Commentary

Cheers! How Alcohol Brands Can Win At Ecommerce

Through apps and online platforms like Drizly, Minibar and even Amazon Fresh, consumers have a stunning variety of alcohol on-demand options. For the adult beverage brands, however, it’s not as easy. Complex legal considerations vary by state and retailer, and with such a variety of ecommerce models, is it really worth it for adult beverage brands to push for a slice of the online/ecommerce market? 

Definitely. Why? Because while today’s online alcohol sales figures may be a bit dry (only 8% of total adult beverage sales come from ecommerce, according to Profitero), the oldest of Gen Z — consumers who have grown up hardwired to shop online — will soon be turning 21. 

For alcohol brands to win in ecommerce, they must implement a personalized and hyper-local strategy that will reach the right shopper at the right time in the right place to drive the most frictionless conversion — all while keeping an eye on sales today and loyalty long-term.

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This begins with shopper insights. Our agency has used receipt verification data to create a couple of profiles to illustrate what this may look like.

“Josh,” the Drizly Shopper

Josh is a single, affluent, millennial urbanite. For Josh, adult beverages are a trip-driver, and his trip mission is heavily skewed for immediate consumption—often on the weekend. Perhaps he’s entertaining and is close to running out of beverages for his guests. A couple taps of the Drizly app and his whiskey and tequila are back in stock without having to leave guests unattended. 

“Elizabeth,” the Online Adult Beverage Shopper

In contrast to Josh is Elizabeth. She is a married, Gen-X mother of two living in the suburbs. She shops for her groceries online early in the week and tosses chardonnay in the basket along with other staples such as cheeses, nut butters and salad greens. This purchase is not the mission of the trip, but it is on her list and is a routine purchase through this channel.

With this nuanced knowledge, brands can then create hyper-targeted campaigns that speak to the trip type and mindset, highlighting the most important element of aperture for this shopper, and as a result, maximize conversion. For example, Josh’s favorite whiskey brand might reach him in the early afternoon on a Saturday with a message like “Don’t let your Saturday night dry out,” while a wine brand may find Elizabeth early in the week with “Save yourself a trip, add to the basket now.” 

Understanding shoppers and the nuances of the ecommerce landscape for adult beverage is imperative to being successful within this space. 

The fragmentation within the space is almost greater than what exists any other ecommerce category. Complex? Yes. Terrifying? Maybe. But the risk to adult beverage brands of moving forward with a strategy that might not fit all needs is far less than the risk of not having an ecommerce strategy at all.

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