By James Atkinson

Moët Hennessy Australia is facing a serious backlash from its customers over its decision to launch a new e-commerce site that sells the company’s entire portfolio of wine and spirits direct to the public.
The new website, Moët Hennessy Collection, offers competitive pricing on the company’s full range of luxury alcohol brands with metropolitan delivery times of one to three days.
Moët Hennessy Australia managing director Boris de Vroomen told TheShout the website recognises the “irreversible trend” of consumers seeking direct connections with luxury brands online.
He said the From The Producer e-commerce wine website launched today by the Winemakers' Federation of Australia is further evidence of this trend.
De Vroomen stressed that Moët Hennessy Collection is heavily focused on gifting occasions, bundle deals and unique products such as cellar door exclusives and back vintages.
“It’s not like a grocery model, it’s very rich in content,” he said.
“We have absolutely no intention to replace the business of our retail partners – we see this as something that is complementary and incremental.”
“I understand that a few people are vocal about it and it’s causing a stir with them, but you’re talking about a small number of retailers here. That’s not representing the entire feedback that we are receiving from the market.”
However, TheShout has spoken off the record this afternoon to executives from several of New South Wales’ largest banner groups who are absolutely livid at the move and are now reconsidering their relationships with Moët Hennessy. 
Other independents who were happy to speak openly, such as online retailer Winestar and Sydney CBD retail group Red Bottle, have already cut ties.
“We’re led to believe from an independent viewpoint that Winestar was probably their biggest retailer in Victoria,” Winestar’s Bert Werden told TheShout.
“We stuck with them through the whole grey import saga, so it’s a bit of a slap in the face for us. We thought we did the right thing, and now they are absolutely a competitor.”
“It goes totally against the loyalty that we’ve shown them.”
In an act of retribution, Winestar is now advertising on its homepage Moët NV Champagne for $39.95, which was sourced on the secondary market.

Retailers 'battling suppliers for market share'

Meanwhile, Red Bottle Group director Scott Towers told TheShout he is instructing his six Sydney CBD liquor stores and corporate supply business to cease purchasing from Moët Hennessy Australia.
“Red Bottle cannot support Moët Hennessy’s decision to sell its entire portfolio direct to the public in direct competition to all liquor retailers,” Towers said.
And Tim Kelly, owner of Brisbane’s The Wine Emporium, said he “cannot believe that retailers would accept this direction from one of their key suppliers”.
“Us retailers, not only do we battle the big boxes, now we’ve got to fight our own suppliers for market share,” he said.
“I think it’s the most contentious issue facing retailers since the Australian Government has allowed the predominance of Coles and Woolworths in the liquor industry.”
“That’s how important I regard this issue,” said Kelly.
Liquor Stores Association NSW president David Reberger told TheShout: “It is not surprising that retailers are extremely concerned by this development, as we all recognise that retail liquor trading conditions are very tough.”

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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  1. The issue of retailers having to compete with the same suppliers who expect their support in taking their products to consumers has been around for many years. Over that time, many suppliers have realised that they cannot have it both ways and many retailers have made their own decisions on who they support and who they don’t.This is an issue of principle – how can a supplier expect a retailer to support their brands and strategies when they are competing directly with them for the same customer.Only by taking a stand on this principle can we expect things to change.

  2. Oh please, half of the lines on the Moet website everyday retailers would not stock/range. It wont make any difference to retail sales. Have a look at Cannon Cameras – They sell direct to the public via their online website – their pricing is higher, yet JB HiFi, Hardly Normal & The Good Guys all still sell Cannon Cameras in their stores at sharper prices than the Cannon website.
    EG: Dans Imperial price – $54.99. Moet website price: $65.99.

  3. I’d suggest to “Money Penny” that s/he puts in 6 bottles of Moet Imperial and the price drops to $49.99, thereby undercutting your quoted price from arguably the most high profile retailer in the country.

    So now what say you?

    This is a disgusting move by Moet. One for the “Shame File” – Shame Moet, Shame!!

    If vineyards have web sites with direct sales, typically they are on the expensive site and develop a perception for price-points.

    Moet NV, through a major wholesaler is $66.60 – and they will retail it to my customers for $49.99. Once more I say again, shame Moet, Shame!

  4. Haha, got to love an anonymous nom de plume in defending the indefensible!

    Last time I checked, The Shout was a site dedicated to the Australian Liquor Industry so using Camera’s to justify ‘their’ decision bears little relevance. Completely different industry.

    The Moet website has indeed previously offered pricing much lower than their own retail price recommendations and the current pricing appearing on the site. The fact that suddenly ‘Money Penny’ can’t find a bargain when the negative press hits the streets is again irrelevant. It has happened and will likely happen again.

    By saying “It wont make any difference to retail sales” then you are making a further assumption that they won’t sell a bottle. As if they do, then it has indeed made a difference and if they don’t – why have the site at all?

    You further justify your…sorry ‘their’ site by saying “half of the lines on the Moet website everyday retailers would not stock/range”. Aside from having some great insight into the workings of Moët Hennessy Australia, this goes to the heart of the issue. If a consumer can’t find the product at their preferred retailer but can on the Moet site then again they are making a difference to retail sales.

    As I sit and ponder the wisdom of this concept, I wonder whether the widespread loss of sales of premium product will be offset by those gained by the new site. I’m glad you think it won’t make a difference. For me, it is a brave move. Braver in fact than using an anonymous handle on the Internet.

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