Let’s face it: The wine world is still
a mighty complex place for many wine
drinkers—even ones who have a sense of
what they like. While some consumers
settle into narrow comfort zones, others are
open to flexibility, if not outright adventure.
Determining that degree of flexibility can
be tricky, but in the Digital Age—where
searching for products and pricing is a few
clicks away—that interaction is ever more
vital to building return business.
Being able to cross-sell shoppers is
the bricks-and-mortar advantage; you are
in a position to demonstrate how your
store, no matter what size, is a microcosm
of the gigantic, unwieldy wine universe.
And within your manageable slice of that
universe, there are multiple ways to make
shoppers happy within their respective
comfort zones.
I spoke to several retailers about this
topic recently, focusing on a few specific
types of wines for consistency, and came
away impressed on several levels. Their in-
terest in discussing cross-selling was instan-
taneous and enthusiastic—clearly a favorite
part of the business is turning people on to
new wines. At the same time, they realize
that making suggestions always harbors a
bit of risk, so their ability to cross-sell suc-
cessfully depends as much on being a good
listener as on being a wine know-it-all.
Peter D’Amico, manager and wine buyer
for two Wine Discount Centers in Chi-
cago, is always cognizant that when sug-
gesting wines, there are usually a couple of
directions to go. “One way is to stay in the
country (or larger region) and suggest with-
in the same profile,” he notes. “The other
way is to listen, figure out what they are re-
ally saying they like, and go with something
a bit ‘off the wall.’”
For Pinot Grigio, he says, “We
mostly we stay in Italy, but try to move
them to other crisp varietals with more
character. A recent example is Favorita
from Langhe that features crisp fruit,
subtle minerals and racy acidity.” He adds
that Italy has also been a go-to for people
wanting to explore a new wine with Pinot
Noir-like character: “Dolcetto for the
fruitier side, Nerello Mascalese for the
more secondary characteristics.”
eople are creatures of habit. People are naturally curious. At the
intersection of these seemingly opposed truisms lies an ongoing
challenge—and opportunity—for bricks-and-mortar wine merchants.
Faced with customers of diverse interests and levels experience, the
wine retailer’s aim is to help every person who walks in the store walk out with
something that will please them enough to come back. Again and again.
Food is an integral factor
in the big picture and
specific recommendations
at Pairings Portland.
Art of Cross-SelliNg
has never been more important
for wine merchants
By w. r. tish
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