The Grapevine

Is Amazon Good for the Wine Business? Is Amazon Good for Your Wine Business?

March 1st, 2017

Is Amazon good for the wine business? What part of the wine business is it good for? [level-members]

Convenience, low pricing and a broad inventory are great for wine consumers and for producers. But is it great for local wine stores? If you’re not sure, consider how executives at Best Buy might answer the question. (Best Buy is in serious trouble in part because Amazon is killing them on price and convenience.)

Fortunately, you’re not in a commodity business. At least, you’re not if you’re taking our message to heart. Here’s a quick summary of how to protect yourself against the 4,000 lb. gorilla – and any 400 lb gorillas that may be in your local market.

Don’t Be a Commodity
Forget selling pallets and pallets of Yellow Tail. You can’t win that game.

Don’t Compete on Price
See above. There’s always someone with deeper pockets who can buy more at a deeper discount or wait out whatever losses you can absorb in an effort to win market share. (To say nothing of the complete lack of loyalty customers who shop on price exhibit. They are loyal to the lowest price, not any individual outlet.)

Provide Better Service
Ever try to get someone from Amazon on the phone? Service and a great buying experience truly are the last big areas you can beat Amazon or the internet as a whole on. (Unless you let customers into your shop in their underwear. People do seem to like shopping online in various states of undress …)

Sell From Strength, Not Fear
“Oh no, I can’t compete on price!” Forget that attitude. Instead, carve out your unique position that doesn’t try to appeal to everyone – and certainly not price shoppers. Own your corner of the market and forget even aiming for the mass market. That’s almost impossible to do from Main Street anymore.