Back to Articles

Digital Data and Luxury Wine

Putting Big Data to Use

What can big data do for you, as a fine wine retailer?

It’s a question we started to explore with the first post in this series, about following the digital trail in order to reach wine consumers in your own neighborhood who haven’t yet walked through your door, and to engage those who do walk through your door but are preoccupied with the phones in their hands.

The data already exists that can help in both of those situations. It’s a question of knowing how to navigate the digital trail. This second post offers two examples that will take you further down that path, with the help of platforms that represent some of the largest wine data footprints in the world.

The first example,, demonstrates how merchants can better interact with perhaps the most omnipresent and widely used platform available. The second example, the Vivino mobile app with its newly launched Vivino Market, works with retailers to make their inventory available for purchase by users.


It may help to take a moment to understand the different personalities of these two platforms. Wine-Searcher’s user demographic is populated significantly by experienced wine enthusiasts and the trade, including fine and rare wine sellers as well as restaurant and hospitality professionals, while Vivino, with its 24 million+ downloads globally, trends toward everyday consumers. Vivino users, on the one hand, interact with the app almost exclusively on their mobile devices while Wine-Searcher, by contrast, is accessed largely through the browser on a laptop or desktop.

Both platforms are massive accumulators of data about wine, and both can help your business. Here’s a peek under the hood at each of them, along with what that means for you.

  • Wine-Searcher’s own customer service team determines the Merchant Star Ratings. The rating has nothing to do with user-generated or crowd-sourced reviews. The in-house team bases the rating on factors like mystery shopping, poor shipping turnaround, and questionable practices like the merchant listing items that they don’t actually have.
  • If you are not a sponsor, your wines don’t show. At $0.32 per click, being a sponsor seems like a no-brainer, yet it’s somehow an often-overlooked no-brainer.
  • If you don’t list prices and actively pursue ecommerce, Wine-Searcher doesn’t play ball. If you aren’t getting picked up by Wine-Searcher, the main reason is usually that your website doesn’t sell wine online.
  • Be sure to take the customer journey from Wine-Searcher all the way through your own site. Wine-Searcher generates referral traffic. They send the customer to you. The “hand off” to the merchants is where the sale most often fails, usually because the merchant’s website isn’t mobile optimized, or it’s a less-than-ideal user experience that turns the consumer off.


  • Within the U.S. alone, Vivino Market makes some 80,000+ wines available for sale through their network of merchants and producers. More are being added daily, and the average purchase is six bottles per order.
  • Merchant partners are given access to a customized Vivino Checkout dashboard. That’s where you’d view and fill orders
  • The driver of Vivino Market data is their recommendation engine, which functions much like Netflix to suggest wines based on what the user has already scanned, rated, and bought.
  • There is no sign up fee to become a Vivino Market partner, or any cost to be exposed to Vivino’s community of users. Merchants pay a flat percentage commission fee only on orders shipped. It is not necessary for merchants to have a current mobile or online sales presence, only the wine in stock and the ability to ship it.


Both of these platforms are built on data, and that data is being refined and optimized every day. As the market also matures, the possibilities for fine wine retailers continue to expand, both in terms of the flow of consumer traffic that the platforms deliver to your store, and in terms of how you can best engage with consumers once they’re there.

A healthy marketing mix today includes platforms like Wine-Searcher and Vivino as part-and-parcel of more traditional components like search and WOM. Each of them helps to create a 1:1 relationship with consumers. In our next post we’ll look at the digital personality of search and WOM, and the tools that fine wine retailers can use to engage them.