As the fastest growing category over the last 50 years – responsible for 26 per cent of liquor sales – wine sales are a key driver of growth in liquor stores, but according to a representative of Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), more could be done in-store to capitalise on this.

Key Account Manager at TWE, Kylie Farquhar, shared six main strategies for driving wine sales in liquor retail stores at the recent ILG Study Tour in the USA.

TWE conducted three years’ worth of research, both in large national chains but also independent retail partners including Bottlemart, Chambers Cellars, IGA Ritchies and Liquor Barons, to support with data the tangible benefits of putting such strategies in place.

According to Farquhar, retailers firstly need to make the wine category easier to shop.

“With over 2000 SKUs of wine and 355 brands competing in the segment, 75 per cent of shoppers find shopping for wine really difficult, and I don’t blame them,” said Farquhar.

“So how can we make it that little bit easier in store? Firstly, we’ve got to be able to clearly navigate people to the segment. Obviously we focus a lot on our cool room and have a lot of signage up around beer, and it’s a lot easier for people to find beer in our stores.

“Then we need to take that to the next level as well, and navigate them to the specific varietal, while also allocating space in our range according to the growth and size of that varietal – for example, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc in particular accounts for 40 percent of white wine sales, and that’s what most of our shoppers are looking for.”

Retailers should also ensure they’re maximising profit out of the fridge, as 70 per cent of white wine is sold from there.

“This is what we have taken from the studies over three years: a 23 per cent sales uplift of premium white wine out of the fridge – so wine over $15 – if your fridge is well set out and easy to navigate.

“So how do we make it easy? Once again it’s all about navigation. We need to have clear separation of varietals in the fridge, we need to make sure we allocate the right amount of space according to the overall size and growth of that varietal.”

Farquhar also shared the “scary” fact that less than 30 per cent of shoppers visit the wine category in store, and set a challenge for the retailers present.

“Because 70 per cent of shoppers don’t visit the wine aisle, you need to take the category to the shopper. My challenge to all of us in the room today, is the one place that we know every single liquor consumer will visit: the till. 100 per cent of shoppers will go there and it needs to be utilised.”

With less than one percent of wine SKUs delivering 15 per cent of sales in the wine category, Farquhar also said that retailers should “optimise” their range to reflect that consumers are still looking for “brands they can trust”.

Retailers should also drive shopper conversion with targeted promotions at key selling periods – Christmas, Easter, footy finals, and Father’s Day for example – as these key selling weeks on average generate 15 per cent more sales than a regular week.

Finally, Farquhar stressed the importance of staff engagement and training.

“Building staff wine knowledge is key – the more confident your staff are about talking about wine, the more likely they are to influence the shopper’s decision when purchasing.”

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