The online wine market has many competitors. I’ve taken a representative sample and created an Online Wine Market Model for illustrative purposes (click here or on image to view it at full size).
The Online Wine Market
The larger the circle the greater the online presence and/or sales in the US online wine market. The closer a competitor is to a word in italics the more likely it is positioned that way. For example WineLibrary is close to Member Community reflecting its active “Vayniacs”.
It’s not from a market research usage and attitude study with carefully calculated multivariate cluster segmentation 😉 (which is what market researchers use to create this sort of model in a more scientific way).
Just my own in-depth analysis using tools such as alexa, quantcast, ispionage, various google tools, and that special bit of software – my own eyes. It’s my honest humble opinion.
I’d welcome any comments, especially from the companies mentioned. I’m happy to adjust it if it seems unfair.
Also a possible conflict of interest:
- my clients and I compete with many of these companies already
- I have a service that helps wine retailers get their share of the wine online market
So I could unconsciously be more skeptical of their claims and therefore treat them more unfavorably than warranted. If so I apologize.
With those disclaimers out of the way let’s talk about the players.
Wine Internet Competitors
Arguably the largest in the market because of its offline chain of stores in western US. It boasts a huge selection of wines at cheap prices that can be picked up at the local BevMo.
Others might argue that wine.com is the largest, and they do have warehouses across the country. They also have the biggest presence in wine drinkers minds if not SEO and PPC. They offer large range, ratings, reviews, shipping deals, virtual cellars, recommendations, and wine guides. An impressive site indeed backed up by deep pockets.
More of a portal or mall for wine stores and wineries than a direct competitor. I like this site (indeed I came up with a similar concept before seeing them launch this a few months before I planned to launch my own!). It offers the wine drinker the ability to get ratings and reviews from stores and drinkers all round the world. You can compare prices and get recommendations. They charge the wine store 10% of any sale to be a featured wine store (an “affiliate” model) and offer advertising. They would be the classic “coopetition” you compete and co0perate with them.
Gary Vaynerchuk owns it. Do I need to say more. Such a big advantage to have the king of wine social media (indirectly) drive sales to his own online wine store. Good store with most of the features and a passionate younger community of wine drinkers.
Related to Stephen Tanzer, this is much more traditional (compared to Gary V). An acknowledged expert providing sound advice on 10,000s of wines care of a network of wine stores. This makes it a bit of shopping comparison site like snooth. Great reviews and ratings.
A virtual cellar tracking system that allows members to track their cellar online and share reviews.
A bit of software that allows wine drinkers to search for particular wines from wine retailers around the world. Similar to snooth in that it is a wine shopping comparison website.
Offers a huge range of 17,000+ wines coupled with discounts. Owned by a youngish entrepreneur that leverages his father’s wine shop (like Gary V) to offer a comprehensive online store. Big presence on the web.
“We make wines accessable. Starting point for wine lovers. Snob free zone. Oldest, largest and most popular independent wine-appreciation site.”
A good example of finding a niche and building on it. Good guide to wine and excellent community of wine lovers. The revenue stream is from affiliate sales and adsense.
Each of the above are too big to compete with or a a shopping comparison site. The following are Direct Competitors.
Direct Wine Competitors on the Internet
“Fine Wine at Great Prices. Expertly screened by a panel. Free shipping. Discount wine and Wine Sales.”
Savvy operators. I think what they do is buy bulk wine and use their own brands or get branded wine at a good discount. Then the make good margins by selling direct to wine drinkers. Along with wine.com I’d rate these guys at the top of the industry Search Engine Marketing (SEM) game.
“Above and beyond typical wine store, Vinfolio sells fine wine and services to wine collectors and enthusiasts.”
A comprehensive fine and rare wine retailer for the knowledgeable wine drinker. Superb website, community and reviews together with a collector marketplace and virtual cellar. If MyWinesDirect are expert at SEM these guys are experts at the ecommerce side of the game.
“Exclusive Wines at Great Value. Everyday take 15% off case prices.”
The Wine Enthusiast people. They seem to do well with with the wealthier in-crowd and their marketing programs reflect this. Smart operators.
“1000s of Rare and Collectable Wines from around the globe…”
Californian, 3 large stores, switched on state player, almost a chain wine store operator. Some really good reviews, sharp website.
CA Wine Club.
“We personally hand select and deliver great tasting, limited production California wines and introduce our members to the winemaking families handcrafting each wine.”
More precisely a Wine Club than a normal wine retailer, included because of the way they have targeted a niche (California wines) and made it very personal. Perhaps a good model for a local wine retailer. Not much of an online presence I’m guessing these guys are very good at Direct Marketing or are just small players.
“The complete on-line source for quality wines & spirits.”
An example of how not to do it – sorry guys. No point of difference, basic website. I hope for their sake they upgrade their technology and find a niche as I think they’ll get steamrolled by the big guys. (Out of date? Let me know).
Summary of this very competitive wine market place
A very competitive market place with some very capable players especially: wine.com, BevMo, MyWinesDirect, Vinfolio, WineExpress, KLWines, and Wine Library. Each has one or all of,
- a point of difference
- great SEO or PPC
- ratings, reviews and recommendations
- a community
- range and price
I still think there is a large gap in the market, see The Local Wine Retailer’s Market Opportunity.
Feel free to add others in comments below. If you’re a retail wine online seller please identify yourself, describe why you’re different, and feel free to create a link to your website.