If you think wine shopping in the West is confusing, try choosing a bottle from the aisles of a supermarket in Chengdu
“Wines available on the market are as numerous as sand in the Ganges. A bottle of wine can reach the bottom of the consumer’s heart by having a well thought through label design.”
This is my favourite quote from the focus groups we conducted in China last month. Although I am a researcher day to day, I also enjoy putting myself in the shoes of consumers and trying to understand their views. After walking along the wine aisles in a Chengdu supermarket and browsing on Yesmywine.com trying to shop for wine, I cannot agree more with the respondent we met in China: shopping for wine in China is never a task for the fainthearted. Wine with distinctive label that can give hint on the price, the taste and origin of a wine can be very helpful to identify on the shelf and memory.
Your average consumers can consult the shop staff, who will usually try to sell you a brand that they get the best commission for. The shelf display is not always clear or informative, aside from basic information such as the country of origin flag, price and Chinese brand name. The Chinese name, having been translated from the original language, is in most cases hard to pronounce. Moreover, the majority of these bottles look very similar from the front – lots of gold colouring, detailed and complex font styles, along with the image of chateaux or vineyards. How can I tell that this ‘chateau’ priced at 400RMB is better than the other 80 RMB ‘chateau’? After all of these effort, I maybe be better off giving up or going with the price.
(Wine shelf in Chengdu, China)