The 2019 Liquor Barons Conference kicked off this week in Club Med Kani, Maldives, with headline speaker Robert Joseph questioning the future of supermarkets and challenging members to raise their offering to meet the future of retailing.
Joseph (pictured below), an internationally recognised author and “wine futurist”, challenged the audience to reconsider their traditional thinking in liquor retail.
“Looking forward I question if there really is a reason we will have supermarkets in 20 or 30 years,” he said. “We have survived for hundreds of years without them, and in their current format they have only been around for a few decades. And particularly when it comes to wine, I think the supermarket experience is badly matched.
“When did you last have a really good experience shopping in a supermarket?” questioned Joseph.
“People like buying from people, and we have to ask ourselves; why should our retailing model not evolve? It is already – the online shopping experience, which, in my opinion, is pretty horrible. Some will say that a wall of wine isn’t that much fun either, but then neither is scrolling through a website. ‘Social Commerce’ is the next level of retailing as the social networks build up information on or about you.
“Platforms such as WeChat and Facebook will be leading the way with tailor made offers for their customers which will make it increasingly difficult to build loyalty and keep your customer base.”
Liquor Barons’ digital vision for 2020 and beyond
Developing on the theme of ‘The Future of Liquor Retail’, General Manager Chris O’Brien (pictured below) outlined plans at the Liquor Barons Conference to up-weight its investment in an already market-leading platform that brings the suppliers, retailers and customers together through a sophisticated back-end.
“We are all working towards the same end, the traditional liquor store will need to adapt to succeed in an ever changing market-place. As technology moves ahead, we as retails need to adapt and accommodate our customers, or we will go the way of the supermarkets and become irrelevant,” he said.
The Liquor Barons group outlined its vision for 2020 and beyond through personalised member offering, a new efficient supplier portal and powerful boost to the consumer loyalty programme.
O’Brien announced that work has been underway for some time on a range of exciting and significant refresh to its already market leading digital investment.
“We have 110,000 members in our loyalty program, 65,000 of whom are active,” he explained. “We are in the final stages of up-weighting our investment in our programme that will involve a new generation of technology, app based membership use and cutting edge market automation to serve highly appropriate offers to our customers in a time frame that suits them.”
In a market that is so dynamic where ignoring market change can be at your peril, the Liquor Barons group is launching is “Ultra-Convenience” option allowing stores to decide locally what level of delivery they want to offer; from 30 minutes through to next day delivery or click and collect.
“Today promotional programs are generally put together through a series of emails and spreadsheets,” O’Brien said. “Through our new portal we can now do our medium and long-term planning together with the WA supply community who will interact with us in a more efficient manner. It will be more efficient and greatly reduce errors.
“This will not take the place of face to face meetings which is key – that will continue to form the basis of how we do business, but this tool will help both our business and that of our supplier partners”.
Toasting their success
Attendees at the 2019 Liquor Barons Conference have also had a chance to raise a glass to their success during a champagne reception.