When the pandemic hit Australia with unprecedented lockdowns, consumer behaviour drastically shifted, creating what was quickly dubbed ‘the new normal.’

The impacts of this were wide reaching and are still impacting the Australian market today. Shoppers have become accustomed to new ways of making purchases, which has made the online space more valuable than ever.

With a close relationship to its members, Retail Drinks recognised this importance, and saw the multitude of ways that liquor retail businesses were catering to changing consumer needs through online means. This drove the creation of a panel specifically on this topic at the upcoming Liquor Retail Summit on 19 May, which will discuss how the industry can maximise online opportunities while ensuring safe and responsible retailing.

Attendees to the Summit will have the unique opportunity to hear a range of perspectives from all aspects of the online liquor retailing framework, including hybrid retail, pureplay online retail, marketplace, direct-to-consumer producer/supplier and alcohol delivery partners.

The panel will be called ‘the future of online liquor retailing,’ and will be moderated by our own online liquor expert, Andy Young, Editor of The Shout.

Joining Young on the virtual panel is Richard Kelsey, Co-Founder and Director of Beer Cartel, who said the discussion is sure to highlight opportunity in a fast changing environment.

“I hope attendees will get an awareness of how the liquor retailing landscape has changed over the last year with COVID and the influence that has had, and the likely impacts that is going to have looking to the future. COVID has definitely progressed online retail significantly from where it was the year before and this shift is not going to stop anytime soon,” Kelsey said.

“For many retailers online is still a very small part of their business but to stay on top of the market this is going to have to change over time. Hopefully this panel will provide context on what is changing and just how rapidly it is occuring.”

The next panel member will be Banjo Harris, Co-Founder and Chief Wine Officer at Good Pair Days, who is looking forward to illustrating how businesses can do things differently.

“Online saw such a surge last year, and it promises to continue to grow. It’ll be great to discuss the opportunities that online retail offers, how Good Pair Days is differentiating ourselves and what the future holds,” Harris said.

“Compared to markets like the US and the UK, the penetration of online sales in Australia is still lagging – which means there’s great scope to craft a successful online retail experience.”

Major partner for the Summit, dotdigital, is also featured on this panel with its Head of Customer Success APAC, Beatrice Ellefsen.

“The thing that I’m most excited to be discussing is how we can use digital marketing to improve customer experience of liquor retailing, and give that same in-store experience online,” Ellefsen said.

“I’d love to speak about how you can use customer journeys and automate them to create that great customer experience and have human conversations at scale.”

Another different viewpoint on the panel is found in Ed Kitchen, Head of Operations for Grocery and New Verticals ANZ at Uber Eats. He will describe the unique position of Uber Eats and what it offers to the online retail sector.

Kitchen gave a sneak peek of what he will be covering, and said: “Retailers don’t need tech-businesses to tell them customers are increasingly thinking digital-first with many merchants already building compelling online offerings. But Uber Eats is uniquely positioned to help merchants accelerate their e-commerce offering and scale their reach by tapping into the only platform where customers can easily go anywhere or get anything on demand.

“Uber Eats is a complimentary incremental lever for enterprise brands or a full service offering for the local bottle shop, and we’re looking forward to continuing to collaborate with all partners in this space to deliver the best experience for retailers and their customers.”

The panel is rounded out with the addition of John Carmody, Managing Director of Liquor Legends. The banner group launched a new e-commerce platform early last year and has continued to adapt to online demand throughout the disruption of the pandemic, so has great insights into how brick and mortar retailers can make the successful step into the online sector.

If you want access to this great range of online insights, plus an additional huge range of information designed to help liquor retailers improve their overall businesses, you can’t miss the Retail Drinks Liquor Retail Summit. Register now at the Summit website.

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...