Penfolds GM on modernizing wine retail to boost premium sales
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the alcohol industry has been one of the hardest hit, with on-site sales particularly impacted due to lockdown restrictions, which has pushed retail sales off trade all the more important for alcohol businesses.
Wine brands such as Penfolds in particular have had to pay particular attention to upgrading their retail concepts and strategies, as the traditional way of promoting wines has always been to offer samples and tastings, a tactic that has become less plausible due to mask-wearing regulations. .
As such, the company has had to work hard to innovate its methods of marketing and selling wine to consumers, with increased visibility in stores as a key objective.
“We conducted a brand study last year to better understand how consumers become aware of brands and make their retail purchases, and the results of this study confirmed to us that retail visibility is key to increasing brand awareness. “, Yodissen Mootoosamy, Managing Director, Penfolds International (South East Asia, Japan, Korea, Europe and MEA) said FoodNavigator-Asia.
“In countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia, this emerged as the main source of brand awareness in the market, in addition to the need to provide consumers with more knowledge about wine categories. .
“So we have been working on a number of fronts, including incorporating high-tech sensory upgrades to our displays to give consumers a ‘phygital’ experience when buying their wines, establish eye-catching pop-up stores, ensure on-shelf displays are also able to generate knowledge about wine categories via digital methods so they know what they are looking at and are looking to buy.
Providing consumers with this education is especially important when it comes to getting them to make purchasing decisions less based on price, so they will be interested in higher-end products and likely expand their reach. applicable to more innovative wine variants.
“There is a lot of value to be unlocked by fostering category awareness – when a consumer has some knowledge of a wine, they will be more willing to look beyond the price tag and focus more on the variety of products available and the different values these can offer, [such as more premium] variants that could offer better quality,”he added.
“Fundamentally, consumers need help at the point of sale because [the traditional way of displaying] wines in a supermarket or bottle shop is that there is a whole huge range of wines laid out on the shelves, and they can get quite intimidated.
“[When this happens]without knowing the products, what they are likely to do is maybe not choose the cheapest, but something a little higher than the cheapest, because I don’t really know what I choose – and it can really be a barrier for consumers to explore the category and learn more about premium wines, especially in Asia.
“So what we’re looking to do here with our new modernized retail concepts is to reshape and change the language of wine, to make it less intimidating for consumers so that they now have more confidence in purchasing these wines, and instead of browsing and looking for tasting notes who can now get all the information they need at a glance through a very immersive experience.
From Asia to Europe
Penfolds first launched its ‘phygital’ retail concept in Singapore and, following the success of this strategy, is now looking to expand it to Europe.
“Feedback we’ve received from consumers indicates that they are inundated with a lot of competing information when shopping, but the new retail concept has helped give them instant access to what they’re looking for and help them to make this decision. manufacturing process”,said Mootoosamy.
“So the phygital concept has been very well received in Singapore, and now we’re actually expanding it, starting in Asia first, and then we’ll probably introduce it in Europe as well.”
When asked if Penfolds’ concepts have the potential to be extended to other alcohol categories beyond wine as well, he added that the technology is ‘certainly the future’.
“I don’t have enough information about other categories of alcoholic beverages like beers to say if it would work for them, but it was definitely very beneficial and positive for us. [and] technology is definitely the future,”he said.
“Now, especially as the pandemic has changed shopper behavior and marketing, everyone has to adapt to meet the online and offline needs of consumers, so there have to be tools like these new concepts that can connect the digital and physical experience for them, so they get real engagement with the brand and can make the best choices.
“Having said that, for me, I see a hybrid situation as the way to go, because while technology is definitely key to unlocking more opportunities in the future, when it’s allowed again, I’m sure that people will want to taste a bit and sample again so they know exactly what they are getting We are of course trying to use features to create this tasting environment but having the actual tasting will also help so a template hybrid would definitely be my choice.