The pandemic has forced industries-- and their customers-- to adapt and change. It has forced companies to focus primarily on online business. For better or for worse, we may never see a true “return” to the purchasing and distribution models that were previously employed.
That’s not to say there won’t be changes when the quarantine lifts. Just consider the restaurant industry. While people are no doubt excited to get back to having tapas in person, or ordering a cold beer at a bar, customers have also gotten used to using mobile apps and ordering takeout. While it’s fully expected that tables will be packed, online ordering is now likely an indelible part of the restaurant business for many customers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more people utilizing online ordering options, even as in-person dining re-opens.
It’s the same reason why, despite the tough circumstances, Amazon is showing year-over-year growth. Sure, ordering groceries online or setting up recurring deliveries were interesting before, but now they’re indispensable. And once consumers have become comfortable with the ease and convenience of these innovative solutions, why go back? The curiosities have now become necessities. Industries have been forced to jump into ecommerce, and ecommerce has been forced to evolve at a much more rapid pace because of it.
As an online platform for distribution, LibDib was always on this path. However, during COVID our Makers and Buyers have been getting more comfortable with technology. Online ordering is now a convenient standard, not an alien concept. The wine and spirits industry has been forced to adapt much sooner than they anticipated.
Historically, alcohol distribution has been a face-to-face business. Reps build relationships, hold tastings, and spread information through word-of-mouth. Brands were built in-store or on-premise. In 2020, restaurants, bars and retailers are now ordering online from their wine and liquor distributors and realizing that this works just as well for them. In fact, they can order outside of business hours. Reps are still a huge part of the process: they can still make suggestions and recommendations, check in, and even host virtual tastings, but the Buyers have more control in the curation and buying process.
Alcohol brands that have embraced this rapid shift to e-commerce are seeing staggering success. Penelope Bourbon is a perfect example of a LibDib Maker embracing ecommerce channels and reaping the rewards. They’ve managed to achieve national distribution virtually using ecommerce as the basis. We’ve also seen success with brands who have taken advantage of barrel programs and private labeling.
Wine and spirits brands who are using distribution and ecommerce as a strategy are winning. They know they must expand their customer base and brand message to a wider online audience.
If you’re a large producer, you can do this without changing much. If you have smaller wine or liquor brands that aren't getting the same attention during this changing market because there are no salespeople on the streets, change your strategy. Seek out smaller distributors who can take those products and run. Find ways to sell online.
Ultimately, the new way wine and spirits brands are doing business now will continue for years. The companies that understand this-- the companies that are pouring resources into ecommerce and not treating it as a temporary solution-- are the ones who will see the greatest success.
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