The Grapevine

Mind Games: The Psychology of Retail for Wine Shops

June 9th, 2015

You know the biggest consumer brands in the world don’t leave much to chance. They have the resources to test the effects of everything from the music playing in their chain stores and restaurants to the width of their aisles. We can borrow from their findings. [level-members]

Here are some tips we can take from restaurants and other large consumer retailers to help increase our bottom lines.

Wines Won’t Sell Themselves
Sure, great labels and names can help, particularly at the lower prices, so including some upright bottles in your displays makes sense, but be sure to include “staff picks” or similar shelf cards to say more about select wines. Descriptive language will make these wines more appealing and help get your customers emotionally invested.

Personalizing these descriptions – Andrew’s Favorites, Laura’s Recommendations – is another way to create that connection.

Pricing Properly
There is some evidence that consumers view products with prices ending in .99 as being good values but not good quality. You may want to consider prices ending in .95 for your less expensive goods and deal only in round numbers for higher-priced items.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Images sell, so perhaps a great image of, say, the French countryside next to a new wine you’re featuring from the Loire is in order. Or a photo of a juicy steak dinner to pair with the California Cabernets …

Less is More
“Analysis paralysis” is a thing. Give most people too many choices and they shut down, opting not to make a choice at all. So help them along with suggestions of mixed cases – a summer sampler, perhaps, or a trip through Italian wine regions, or a Friday Night Sampler which could be 3 pairs of wines to taste, 2 at a time, over the next three Friday nights with pizza, burgers on the grill and a summer salad. Make it easy for them to decide by deciding for them.

More is More
Don’t be afraid to showcase wines that are more expensive than your usual clientele seems to like. It may attract a new clientele. More importantly, it can make the wines they’re really interested in seem like bargains in comparison.

It can be hard to measure the results of efforts like these – we typically have smaller sample sizes to work with than large chain stores and restaurants – but if you pay attention to rolling these out consistently, you should be able to tell pretty quickly what works with your particular audience.