Allegrini 2018

Technology in the service of storytelling and commerce also revolutionizes the world of wine

Artificial intelligence and e-commerce: innovation runs fast, amid challenges and opportunities, but human beings are always at the center

Complexity. This is the watchword that unites two fundamental aspects for the wine world such as commerce and communication. On the one hand, the explosion of e-commerce, now a relevant channel for any company, and on the other the role of storytelling. Both have to contend with constantly and rapidly changing tools and technologies, from social to artificial intelligence, which bring both opportunities and ever-new challenges to face. Different aspects that continually touch and intersect, with the common goal of building, around the consumer, a memorable experience. Topics at the center of the talk show “E-commerce: new technologies to support the sale”, with Galliano Cocco and Maurizio Mattucci, professor and assistant professor of Corporate Communication Strategy at the University of Chieti-Pescara, Antonio Prati, senior buyer Tannico, Francesco Magro, founder Winelivery, and Alessandro Regoli, director WineNews, coordinated by Alessandro Torcoli, editor of the historic magazine “Civiltà del Bere”, from the Porto Cervo Wine & Food Festival, staged in Costa Smeralda, from yesterday to May 14.

“We are witnessing a real technological revolution, and even the world of e-commerce, which is worth 48 billion euros in Italy, has experienced a major evolution. If we go to group the inventions created in the last 500 years, we can enclose the most relevant ones in the last 50 years, and this means that the accrual of time that people have to adapt to innovation is getting shorter and shorter: when electricity was invented, it took 65 years for it to reach everyone, while for the smartphone we had just 13 years”, Maurizio Mattucci tells us. “This is the area in which wine companies are moving, looking with increasing interest at Generation Z, the target audience, now accustomed to Omni Channel communication and making purchases, indifferently, on every channel. This is the future, and it is made first and foremost of experientiality in virtual worlds”.

In this sense, communication can rely “on new tools such as artificial intelligence (not just ChatGPT), which companies must learn to use intelligently, for example, responding with chatbot efficiently. And again, SEO and text indexing, which is crucial to make the site always attractive to the reader. Another element to consider is environmental sustainability: those who do communication and sales, must take this into account. Of great interest remains the Metaverse, which is still taking its first steps, but has a bright future ahead of it. Ultimately”, concludes the assistant professor of Corporate Communication Strategy, “there are so many inputs that companies have to deal with, and quickly, and if the e-commerce world needs investment in indexing so that its site is among the top Google results, in storytelling one can use the metaverse and artificial intelligence, in the service of experiential marketing”.

The human factor, however, cannot be set aside; on the contrary, “technology must always and in any case be at the service of man”, recalls Alessandro Regoli, WineNews director, pointing out that “wine and its storytelling has always been linked to the territory and to the stories it has been able to preserve. To tell them, as we are taught by examples that are distant in time but still extraordinarily relevant today, are people like Luigi Veronelli and Mario Soldati, capable of moving from the written page to a then-new media such as television. As much as technology always offers us new tools, and with them new possibilities, wine storytelling can only reconnect to people’s hearts, something that no artificial intelligence will ever be able to do”, concludes WineNews director.

“Technology has made great strides, but we must always remember the importance of psychology: even when we consume, in fact, we reason with emotionality, as recounted in the studies of Israeli economist and Nobel Prize winner in 2002 Daniel Kahneman. The “belly” always wins over the head, and so in communication we have to put in experientiality and storytelling, that is, story, in the ways we can do it, and then according to the channel we find ourselves using. We have to try to increase the storytelling moments of Italian wineries, focusing on the human contact between consumer and producer, and then finding an element that can be the protagonist of the story to be told. We live in a complex world, especially in communicative acts”, says Professor Galliano Cocco.

All this narrative bulk must therefore be declined according to the particular needs of the different players in the supply chain, which has e-commerce as an absolute protagonist, with different services that go far beyond simple sales, and often and often complementary. “Our app is used by a very young average user (20-40 years old), although for Generation Z, as our data show, sustainability is a very important driver of choice, and it has to be true sustainability, because greenwashing makes companies take huge risks”, says Francesco Magro, founder Winelivery. “We know we don’t feel entitled to talk about social and environmental sustainability because we sell alcohol and deliver it in polluting vehicles. Unlike Tannico, we have a warehouse in every city so we can deliver in a short time, which is why we are only present in cities with the highest population density. Today we have 1.5 million users, and working with home delivery means moving away from traditional logics from e-commerce”.

Also because, at Winelivery “those who are thirsty buy, not necessarily the wine lover. We are the most expensive operator on the market, and we do not discount. Our marketing is completely different from that of any other wine e-commerce: we are not serving those who are looking for a good bottle of Barolo, but those who are in need, and that is what we have to remind the customer. We do not depreciate the value of the bottles, we have 1,200 references, not many, and speaking to a non-expert clientele we can best convey consumption, relying on technology, through which we enhance the product. Ours is not product marketing, but we focus on experience, situations, always trying to use the language of our target, not our own. The consumption occasions are then not many: among all stands out the aperitif, which has a huge social value, then, the dinner, then the after-dinner with spirits, and finally gifts: we are the main competitors of Interflora, in this sense”, concludes Francesco Magro.

But how do you bring a company’s experience and story inside a sales tool, as Tannico can be? “The presidium of every channel, including e-commerce, both from an economic and commercial point of view and, indeed, from a communication point of view, is fundamental, because it is a support to every other channel”, says Antonio Prati. “The consumer is the same for everyone, the point is to direct them to one channel or another, but certainly the horeca remains the privileged place for wine. Experience, therefore, remains key, as evidenced by the opening of two physical Tannico outlets, where wine lovers and producers can meet. And then there is education, young and streamlined, related to immediate consumption, because the average consumer often does not even know why he or she prefers one wine over another. It’s about engaging the consumer without proposing that they buy something, but by building their loyalty and approaching them in an original way, through, again, storytelling”, concludes the Tannico senior buyer.

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