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What Consumers Want

Tap into the Conversation

Your gut instinct serves you well when it comes to knowing what your customers want. You’re the one working the floor, listening to the questions, and ringing up purchases. You see the SKUs that come in, those that hang around, and those that fly out the door. All of that – thanks to all the hours you put in – gives you a really good idea about how to give your customers what they want.


But still. There’s room to grow. (There is always room to grow.) Today let’s look at two opportunities: customers in your neighborhood who haven’t walked through your door yet, and customers who do walk through your door but are so busy looking down at their phones that they don’t give you the chance to get to know them.

How can you develop a gut instinct about them? It has to do with following the digital trail. Today, more than any other time in history, we are able to tap into the empirical data that consumers themselves have generated about their own preferences, about why they’re shopping for wine in the first place, and about the actual words they’re using to describe the wines they like and don’t like.

Person using the Vivino mobile app

What’s more, consumers are doing all of these things within your very own neighborhood and sometimes within your very own store. Thanks to mobile technology that geolocates a digital record to an accuracy of about 20 meters, you’re at the advantage of knowing the “what” and the “why” of consumer behavior, and also the “where.”

Let’s say, as an example, that your shop is located in Chicago. Here are some things we can learn by following the digital trail from a few examples.

  • Vivino is a mobile application that lets users scan labels and crowdsource reviews and ratings. More than 23 million people have downloaded it, and 80,000 of those users live in Chicago.
  • A percentage of those people who live in your own neighborhood. They are scanning wine labels, reviewing and rating wines, and essentially telling you through their keystrokes what interests them, from general styles all the way to specific wines. They’re identifying the wine selection they wish they had, and it’s all happening right where you are. That’s why it’s useful, and it’s why you should care.
  • Vivino has a feature called Quick Compare, which is tailor-made for consumers in retail environments. Users scan multiple labels and instantly view ratings, price and food pairings all on one page. You can know what people in your neighborhood are scanning and searching for (even the most popular wine styles at restaurants nearby), so that you can also know what to have on hand, what to recommend, and how to talk to those consumers about. .
  • is a platform you’ve no doubt heard of and, in Chicago specifically, the monthly average of their website sessions is 103,311, or about 310,000 page views. Within those views, we can know which wines are being searched within your neighborhood, and what are the rating bands versus price points for those wines. What you can learn is that consumers within your own neighborhood are, or maybe are not, as price-sensitive as you thought.

Here’s the thing: this information already exists. There’s nothing you need to do to generate it. It’s already in the hands of the third party platforms, like apps and online communities dedicated to wine consumers, such as Vivino and Wine-Searcher and other platforms that are geared specifically to wine retailers. (We’ll look at those in our next post.) It’s simply a question of running the queries that are specific to you.

People using an app on a tablet

The potential inherent in the digital trail is enormously powerful. It is also largely untapped.

Following these digital trails is today’s iteration of doing what you’ve always done: listening to what people want and delivering exactly that. When you tap into the technology and the data that already exists, you’re putting yourself at a distinct advantage because you’re in a position to bring to customers exactly what they’ve been saying they want.It’s like your gut instinct, amplified, and it’s what can differentiate you from all the rest.

IN THE NEXT ISSUE: We’ll examine digital platforms dedicated to wine retailers specifically.