Extracts from CEO Lulie Halstead’s presentation at London Wine Fair in May 2019 at a seminar on future consumer behaviour
What is driving consumers to purchase the wines they do and how are they making these decisions? And how might this change over the next few years? These pertinent questions were at the heart of a seminar at London Wine Fair in May 2019 entitled ‘The Future: what you need to know now to write your next five year business plan’. Marie Stafford of J Walter Thompson (Innovation Group) and leading commentator Robert Joseph joined Wine Intelligence CEO Lulie Halstead to debate the issues. This is a summary of Lulie’s presentation.
We live in a very ego-centric world where many consumers’ main focus is themselves. Because of this, retailers are now facing an growing and persistent challenge to tailor their products to individual needs. This means going further than adding a name to a label, as Coca Cola did, towards looking at consumers’ personal data and using algorithms to tailor a specific message to a particular person. In addition to basic marketing applications, we are starting to see high-tech products that can be customised to specific users, such as DNA-based recommendations. For example, Vinome is a DNA wine recommendation platform that suggests and sells wines based on a unique combination of your DNA sample and taste preferences. Products like this will be more commonplace over the next few years.
More and more people are looking for experiences over ‘stuff’. Increasingly, brands are incorporating service elements and going beyond being just a product and towards delivering experiences that fully immerse the consumer. This has particularly developed in retail over the past five years or so with the in-store environment having to work hard to counter the threat of e-commerce. Stores are increasingly upping their game and making their brick-and-mortar stores a theatrical destination. This is especially popular amongst brands targeting to Millennial consumers as many in-store experiences are creating Instagrammable environments that are superior to anything they could find online.
Convenience is also key to attracting consumers. In the fast-paced world that we now live in, consumers want things right away and with as little social interaction as possible. The rise of frictionless stores where consumers have little to no interaction with anyone is on the rise. For example, the Amazon Go store in Seattle is a prime example where the customer enters the store, collects their items and leaves without having to pay at a till or interact with anyone. Stores like this are increasingly popping up around the world – even Sainsbury’s are trialing a frictionless store in Holborn, London. This is probably one of the most monumental shifts in retail.
Sustainability has gone from something of a niche trend to hitting the mainstream and becoming a conscious life choice for many consumers. For example, the Wine Intelligence Global SOLA: Opportunities in sustainable, organic & lower alcohol wine 2019 report finds that more consumers are looking to sustainably produced wines, as they align with consumers’ increased ethical consumerism, which Research Manager Emily Carroll discusses in more detail here. In addition, consumers are increasingly expecting the companies they interact with to step up and start delivering products that match their values.
Overall, knowing your consumers and what they like is crucial for success, especially in a climate where trends change so rapidly. If you want to find out more about your specific wine consumers, you can create your own bespoke survey for the July wave of Vinitrac by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your project.
Author: Lulie Halstead