The liquor retail industry is on the precipice of major change
At the moment, only a small proportion of wine, beers and spirits shopping occurs online. However e-commerce penetration is projected to triple over the next 10 years. This will create a huge shift in how consumers spend grocery dollars as they embrace digital and expect pubs and hotels to do the same.
If you have a liquor retail store, you have a unique opportunity to capitalise on this shift.
It is a big opportunity
A recent survey conducted by Google shows just how big this opportunity is. When asked which retailer they would choose if they were to buy groceries online, people who haven’t used an online grocery shopping service in the last year said that they were most likely to start with their neighbourhood grocer.
Almost all (96%) say they would look first to a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer for home delivery. 85% say they would select a store that they already visit.
Offline liquor sales are influenced by digital
While most liquor shoppers aren’t buying online yet, they are shopping online. Today over 50% of offline liquor sales are influenced by digital. They use search to become inspired, browse, or research.
As liquor purchasing planning moves online, pub owners have an opportunity to provide shoppers with tools and information that influence the products they explore and the decisions that they make.
Retailers who can get shoppers to try online offerings even once will gain a huge advantage on the competition. It turns out that 75% of online grocery shoppers say they are still shopping with the first retailer they tried for online grocery. This would be very similar for online liquor shoppers.
To attract and win your current shoppers as they start to move online, you can drive awareness of online options. You can also respond to early signals based on shoppers’ search and YouTube interests, and proactively deliver trial offers to high-value audiences.
Shoppers have high expectations for their online shopping experience.
They expect frictionless, intuitive, and even one-click experiences.
We can take a lesson from grocery. Only 42% of people who’ve shopped online for groceries once in the past 12 months say that the experience saves them time versus shopping in a store. They want to easily and intuitively locate their favourite products, discover new ones, and compare brands and prices.
Those in-store cues aren’t being replicated in the online experience, where sorting through product pages and building baskets can feel time consuming.
Over time though, the online experience does become more efficient. After shopping for groceries three times, 63% of online grocery shoppers say that online grocery shopping saved them time. That is a jump of 21% more than one-time online grocery shoppers.
I experienced this myself today when placing an order on the Bottlemart online app. I searched for two products and checked out with delivery going to a different address than normal within a couple of minutes. We were delighted when the order was delivered within 20 minutes even in peak hour!
Retailers have to rethink convenience
Retailers have to rethink convenience to close the gap between online and in-store experiences. To do this they need to make browsing, comparison shopping, and basket building intuitive and frictionless every time shoppers go online.
The retail liquor industry is poised for radical change over the next 10 years, as retail liquor follows the lead of other industries where people have become comfortable with shopping online.
There will undoubtedly be experimental startups trying to disrupt the space.
But, forward-thinking traditional retail liquor stores and pubs who can leverage strong relationships with their customers to drive trial and build truly assistive shopping experiences are positioned to win as liquor shoppers become truly omni-channel.