E-commerce platform chief exhorts producers to sell direct to consumers
With all eyes on the e-commerce conference at Vinexpo, we chatted to Vivino CEO Chris Tsakalakis about the market-leading e-commerce platform. We asked him firstly how digital technology is revolutionising wine marketing.
Digital technology is breaking down barriers by enabling sellers of all kinds to connect directly with consumers. Digital platforms like Vivino make this easier in a world where marketing on the internet is expensive and overly complicated.
ONCE YOU DEVELOP INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR WINES ONLINE, YOU CAN THEN USE PLATFORMS LIKE VIVINO TO MORE EFFICIENTLY MARKET AND SELL THEM TO A COMMUNITY OF MILLIONS.
Looking speci cally at the wine world, the wine industry is as complex and confusing as the products it offers. It has been restrained by regulations, laws and legislative complications for decades. Historically, a consumer’s wine journey did not start until he or she walked into a store or a restaurant, and then the purchase decision was usually driven by in-store promotions, price or by the recommendations of the retailer and in more recent years, the sommelier and wine critic. Thankfully, direct to consumer wine shipping laws have been revised and wine drinkers are no longer restricted by the selection of their local stores. This means consumers now have more choices, but this also means the complexity of choosing a wine is even greater. Wine makers now must meet consumers where they are – and that’s online and using digital technology.
Please tell us more about Vivino, and why it has become so successful
Vivino’s success can be boiled down to one thing: we make wine easy. There are a lot of people who like wine but are confused and don’t know which wine is worth buying. That problem drove our founder, Heini Zachariassen, to create Vivino as the solution. Scan a label or wine list on Vivino and our community will tell you how good the wine is, what it tastes like and how much it costs. Vivino tells you if the wine is worth buying and we eliminate confusion with data.
When I joined the company as CEO in 2018, VIvino already had a thriving community of wine lovers across the world. Right now, it is the world’s largest online wine marketplace and most downloaded wine app, with 36 million users. Users can also purchase wines and have them shipped directly to their door
VIVINO IS THE WORLD’S LARGEST ONLINE WINE MARKETPLACE AND MOST DOWNLOADED WINE APP, WITH 36 MILLION USERS.
Your background was in different elds. How does it translate into wine?
I have been in e-commerce since 1996 and my 23 years of experience includes 11 years at eBay and StubHub, both marketplace businesses that have platforms that connect buyers to sellers. All of this experience is directly applicable to overseeing our wine marketplace because whether it’s tickets or wine – the underlying factor is making it easy for buyers to get what they want.
What should winemakers be doing to adapt to the new marketing scenario?
Focus on selling directly to the consumer. With the increased reliance on online shopping for wines and more wine drinkers looking for new wines to try, winemakers should aim to create an online presence that tells customers about who they are as winemakers and what their wine is all about. Once you develop information about your wines online, you can then use platforms like Vivino to more ef ciently market and sell them to a community of millions.
How can retailers adapt? Is it a case of “omni-channel or die”?
Retailers across industries have to answer and adjust how they operate based on shifting consumer demands and the rise of e-commerce. The ones that have adapted to an online world where best price and fastest fulfilment win are the most successful. Vivino works with over 600 wine retailers who are looking to sell directly to consumers. It’s mutually beneficial because they help us better serve our users by giving them more options in the marketplace, while we provide retailers with another marketing channel for their sales.
Photo: Chris Tsakalakis CEO, Vivino