The Grapevine

Should Technology Have a Place in Your Wine Shop?

November 19th, 2013

As more and more consumers grow comfortable with technology, retailers are following suit. And as with all technology there will come a point – probably not too far in the future – where the gizmos we look at as novelties now become part of our everyday shopping experience. (It wasn’t that long ago that self-checkout at the supermarket was weird; now you can scan all your purchases as you’re pulling them off the shelves.) [level-members]

How does that fit into a retail wine shop? Larger shops are already using apps and touch-screens. They can be a great way to find a particular kind of wine or a great pairing for whatever you’re putting on the table that night.

But should the goal be to eliminate as many human shop employees as possible?

“I think it depends on what sector of retail employees are in,” said Steven Dennis, president of SageBerry Consulting LLC, Dallas, TX.

“If they’re in a more high-touch environment, I think technology should be an extension of what they’re already doing,” he said.  ”To enhance their selling efforts, check inventory or order something online for the customer.”

That seems a sensible approach. Your shop, if you’re going to distinguish it from your local competition, has to be a high-touch environment. You can make it fun and interesting with the use of technology, but the technology should still be in the hands of your highly trained, highly personable staff.

Unless you’re willing to build your entire business model around some futuristic idea of self-service, self-serve kiosks are not the way to go. You’ll see better results if you use technology to help your employees do what they do better.

(We found Mr. Dennis’ quote in an article on the LuxuryDaily website.)