Article written by Stephen Wilson, Category & Insights Manager at Strikeforce.

The unexpected purchase. Some friends are popping around at short notice and I have an empty beer fridge.

My friends are mainstream beer drinkers who like a glass or two of red wine with dinner and we usually finish off with a few fingers of single malt Scotch as the meal winds down and conversation dials up.

So, I need a slab of beer, a few bottles of wine and a bottle of spirits. The question is, do I wander down to my local bottle shop which is just a few doors down? Or do I jump in the car and head off to one of two big beer barns, both of which are a five minute drive away?

I have enough time to do either and because I am expecting my spend to be in excess of $150, I decide, like a majority of shoppers, to do some quick online research. In fact, according to a quick Google search, 81 per cent of shoppers do online research before making a considered purchase.

My initial thought was the big beer barns will offer me the best price on my purchase bundle. I expected that by purchasing at either of the big beer barns, I would save around five to 10 per cent on my total purchase.

The equation based on my assumption before going online was ‘is my time worth the savings?’ and ‘was I prepared to pay a slight premium for convenience?’

What my research revealed was quite surprising. I preface this by stating that none of the items I was looking to purchase were on price promotion, making price comparison simple and easy.

First, I compared a slab of my favourite mainstream beer brand and found that there was a 10 per cent price premium from lowest to highest price. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the price advertised at my local bottle shop was lower than both the big beer barns.

What about the wine? I decided to compare the price of mid-tier Pinot Noir to match the meal. I needed two bottles and again, assuming that my local bottle shop would be the most expensive, was proven wrong. There was a 22 per cent variance in price per bottle with one of the big beer barns being least expensive, my local bottle shop priced in the middle and the other big beer barn the most expensive.

Finally, I compared my preferred brand of single malt Scotch, which was almost line priced across all three options.

In summary, I wandered down to my local bottle shop and made my purchase because they were competitively priced for my needs and just 0.1 per cent more expensive than the lowest priced big beer barn and six per cent less than the other big beer barn.

My assumption was incorrect, and I learnt there is plenty of value in doing a quick bit of research before venturing out for your next liquor purchase.

This article originally appeared in the October issue of National Liquor News.

The Shout Team

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

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