Consumers have been slow to adopt purchasing beer, wine, and spirits through online stores but data shows that online sales are heating up. This switch in consumer habits has spurred companies such as Amazon and Instacart to quickly expand their ability to deliver alcoholic beverages while also creating opportunities for sites that exclusively sell and deliver beer, wine and spirits to consumers. By the end of 2018 there were more than 200 businesses dedicated to the online sales and delivery of various alcoholic beverages with companies like Saucey and Drizly leading the way. In 2018 sales grew by just under 11%, reaching $776M in revenue even though most of these companies only operate in select cities but, they do have plans to rapidly expand to other key markets as regulations ease.
Wine currently outpaces beer and liquor in online sales due to the variety of options and scarcity of certain wines, compounded by limited selections in local stores. Beer is still behind both wine and liquor in online sales, but this is expected to change quickly as grocers and other delivery services become more popular with the average beer drinker.
Retailers have noticed their customers are already looking for a digital solution to purchasing alcohol and are staying competitive in the marketplace by offering online ordering systems coupled with convenient pickup options and home delivery.
Online retailers have also noted their customers are asking for more information and having details readily available regarding brands, products, and recommended products have shown an uptick in sales overall. By offering products that are related or similar to items in a cart or from past orders, consumers are expanding their purchases and trying new brands or products altogether.
What does the shift in alcohol sales to online formats mean for a distributor? What challenges do retailers face to meet the demand of online sales and what can distributors do to help? What trends are you seeing in your sales, deliveries, and overall service of your customers currently selling alcohol through some form of e-commerce? Have you thought of changes you can make to be more efficient as online sales become more prominent in your market?
A new solution by the makers of eoStar, eoMarket, will begin to address some of these concerns and challenges by providing retailers with direct access to a complete catalog of available products with detailed information.