An article I came across recently made the observation that with the advent of sites like Cellartracker, “we’re all Robert Parker now.”
There’s some truth to this, of course, and the growing acceptance of peer reviews as a valid measurement tool is only accelerating the trend.
So is there a way you can use this to your advantage in your wine shop marketing? Yes. In fact, there are a few. [level-members]
First, it’s quite easy to make use of the reviews and rating for sites like Cellartracker as part of your own marketing in the same way that a lot of wine shops use Parker’s or Wine Spectator’s reviews and ratings. The peer-generated ratings might be even more powerful precisely because they’re coming to be more trusted than “official” ratings, particularly by younger consumers. (Never mind that online reviews are often gamed.)
And, of course, citing the opinions of an authority other than yourself increases the credibility for some consumers. (Though I would suggest that you continue to make your own and staff recommendations since they are part of your shop’s personality and brand.)
But you can also take it one step further if you’re feeling more ambitious: you can create your own shop scores for the wines you sell. Getting buy-in from your customers may be a bit of a chore, but if you can do that, you’ll have data that is valuable not only in the aggregate – by telling you what your customers are loving as a group – but also data on their individual preferences, which can help you make personalized recommendations that are even more likely to hit the mark. (Not that your memory isn’t near-photographic in its recall of what your customers like …)
Whichever approach you take, making use of the popularity of peer ratings and reviews is a tool you should add to your marketing arsenal.