Consumers love the convenience of online ordering for everything from books and clothes to electronics. But when it comes to wine, customers want to open the door and walk into a store.
Almost 90% of all wine, beer, and spirits purchases in the last year were made in-store. That number is expected to rise as pandemic life transitions back closer to everyday life, according to new research by ChaseDesign, a human-centered design agency.
Pandemic boom for online alcohol ordering
While Drizly and other on-demand alcohol delivery businesses soared during mid-2020, customers are still looking to read wine labels, browse, and talk with fellow wine lovers. Now, sites like Drizly are seeing a decline in sales since consumers are leaving their homes.
During the pandemic’s peak, 40% of consumers reported to ChaseDesign they bought alcohol online. However, by the summer of 2021, that number dipped to 35%, which is trending toward the 30% pre-pandemic levels.
The fact that so many customers prefer the in-store route but still have online ordering as an option can be tough for businesses to navigate. For brands, it means playing to the average customer online and in-person.
Where the customers shop
In states where it is legal, customers ranked Walmart as their number one choice of where to buy wine and liquor. In fact, 36.8% said Walmart had the best shopping experience. The second-best option for consumers was the local liquor store, with 34.6% choosing an independent liquor store to purchase their spirits.
According to ChaseDesign, people continue to choose the local liquor store because they trust the store associates for recommendations and localization.
“The power of localization and trust in store associates [is] often the most undervalued asset at retail,” Joe Lampertius, president at ChaseDesign, told Supermarket News.
Ranking third was Target with 25.4% of consumers preferring to buy wine and liquor there.
Buying in person comes with perks
Shoppers found online alcohol purchasing convenient, but the in-store experience provides a tactile and learning experience online just can’t provide.
In the report, 53% of people said they enjoy seeing beverage choices in person, and 42% reported they like to pick up products to learn more about them from the store associates. In fact, 35% of shoppers said that store associates who know about options and choices are missed while shopping online.
When it comes to trying something new, 41% said it’s easier to discover new brands in-store, and 37% indicated they like the overall atmosphere in a store.
What brands can do to take advantage of in-person shopping
A key statistic from the survey is that 41% of people found it is easier to find something new in the store.
For brands looking for new customers, offering in-store wine or liquor tastings can help customers who are shopping for something else discover your brand. In addition, you can ask for the emails of customers who try a sample and conduct a quick survey to see if they also shop online or not.
Next, use your sales team to help educate in-store staff so they can promote your product and make educated recommendations that the customers love.
Many alcohol delivery services, such as Drizly, give brands and stores access to analytics to help you understand which specific wine or liquors sell better online and in which zip codes. And it’s worth nothing that even though consumers are still buying alcoholic drinks mostly in supermarkets, online shopping channels do have the potential to grow, according to the Wine And Spirits 2021 Market report.