I’ve spent a few months now researching the wine iPad world. There are some good general wine apps but not one that helps the real problem that wine retailers face.
The real problem with selling wine is not the technology, there are many capable wine software solutions out there, it it not with the retailers, they are as technically proficient as any good American business, it is with attracting wine drinkers who buy lots of high margin wines.
These wine consumers, called ‘Enthusiasts’, are the nuggets of the industry and drive 29% of the wine industry profits. Indeed the wealthiest of them make up 3% of the wine drinkers but buy such a large volume of premium wines they make up 16% of wine industry profits (see my book How to Sell Wine Online for more). For wine store retailers to survive against the discounters that are ruining the wine industry you need to regularly attract enough of these high margin customers to survive and prosper.
Attracting High Margin Wine Drinkers
Research has shown that Enthusiasts hunger for wine information. They are passionate about wine and often have a personal relationship with particular wine shop staff. Whether they buy on-line or in-store they want to explore different wines, they want to see what others think and how they rate the wine, and they get the technical – what’s the pH, the terrior, elevage, brix at harvest?
The best of your sales assistants can help them, most of the time. But only a few of us are Masters of Wine, only a few of us can keep up with wine magazines and the plethora of wine blogs and internet site information. We just don’t have the time to absorb the firehose of wine information that comes through the internet, much less create our own wine reviews and ratings. Even Gary Vaynerchuk, the wine industry’s internet superstar, found it exhausting and had to stop after a few video packed years.
So I’m developing a Wine iPad app
I am taking the internet firehose, redirecting it, cleaning it up and presenting it on your Apple iPad to show your customers.
Now when these high margin customers want information about your wines you can show them your iPad app with just your wines and your prices – as well as expert wine reviews and winery information.
If there is a wine review video they can look at this. If it is a single vineyard wine we can show them the location on a map. If there is a story about the vineyard from a wine blogger we can let them read this. They get all the information they need to make a purchase decision – not walk out of the store frustrated that they couldn’t be comfortable with buying expensive wines.
You can hold an iPad yourself, securely attach them to the wall, a shelf or a stand, or give trusted customers an iPad to go through the wines at their leisure. You will be even be able to offer your wine retail app to your customers to download from the internet.
So when can I get this Wine iPad app?About August 2012 from the iTunes store. The first version will use vintank’s cruvee data and will be a general app for wine drinkers to use.
I’ll then be customizing versions for wine retailers and wineries. Because most of the development has been done already I expect it to be cost effectice to customize versions for wineries and will announce more details for this group closer to the time.
Wine retailers however will require further development to be able to use it in-store. A version 2 will be available for them that allows them to select wines, change prices and add their own wine descriptions.
I’ll also be rapidly working on adding other data after this first release or, to continue the analogy above, I’ll be joining the wine information firehoses to direct all the information needed to sell high margin wine to high value customers.
If you’d like to know more feel free to contact me.
EDIT (10 Dec-12): The iPad app has been built but the real challenge is with “taking the internet firehose, redirecting it, cleaning it up”. That is taking longer than hoped but, fear not, work is still progressing.
EDIT (26 Mar-12): This app is now being rolled into a new community I’m launching. For details see this post Building a Wine Marketing Community to battle Elephants and Aphids.
What features would you like to see? Please comment below.