In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, local and national businesses are witnessing what will most probably be known as the largest consumer migration towards purchasing online since the times of the world wide web creation. As consumers found themselves locked in the intimacy of their own homes with limited access to their usual brick-and-mortar eating, drinking and shopping spots, beverage eCommerce has made its way to the new normal.
The wine and spirits online market is among the few sectors that saw their sales volumes skyrocket during the pandemic. An unexpected shift towards at-home consumption naturally favored brands who can speak to and serve their customers online. During lockdown, the companies with an established digital presence not only safeguarded but boosted their revenues, while the less digitized businesses are now facing financial havoc.
This article advocates the wine and spirits industry digitization and showcases how Intuendi technology can help beverage companies tackle the mounting challenges created by the pandemic.
Time to go digital
Historically, the alcoholic beverage space has been slower in its digital transformation than, for example, its food counterpart. The industry’s heavy regulation policy, delicate logistics of shipping high-value liquids, temperature conditions and the need for specialized couriers have all contributed to the beverage industry slightly lagging behind the 21st-century consumer expectations.
These days consumers crave convenience over everything and flock online in search of wine and spirits providers who can anticipate their needs and offer personalized experiences. Although the digital wine and spirits space is still underpopulated, the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) warns that the wine business of tomorrow will be won by wineries that embrace the digital experience today. Notably, this trend manifests itself across both B2C and B2B companies. The 2020 Alcohol eCommerce Playbook issued by Rabobank also suggests that brands that invest in alternative online sales channels early will benefit from crucial visibility, reaping exclusive access to a brand-new customer segment and long-term financial gains.
The success story of Tannico, the world’s largest Italian wine shop, proves just how vital it is to invest in seamless online channel integration and exceptional customer service. By focusing on technological innovation, the company has grown to offer over 15 thousand SKUs, delivering across 19 countries with unbeatable speed.
Tech-infused Inventory Optimization
The plentiful hurdles of managing the wine and spirits inventory may be partly responsible for a modest number of the beverage players in eCommerce. The industry falls victim to seasonality, frequent replenishments, item perishability and catalog updates. However, these challenges can be easily addressed with an AI-based inventory optimization solution, specifically tailored for the wine, spirits and beverages industry. For example, Intuendi helps determine an appropriate inventory level for a specific time of the year by applying predictive analytics and machine learning. Besides, the proposed software automatically takes care of catalog renewals and product substitutions by employing top-down forecasting and new product forecasting techniques.
Smart demand planning
At first sight, demand planning in the times of coronavirus may seem like another mission impossible movie. The most obvious roadblocks range from production stops, store closures and consumer uncertainty. The human factor strongly weighs in as businesses need to address availability constraints related to illness, remote working or missing childcare.
Intuendi responds to these challenges by strengthening our clients’ ability to predict the future. Equipped with a smart demand planning solution, you can leverage statistical and causal forecasting together with the latest demand sensing tech and ensure continuous demand planning at all times. By adding the pandemic as a causal factor into your algorithm, you can further refine your demand planning accuracy and safeguard your revenues in the midst of black swan events.
As wine and spirits companies approach business resurrection after Covid-19, eCommerce becomes a strategic choice for companies willing to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Compelled to adapt to the evolving market conditions, the most successful beverage providers are now supplementing or replacing traditional offline sales channels with eCommerce, utilising innovative software custom-made for the wine and spirits digital space.