Price will always play a role in the buying process. But effort and thoughtfulness are also considerations when your buying gifts. Consumer psychology is challenging because it all factors into the decision process.
Tn. liquor stores should take a page from the wine merchants in the great state of Florida. They worry about competing, keeping customers happy and controlling what they can control.
While on vacation in Atlanta, I had the pleasure of re-connecting with a great friend for dinner. In preparation, I killed 2 birds with one stone, taking a long walk and finding a great bottle of wine to bring to their home.
Stop #1, the local Publix Supermarket where wine is sold. Publix is one of the southeasts top retailers, catering to a slightly more affluent shopper than the average retailer. They had a full aisle wine, probably about 60′ long, 6 shelves high. That’s 360 linear feet of wine selling space, no small amount amount of square footage by any measure.
What did I see?
- Practically every major national, well advertised brand known to man.
- Great prices. Did not see any bottle that was “higher” than the best price I can remember in other outlets. Not cheaper, but certainly not higher either
- There was simply 0 “point of purchase” material other than clearly marked prices. Anybody that shops for wine is used to “Wine spectator points” or other informational literature by multiple bottles of wine. You could not distinguish this aisle from the salad dressing aisle.
- Surprisingly, I don’t remember seeing one bottle of wine over $20 per bottle. Seemed nearly impossible that with that much selection, not ONE bottle pushed north of this threshold? I almost picked up a bottle of Coppola Red for $20, but decided to pass. I left the store.
Publix has a formula for selling the brands with the biggest national ad budgets (and consumer awareness as a result). It is safe and I’m sure it’s effective for them. But for me, on this purchase occasion, I needed “something extra.”
Exactly 3 stores down what did I stumble upon? You guessed it, a wine shop: Ansley Wine Merchants.
- This store was not radically more appealing to the eye. Stacks of wine and liquor everywhere, although it did have a unique organization structure with country flags designating each section of the store with the varietals organized under that country’s flag.
- Point of sale everywhere! Want facts and interesting tidbit? You’ll find them.
- Service! And if you need a hand, the guys behind the counter are willing to lend it. They will even throw the bottle in a gift bag.
- And if you want to spend between $5 and $1k, you have your place.
- And there was a Yelp promo offer if you bought 6 bottles.
Needless to say, I purchased my bottle from Ansley Merchants, NOT Publix. Not just because Publix was “too cheap”…..I’m from the school of thought that fantastic bottles can be found in EVERY price point. But unique, “interesting” finds were simply not present at Publix, at least in my eyes. And I felt like I was buying a bottle of salad dressing vs. learning something about my purchase.
There is always a way to compete. There are consumers who value things beyond price. If there are enough of them, you can be fancy and call this group of buyers a “segment.” Pick a segment that matters and over-deliver and you can compete with the 800lb gorillas. Even when they are 2 doors down…..