In a complex scenario for the wine industry, e-commerce platforms become a key tool for wine sales
The coronavirus is impacting the entire economy. At a global level, it has been destroying jobs in the tourist and aeronautical industry, as well as in the commercial sector. Furthermore, all projections of world GDP have been cut downwards, day after day.
And the wine industry will not emerge unscathed from the virus. To the collapse of demand in China, the most dynamic market until 2019, is added the expected contraction of international trade. Furthermore, as cases in the United States increase, it is expected that wine consumption will also decrease.
The consultant Javier Merino, director of the Wine Area, has been following the evolution of the trade in wines and detected that it, year after year, “traces” the evolution of world GDP. As a mirror, every time the global economy grows, the wine business does, and vice versa.
The problem is that, in the current situation, all Argentine wineries are forecasting a 2020 to be forgotten.
With a complex outlook for exports and consumption that remains flat and is below 20 liters per capita, the lowest level on record, this year will be very tough in financial terms.
One of the main problems is that, with restaurants and wine bars closed throughout the country and few people on the street and, in many cases, fearful of going to the supermarket or to the nearby store, sales are seriously compromised.
“Undoubtedly sales are going to suffer in general but especially in-person sales. The closure of restaurants will undoubtedly impact sales, which represent, in our case, around 20% of sales in our country,” he explains. to iProfesional Francisco Soldati, from Proviva-Chakana Group.
Meanwhile, Felipe Cordeyro, commercial manager of Bianchi wineries, states that “a high impact on gastronomic events is to be expected”.
“Gastronomy has a greater impact on sales of high-end wines, of more than $ 300 pesos,” he indicates.
“We are working on our plans to support the channel and contribute to its recovery during the rest of the year. At the same time, we are accompanying our clients in all the actions they propose to adapt to these new times,” he says.
Regarding the impact on the winemaking sector, Alfredo Sáenz, owner of the chain EnoGarage, he affirms that the sales “definitively” are going to drop: “The stores are closed and the people are in their houses.”
Wine at home, the key to sustain consumption
The online channel, the big bet
At a time when quarantine is in force and when you have to stand in a line in a box you have to keep more than a meter away, the online channel is emerging as a key tool to cushion the expected drop in sales.
There are no very accurate statistics on how much the wine through ecommerce. The Argentine Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CACE) recently published the 2019 report in which it states that the category “food, beverages and cleaning articles” was the third in billing, with more than $ 41,500 million and a year-on-year jump of 111%.
It is a great bag that includes multiple products. And while the wine explains a small portion of that total, from companies such as Mercado Libre indicate that the wine has been gaining participation.
Since Wineries Bianchi, Josefina Artemisi, digital manager, explains that “our sales increased by 50% and these days we are granting the benefit of free shipping throughout the country to facilitate the availability of our products to our consumers.”
Regarding how the issue is handled in times of restrictions, Artemisi states that “home delivery was unaffected by the quarantine decree, which is why the mail operators will continue to be active.”
As detailed, in 2018 we defined that the Internet was the most democratic tool to approach consumers and thus the project began. Today the store is open 365 days a year and everyone can buy from wherever and whenever they want. There you will find all the information that a consumer may need about our products, you can leave comments and it allows the user to compare prices with any other platform. ”
Soldati, from Proviva-Chakana Group, agrees when pointing out that a good growth of the online channel is expected and that this will reinforce the trend of replacing the face-to-face purchase modality.
“Logistics is more complicated these days due to restrictions on moving around in some areas and entering some neighborhoods. But customers understand the problem and know that orders can take a few more days,” he says.
Either way, for Soldati, it is an irreversible trend: “We have been developing the online sales channel for many years and we believe that good service and good price points are the key to generating sales,” he says.
It should be noted that, out of the million liters that Chakana produces each year, 30% of the winery sells it online.
Projecting a difficult scenario on a commercial level for the coming months as a consequence of the coronavirus, other wineries are also working to promote the online channel.
Marianela Novello Arranz, Head of Domaine Bousquet Hospitality, affirms that “we are working on the development of strategies that allow us to face the coming months, focusing on the sale of wine on-line and the development of a wine club”
Looking ahead, from Bianchi they argue that although it is likely that there will be a slowdown in wine sales in general due to the generalized quarantine, they trust that the sector will support the storm: “We know that wine is part of the Argentine family table and in these weeks that we will all be at home, that space will become more relevant. ”
“That is why we expect an acceleration of consumption in the coming weeks. In our social networks we created the hashtag #Bodegasbianchiencasa so that all consumers of products from the winery participate by sharing a photo of the chosen product of the day to accompany their meals,” he adds. Cordeyro.
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