By Dawn Dolan
Label Analytics has a new unique tool for wineries already in the wholesale market, or those just jumping on the bandwagon when it comes to distribution. Many wineries find it difficult to break into the three–tier system and gain any traction when a preponderance of the wines on the shelf are owned by large operations. The consumer may not even realize that many of the wines they see on the shelf, with very disparate labels and price points, may belong to the same entity. Many, if not most of those, are the wines that carry the spaces on the shelf; i.e. those that sell.
“Trade buyers know what does and doesn’t make it to the shelf. We [Label Analytics] test shopper responses to bottles. We have shopper sheets. We give the winery this information so they can engage the trade buyers, who are motivated to sell. It’s all about first impression visuals,” Says John Lawlor, CEO and co-founder of Label Analytics.
Label Analytics’ Wine Shopper Data Sheets are trying to level the playing field for wineries seeking to join the fray. Under the current system, a winery must use their distributor’s sales force to convince the retailers that their wine will make that retailer money taking up precious shelf space. For the retailer, that can require a 6 to 9 month process, in which they could see diminishing returns, at which point they may drop the wine or label entirely. This constitutes a loss for all parties: the winery who has now produced wine they cannot sell, the distributor who took a chance on them, and the retailer who bumped another wine to give up the space.
When hired to produce a Shopper Data Sheet Deck, Label Analytics sets up a study using a minimum of 500 consumer shoppers. Featuring proprietary algorithms and offering actual consumer testing for each product, the data is statistically significant. A client winery’s wine (or wines) is secreted within a slate of 81 wines, divided into panels of 9 per page. Consumers see each of the nine pages of nine wines each, and rank the wine on five key sales indicators. They have no idea who the client winery may be, and are answering purely on personal preference.
Results of the survey are broken down into panels, which the client can use to asses probable success in the market, equating her wine to other comparable wine varietals falling at a certain price point. The individual demographic analysis feature breaks down by gender, age group, price point, etc. Label Analytics reports that their system ranks products on: Shelf Attention, Memorability, Price Impression, and Purchase Interest vs. competitive brands, and that their analysis shows an estimated 80% of consumers choose a new brand based on the label.
When compiled and presented on the Wine Shopper Data Sheet, the brands performance against the competitive set is clearly displayed, and the winery can share the deck with retail wine buyers or with their distributor’s wholesale reps, who can then use it to make the case for the wine in meetings with trade buyers.
Label Analytics offers the Wine Shopper Data Sheet Deck for a flat license fee, retaining the data. Clients may use the Response Deck for three months upon its completion, and then can switch to a monthly or annual licensing fee should they want to continue with its usage. Offers Lawlor, “Shopper sheets may show what competitors are doing best [matched against your wine]. We show the winery a competitor’s set, that shoppers considered. We make suggestions based on what we know are probably their competitors, and we can tell which competitors were most attractive [to consumers]. Also where does this fit for the stores? They won’t bump a good seller.”
Armed with knowledge gained, a winery can either make the plunge into the wholesale realm, or reconsider. Finishes Lawlor, “Our objective for wineries: Sell more wine with shopper confidence. Building a brand in the wholesale market takes engagement. If your wine isn’t competitive on the shelf to customers, you are not going to make a good living.” Using shopper data has not been the norm in the wine industry, but this product and other emerging offerings out on the market may be the start of a new trend. One to watch.