It has been recently reported that, by the year 2020, mass retailers and the Internet will be driving the global sales of wine, and that corner wine shops might even be phased out eventually. Matthew Aylmer of Kerry Wines, a fine wine company in Asia, had a chat with us earlier and the Hong-Kong-based Marketing Director shared a few of his thoughts on the latest consumer trends.
MA: Matthew Aylmer AP: Asian Palate
AP: Do you think that e-commerce is the wave of the future?
MA: Yes. It is playing an increasingly important role as people have less time to go to a shop, and become more comfortable with, and used to shopping online. The “human touch” continues to play an important role when dealing with the higher end wines. The website is a very useful “window shop” for all our range, including the ultra high end. Customers view the wines online, then want the reassurance of handling the transaction with a “real person”. The key is the matter of people being comfortable with our brand, and feeling secure in the provenance of the wines, and with us as a merchant. This level of comfort is increasing every day. Also with property prices in Hong Kong being particularly expensive, it allows us to keep our prices very competitive, as our overheads are lower than a traditional “bricks and mortar” operation. It also allows us to stock a much higher range of wines than would be possible in a physical shop.
AP: For fine wines, will you have detailed provenance as well as wine reviews/descriptions?
MA: Yes, over time we will put as much details, provenance as well as wine reviews or descriptions, as we possibly can, so our customers can make decision based on good information. We want, where possible, to recreate the experience of going to a shop, and having a knowledgeable person providing information to the customer.
AP: What is the demographic profile of the consumers that buy from websites? Is this different from those that buy from traditional retail shops?
MA: Typically the demographic tends to be younger, around 30 – 45, as they tend to feel more comfortable shopping online. The older demographic also tends to have their existing relationships with a shop or salesperson, or a private wine adviser. However, there has been a shift over the last 4 -5 year in the market, and the market in general is seeing an older demographic moving towards shopping online.
AP: What are your plans/new projects for the Kerry Fine Wine Group in 2013 in HK and in China?
MA: For Hong Kong, launching Kerry Wines into the market. Our web site is now fully functional, and our initial sales have been exciting. We are also going to be launching partnerships with key players in the Hong Kong market. We will continue to develop our portfolio to ensure that we are exceeding our customers expectations, and introducing new exciting labels into the Hong Kong and China market. As for China, we are securing market presence in selective on-premises, corporate accounts and in second and third tier cities via regional distribution partners. And we will continue to focus on excellent customer service. We believe that this is a key differentiator.
AP: What is the biggest consumer trend at the moment in Hong Kong? Is it the similar or different in China?
MA: More and more consumers are aware of the importance of having produces which are as natural as possible, we at KW are actually very careful of working with Vineyards who are using those methods. Hong Kong is a very mature market, but we notice our Chinese customers are much more open to new wines.
Photo Souce: Matthew Aylmer