Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shopping for wine in supermarkets

Imagine the scene:

Tesco. Saturday morning. Shopping trolley already half-full. Bored kids. Lots more things to get done today but ... you want to get a bottle of wine as a treat for yourself at dinner.

You turn into the wine aisle having resisted the siren call of the latest 2-for-1 deals everywhere else in the store - and all you can see is a wall of 600+ different wines never mind spirits, fortified wines, beers and ciders.

"Hell! OK, 2-for-1 it is. Maybe next time I'll get something nice."

Well, at last I have found someone working on a solution! I've always thought that something like this ought to have been done before now, but I had not yet found it.

Supermarket Wine is a site dedicated to bringing together EXPERT reviews of wines that can be found in the UK supermarkets so that you can improve your shopping there.

Strangely (for me) this site seems to have been around since 2006, but I must admit I had not heard about it. However, I saw it on a list of must-see wine sites (on a US blog) and thought I'd give it a go.

As I have mentioned before on this site, there are others looking at this area; including Love That Wine and Quaffers Offers (amongst others). The issue was that one had the consumer input, the other the expert view. The ideal, of course, was to combine them. This is what the new site strives to do.

The key has always been finding how to communicate the value of a wine relative to its price. A low priced wine might be great value if the wine is good enough, but how much better is a more expensive bottle? The risk of getting it wrong increases greatly as the cost of the bottle goes up, so consumers are naturally wary.

The solution for supermarketwine.com is to republish the 'expert' reviews of the wine columnists of the various British newspapers, already trusted sources of reviews, and link them to the wines with each retailer. Easy!

If you see a review you like, go to this site and link through to any of the retailers who stock it. In addition, once on the site you can read, and contribute, to the ratings from other consumers. You can filter reviews by retailer, price, grape variety, taste characteristic and even reviewer. How many more options would you like?

In practice, the site seems rather short of consumer input (I have yet to find one to be honest) but in true Wine 2.0 fashion the option is there.

Maybe if we give it a go we could build up the kind of traffic that would make this site a worthy reference site for consumers, the developer has certainly put lots of time and effort into building it.

And there is one last thing. I don't like sites that give me no information on who is behind the business. This site is totally anonymous. No contact details, no name, nothing personal at all. I'm sure the person, or persons, will have the best of reasons for this, but one of the best ways sites can generate customer loyalty is to create a relationship with consumers. Anonymous sites do not do this.

So, Mr/Ms SupermarketWine.com, who are you? Fancy a relationship?

3 comments:

Douglas Blyde said...

Said tongue in cheek: I feel like you're marking me, keeping my blog in the 'need to explore further' pile(!)

Robert McIntosh said...

ha! just shows that I have not been paying enough attention to the blog in the last few weeks. I have been preoccupied with the bloggers conference and helping to establish the OpenWine Consortium (www.openwineconsortium.org) - you seen it yet?

I do read your blog regularly and it will be 'promoted' to the Premier League in due course :)

Colin said...

This could be a useful site. I always read the weekly email sent out by wine-pages.com which lists what the journalists recommend.

I'm less sure about making the effort to write my own tasting note without knowing more about the ownership of the site and making an assessment of its longevity. I recall making lots of contributions over at Bottletalk whose setup seemed to make it a site that was going to go somewhere but it seems to have gone all quiet over there.