Recent Trends in Retail and Their Impact on Wine Industry


1. Experiential Retail

Together with the growth of experience economy, retail stores have become spaces to connect with people. Let’s take Nike. Their team says that their new NYC Flagship is the face of living retail.  Their six-floor store on Fifth Avenue  represents the future of retail with its engaging, personalized experiences and digital aspects.  (For details, read:

These new concept retail stores are increasing, especially with young and small players in different fields. For instance, in Switzerland there is a beauty center called Schminkbar. In terms of services, they are no different than other competitors. However, their concept differentiates them from others. Their stores are decorated with antique furniture and they have a cute small cafe at the entrance full of healthy snacks and hipster drinks. During any treatment, one receives a small plate of fruit and one can order a glass of Prosecco or a piece of chocolate cake. The store literally smells spring flowers and many women just go there with friends to have fun during weekends. It is all about the experience they provide. Small details make big differences. Their approach enabled them to open up more stores in Switzerland in a very short time.

 Wine stores on the other hand do very much look like each other nowadays, but sooner than later, many will start conceptualizing their small spaces to enhance the tasting and buying experiences. 

2. Importance of Data and AI

The importance of data in retail is growing rapidly, especially as the technologies like machine learning and Big Data continue to improve. Visionary retailers are finding out ways to collect and use data in their marketing communication and sales strategies.

Data-driven strategies might seem feasible only for very large retail chains but there are various options for smaller players.  By using different retail management technologies, wine retailers can track their sales to make smarter decisions. These tools reveal the performance of different products and enable the wine marketers to connect with the wine lovers better with more input about wine lover’s taste and preference.

Artificial intelligence is a useful tool and its importance has been increasing in retail. AI is used in many areas such as supply chain management, determining prices, categorizing wines and more. At consumer level, we might not have robots all around helping us selecting wines yet, but chatbots are more popular applications, for instance acting as virtual sommeliers to make end-consumer’s life easier when they are surrounded by endless options.

 3. E-commerce

According to Rabobank, between 2010-2017 the wine consumption in Western Europe fell by 5% but e-commerce increased by 66%.  No need to mention the significance of online wine and spirits sales in China! The wine regulations differ in every country and some might restrict online alcohol sales. However, many wine retailers are using e-commerce nowadays and those who have a smoother online experience and better logistic service are preferred.

This accentuates the importance of digital marketing designed with call-to-actions. Ecommerce softwares enable wine sellers to collect more information and create customized campaigns and newsletters to attract more people. It’s time for those who only include a discounted wine list in their emails to stop and think about how to differentiate.

4. Social Responsibility

The number of socially conscious consumer is increasing. Transparency and social responsibility has become critical. When it comes to wine, they want to know if the grapes are grown organically or if the workers in the supply chain are paid well. Natural wine has become a major movement in the wine world because it created a community that has similar values. It’s not always social or environmental. Sometimes it is political. Weingut Emil Bauer & Sohne’s famous wine: If You Are Racist, a Terroirst, or Just An Asshole, Don’t Drink My Sauvignon Blanc made a lot of noise. Customers now expect brands to take a stand in world’s problems.

5. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality

AR and VR experiences are expected to be mainstream marketing tools in 3-5 years! Some call these experiences the ultimate empathy machine. TopShop clients for instance can now watch the recent Catwalk Fashion Shop just by stopping by at London flagship store.

The wine brand 19 Crimes owned by Treasury Wine Estates is one of the most popular wine labels using AR to tell stories. One simply scans the label and the character on the bottle starts talking! The reflections of these applications in wine retail are about to come!

PS: I have been working on AR/VR experiences in marketing with the most amazing partners! If you are interested and more importantly excited about AR/VR applications, drop me a line to via and be one of the pioneers to change the nature of consumer experience in the wine world! 


Seyma BasComment