The Grapevine

Wine Shop Business: Fight Tomorrow’s Battles Today

April 5th, 2016

An article I came across recently on LinkedIn about the pizza business brought the Grapeseed audience to mind. The article is a bit of cautionary tale about how getting too comfortable can be deadly. [level-members]

This is true in any business, of course, but what’s interesting about the LinkedIn article is the unexpected nature of the competition. Sure, we all know that if what you do can easily be taught and can be done via phone or computer, you’re in danger of being outsourced or eliminated. Like telephone support staff, for example.

So, while it’s not shocking to large corporations threatening the livelihoods of Main St. stores, and it’s not shocking to have technology be part of the threat, you wouldn’t necessarily think those two things together would threaten the local pizza joint. (You can read the pizza article here.)

And yet, that does seem to be the case.

What does this mean for independent wine shops? More than anything, it means you have to pay attention and you have to prepare. Crossing fingers and hoping for the best is a bad strategy.

If, for example, you’re lucky enough to have shop in a state where wine sales are not permitted in supermarkets and aren’t being considered by state lawmakers, take a moment to congratulate yourself. Then, get to work. Follow the debates that are raging in other states, listen to those who have survived – and not survived – that particular change in other states that have already changed, and be ready.

There’s no downside to this. It’s not as if you will have wasted your time if that particular change never comes. Whatever you do guard against your own demise at the hands of, say, supermarkets, will make your business stronger no matter what the market throws at you.

And that will make whatever market battle you have to fight next much less desperate and much easier to win.