With more than 63%* of UK adults routinely drinking alcohol at home, there’s a huge appetite for alcohol shopping through the online channel.
What’s more, consumers enjoy discovering exciting, boutique and artisan alcoholic beverages that they might not be able to find at their local pub or in the aisles at the supermarket.
According to research by premium mixers producer, Franklin & Sons, the average UK household spends £113.79 a month on topping up its drinks cabinet and more than half of the money spent on spirits goes to premium and artisan brands.
With the explosion in craft gins and flavoured vodkas, along with a growing appetite for wine and beer, there has never been a better time to sell alcoholic beverages online but what do you need to consider in terms of compliance, efficiency and customer satisfaction?
Outsourcing fulfilment of alcoholic products is often the stress-free option, so what should you be looking out for in your fulfilment partner?
Licensed to deliver
Just as retailers need to be licensed to sell alcohol, eCommerce fulfilment specialists also need to obtain a license in order to store, handle and dispatch alcohol to paying customers. This includes third party fulfilment partners like Exact Abacus, along with wine producers or drinks manufacturers that may dispatch their own products sold via their website or any other online marketplace.
A break from the norm
Glass bottles are inherently a breakage risk, which must be managed during the storage and handling phase of the fulfilment process in the warehouse. Minimising the potential for breakages is also a specific challenge that needs to be addressed during dispatch, to ensure the product arrives with the purchaser in good order, just as it would if the customer had taken the bottle down from the shelf in an off license and carried it home themselves. Consequently, alcohol producers selling their products online need to work with their fulfilment partner to determine the right packaging for their products, ensuring each item is consistently packaged to protect and present the bottle correctly, meeting the customer’s expectations when it arrives.
Delivered with due diligence
In addition to ensuring that products like wines and spirits are handled with care in the warehouse, alcoholic beverage producers should also be confident that their products are being delivered by a best fit carrier, taking into account any national and international requirements. At Exact Abacus, for example, we work with a selection of trusted carriers and select the optimum delivery option to suit the drinks producer’s requirements and budget from 20,000 potential options.
High value service
While many high street alcohol brands are also sold online, the eCommerce channel is also utilised by wine and spirits producers that sell rare, vintage, artisan or special edition items that come with a premium price tag. These items will also require a White Glove service, which includes bespoke storage, handling, packaging and dispatch all available within Exact Abacus’ range of specialist services.
Until relatively recently, the fulfilment cost and packaging requirements for alcohol was seen as prohibitive unless a producer was selling a bottle or case with a hefty £250+ price tag to make the transaction worthwhile.
However, consumers are now just as familiar with browsing for their favourite tipple online as they are with shopping for groceries, gifts or items of clothing. As a result, eCommerce is an increasingly growing sales channel for vineyards and distilleries alike and drinks producers should look to supporting their product delivery with fulfilment partners like Exact Abacus that have the experience they need to grow and thrive.
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