Customers are spending more on wine in convenience, so it’s the perfect time to focus on your range. With a little help from the experts, Priyanka Jethwa provides you with a perfect category guide 

This year, wine industry experts have noted more consumers trading up in the wine category, as shoppers opt to drink less, but better-quality brands. This has resulted in a 23.7% year-on-year rise in sales within the £7 to £9.99 price band. These statistics reflect a rising demand for premium varieties, especially those from popular, well-known brands.

Toni Ingram, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard, says this is a trend retailers need to cash in on. “In order to reach the broadest demographic of shoppers, and to drive value into the category, retailers need to include premium wines in their range.”

To fully capitalise, Andrew Nunney, category, shopper and insights director at Accolade Wines, says retailers should offer a range of premium wines from popular brands, adding: “Hardys VR and Hardys Crest, for example, should be directly above each other to encourage shoppers who are looking to trade up but aren’t confident in what to choose.”

So, to make sure you have the best range in a category where spending is on the rise, we put together five strategies that will help you increase profit. 

Good, better, best

Premium wines are growing in popularity as shoppers are choosing to trade up, so it is important that retailers get their merchandising right, and offer customers a wide selection of wines from across the price spectrum. This can be achieved by following the good, better and best model.

Toni Ingram, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard, says: “Rather than stocking five similar wines at the lower end of the value spectrum, it is far more effective to have three that offer different propositions.” This way, shoppers have the option to trade up should they wish.

Additionally, merchandising by price first, and then brand, is most effective, as it makes the fixture easier to shop, especially for those who have a budget in mind. 

Cross-category promotions

Retailers can take advantage of cross-category promotions, including Big Night In deals and ‘meal for tonight’, by including wine as part of dedicated displays.

Andrew Nunney, category, shopper and insights director at Accolade Wines, says: “For instance, Hardys 500ml bottles are an ideal accompaniment for an evening meal, or siting Echo Falls Chardonnay or Merlot near chocolate can help drive higher cross-category spend.”

Wine to give as gifts for birthdays and anniversaries remains popular, so Natasha Erlandson, brand manager at Casillero del Diablo, says shoppers are more likely to be looking for something special that is more expensive. “Casillero del Diablo’s Reserva Especial is targeted at existing wine shoppers who are looking for a more special offering or to purchase as a gift,” she says.

Big brands

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Retailers can make the most of the fact that shoppers are much more clued up on brand hierarchy within the wine category compared to other sectors, and will therefore be actively searching for big and popular brands when browsing alcohol sections, according to Toni Ingram, at Pernod Ricard.

“We encourage premium and popular branded wines being over-represented and highly visible in store all year round. Consider cross-category promotions to capitalise on these informal gifting moments and amplify further at key seasonal spikes,” he says.

Plus, as shoppers on average spend seven minutes in-store, Andrew Nunney, category, shopper and insights director at Accolade Wines, says it helps to offer different tiers of the same brand as this can persuade shoppers to spend more.  

Heritage brands

Independent retailers can maintain a point of difference by offering heritage wine brands that are local to their area or offer a backstory.

Rebecca Fisher, marketing and events manager at specialist wine supplier Hattingley Valley Wines, says this gives shoppers a reason to buy from their local shop, and helps retailers differentiate themselves from multiples. “It also allows retailers to become ‘experts’ in wines from their local area, which is seen by shoppers as an added bonus,” she says.

Andy Morgan, director at The Sparkling Wine Co, says stocking English sparkling wine is a good way to attract shoppers who want premium wines that have English heritage.

Ben Smith, head of communications at Concha y Toro, says its new 1000 Stories bourbon barrel-aged Zinfandel is designed to attract those looking for heritage wines, but are new to the category, adding: “This wine appeals not only to regular wine drinkers looking for a ‘handmade’ wine, but also to people interested in spirits.”

Low-ABV and zero-alcohol

Stocking a range of 0% wine can help increase sales, especially since approximately 20% of UK adults are now teetotal. This has led to a 3% growth in the zero-alcohol category, which is now worth £37.7m in the UK.

Andrew Turner, wine director at Eisberg brand-owner Halewood Wines & Spirits, says: “Eisberg Alcohol Free Wine has a 60% market share of the alcohol-free wine category, so stocking it can help tap into demand.”

Andrew Nunney, category, shopper and insights director at Accolade Wines, says: “It’s important not to just have one 0% wine, but a selection. Retailers should offer wine on tap, smaller formats and lower-ABVs.

Echo Falls Sparkling Infusion is also a popular non-alcoholic option – this will encourage those who were not planning on drinking to purchase an alternative.”