preferences. However, you can still collect information on previous purchases from your customer relationship management platform and point of sale system. 

Maintaining a solid understanding of different customer segments is essential for executing successful wine marketing campaigns. These individual customer concerns should never be overlooked.


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