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THE FUTURE

Wine club, e-commerce, cross-media: the pandemic turbo boosts digitalization

Wine2Wine: “The wine business in the post Covid-19 era”. The future of wine focuses on multi-channels and CMO funds

The Vinitaly-Nomisma Wine Monitor Observatory survey, “The wine business in the post Covid-19 era”, to be presented at the International Wine2Wine Digital Summit (starting November 24th), reported that the Italian wine world is looking beyond 2020 and changing its business image. There will be Wine Clubs based on the economics of relationships, designed to share wine passions and send customized products to members, proprietary e-commerce platforms, enhancement of delivery services, multi-channel sales, as well as a lot of sharing wine experiences, strictly online and divided by target. The study was carried out on a sample of 165 companies (representing 4 billion euros in cumulative turnover, of which 2.5 billion related to exports, 40% of the Italian total). It depicts a sector that is experiencing a watershed 2020, in which decades of certainties were wiped away in just a few months. Innovation is the motto, not so much on social networks, which almost all the companies have implemented for some time now, but needing to activate more and more cross-media tools, intensify direct relationships, provide more services to the user and profile consumer audiences to keep them over the years. For instance, in 2019 Wine Clubs were a niche tool (11% of the sample), while in a few months’ time, the share will rise to 57%. It is the same story for professional and non-professional remote tastings, which will increase from 16% to 84%. And, for direct sales it will be almost a landslide, through activating an e-commerce channel, from 55% to 87%. But, there is more, which will impact large companies the most, at this turning point. The new awareness to counter attack the economic crisis will come from multichannel sales (74.1%), greater diversification of exports (74.1%), brand awareness, greater sharing with importers and distributors and the acceleration of strategies of engagement on social networks. Wine producers are speaking a new language, even in the main post Covid strategies, which is a first for a sector that up until now has evolved more in the field and in the glass than in the office. The priorities will be participating in trade fairs (at international fairs), additionally enhancing online channels and wine tourism, entering into the large-scale distribution channels, and the inevitable online master classes. In general, it is certain that in the next 2-3 years things will change a lot (only 1% declare that everything will stay the same as before). The most prevalent opinions, instead, foresee declines, in Italy and abroad, in the number of restaurants, etc., and consumption outside the home. The positive counter attach is the positive impact of increasing online and the increase in demand for local, organic, and sustainable wines. One of the support measures requested to the institutions to restart the sector is, first of all, funds of the CMO promotion, to be used not only for non-EU countries but also for European markets (65%). This request supports the proximity markets, which are suffering more than others. Then, of course, institutional campaigns, incentives to digitalize and re-launch trade fair events. Giovanni Mantovani, CEO of Veronafiere, said “it was important to portray the state of the sector, hearing directly from the companies. The result, on the one hand, confirms the extreme challenges on the markets our Observatory has already encountered. On the other hand, it demonstrates the great vitality of the companies that have immediately engaged in an epochal transition of their way of doing business in trade, marketing and communication. These evolutionary scenarios will be thoroughly examined in the next few days in the over 70 events and activities at Wine2Wine”.

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