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In Italy, 17% of wineries have a wine club, but sales are still derisory

Divinea: 25% have more than 1,000 members, but it is necessary to invest in the consumer, because the model is winning

Among the changes that are characterizing direct-to-consumer sales in the world of wine is that of a growing interest in wine clubs, as revealed by the “Wine Tourism and Direct-to-Consumer Sales Report 2022”, published by Divinea: according to data collected by the portal dedicated to wine tourism, 17.3% of wineries have set up a wine club while 75% of those who have not yet done so say they will set it up or are considering it.
“Italian wine clubs”, explains Filippo Galanti, Divinea co-founder, “register many members but produce relatively low volumes. Half of Italian wine clubs have more than 500 members but often generate derisory sales, demonstrating a lack of data culture. Often the information collected is not properly used to build customer loyalty”.

Of the Italian member companies - according to Mediobanca data - 25% have more than 1,000 members, 25% from 500 to 1000, 14.3% from 100 to 499, 35.7% less than 100. From these users, the volumes generated are often insignificant, and sales through wine clubs compared to direct-to-consumer sales affect less than 5% in 39.3% of cases and more than 50% for only 3.6%. The wine club, from a marketing point of view, has a very homogeneous target customer base, which needs to be nurtured with the goal of retaining the customer (retention), encouraging them to buy frequently (recurrence), leading them to increase their spending budget (upselling), and getting them to have experiences such as company visits (integrated selling). The features of Italian wine clubs, however, are different from those in the U.S.: Italian wineries mainly offer access reserved for registered users and the e-shop with special vintages and formats, while only one in five offers subscription with periodic shipping.

According to Francesco Minetti, Ceo of Well Com agency, “in Italy the wine club does not yet bring the results that are manifested in other countries such as the United States because with the end consumer it takes energy and continuity to cultivate a relationship, before and after the purchase”. Investing in the wine consumer is successful for several reasons: the evolution of the wine consumption pattern and the growth of direct consumer demand; direct sales are a supplementary business channel and diversify risk; direct sales to the end consumer significantly increase the profitability of the business; immediate collection improves financial dynamics; and finally, direct contact is a way to build customer loyalty.

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