- Our wine correspondent, Lucy Talbot, shares her retail advice on how to offer your customers a positive and memorable shopping experience
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• Seeing dusty bottles kept in the window does not inspire confidence in the retailer’s knowledge of wine. Most of the stock should be kept in the cool and the dark, fizz and white wine should be available to buy chilled. Bottles on a shelf or in a display may be best kept as display bottles.
• Staff knowledge is a major turn-on. Wine tends to incite more discussion and questions than most food products, and having a small portfolio means that the staff can be trained in the details of the production and provenance of the wines, and can match them to the food.
• Relation to products: don’t sell a dessert wine if you don’t sell dessert. Or, if you do, match it with cheese or charcuterie. You can be creative, but relating the products is key.
• Offering a discount on 6-bottle cases and 12-bottle cases is extremely attractive for repeat buyers and less annoying than stamp loyalty cards!
• Similarly, holding tastings or offering tastes to customers is a good idea. You can keep bottles open under Coravin now for up to a couple of months and they will stay fresh, so there’s no excuse not to offer this service the same way you would with cheese.
• The location of the wine in the store is paramount. It has to be visible, yet safe from too much light damage. Why not experiment with displaying the wine among the food it is supposed to enhance, rather than having one wine display isolated from the other products. This will encourage people to peruse the bottles, especially if they weren’t planning on buying wine when they entered the store.
• Having appropriate wine bags to take wine home in makes a huge difference for customers. It’s also very memorable, as most food shops that sell wine do not offer them.
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