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Wine Retail Store of the Future

The Wine Store of the Future is all about helping customers experience wine, and sales people selling wine, by using technology. This is the start of a new blog category about how I see this happening over the next year or two. I’ll also be looking to test these ideas myself to see how close I can get to the ideal future wine store.

In-Store eCommerce on an Apple iPad

The major trend is the merger of the in-store and online experience. Apple has essentially made this possible through it’s easy to carry and use iPhone and iPad products.

We have credit card swipe terminals that can be fixed onto iPads or, even better, NFC touch smartphone payment systems.

eCommerce meanwhile has matured such that it is easy to repurpose content on an eCommerce website onto an iPad. By repurpose I mean take the wine review videos, customer reviews and ratings, photos, maps and facebook/twitter sharing, and reformat them in a away that makes sense for an iPad in-store customer.

This is probably done using an iPad app that is on a large number of iPads that salespeople and customers can use when they walk into the store. I’d suggest that iPads are handed to customers as they walk in. Perhaps the app is available to be downloaded by regular customers as well.

The Store Layout also Changes

Store Layout becomes biased towards premium customers browsing rather than budget customers bartering. It becomes one that encourages people to browse with virtual assistants or with a salesperson – who can also use the virtual assistant to demonstrate how to find information before handing it over to a customer.

iPad telephonyRather than a checkout counter near the door with shelves and cabinets stacked tightly together, it becomes a place where people can browse a section, scan QR codes using the iPads to be redirected to the specific product they are interested in. Then they sit down and watch a video, check out cellar tracker reviews or see related products in-store.

Love the Wine, not Drive-By and Grab

Wine tasting machines would also be center stage to taste may of the wines with tasting paid for through the iPad (and perhaps refunded if they buy a bottle). There would be a touch screen in the front window for people to browse from the outside as well. This may just be an iPad or a large screen.

I see the following happen. A customer walks into store, the sales person greets them and asks what they are after, shows them how to browse the store using the iPad by demonstrating the ease of use of the iPad and then hands it over to the customer to explore at their leisure.

When the customer is ready then they purchase through the iPad by doing it themselves if possible or handing the iPad back to the sales rep to process (with a PIN code of some type).

RFID helps too

Radio Frequency ID security and inventory systems can be used to track wine (and iPads) as well as do constant inventory counts (for monitoring staff theft and breakages).

Ideally regular customers can come in and buy wine themselves with no assistance by the sales rep. The security element would require turning off of a RFid tag which needs a little more thinking through.

I’m also of the opinion that a small store can use that to its advantage by have a rapid turnover of brands. Every month 80% of wine is changed over. Previous wine could still be purchased via the website but we drive people in-store by showing a new range of wine from a particular subregion or varietal.

So that’s what I’m researching now. I’ll be doing a series of blog posts over the next few months about each of these parts:
(1) iPad ecommerce
(2) iPad/iPhone payment systems including swipe and NFC
(3) RFiD card systems that can be used for security and inventory
(4) wine tasting machines and iPad connection
(5) small wine retail store layout
(6) Requirements Document to bring it all together.

Then if I think it’s doable you can watch me stumble through the technology as I make it work 🙂

What else should a Wine Store of the Future have? Please comment below.

Photos courtesy of : sas-ipad iPad telephony


  1. Very interesting post.  It’s amazing how drastically different the wine purchasing experience can be with the infusion of technology.

    • BruceMcGechan says:

      Isn’t it Meg! Am looking into all this technology and will post more thoughts over the coming weeks.

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