The year 2020 was a year of extremes for a lot of Australians. From bushfires to national and localised lockdowns, we saw how industries such as retail, tourism, and hospitality get hit badly with millions of jobs lost and businesses closed.
However, it’s not all gloom and doom. The economy rebounded for the last six months and several industries have seen increased demand due to shifts in consumer behaviours.
One of these industries is the alcohol sector. Recent research reveals that in 2020, “nearly 6 million Australians bought packaged alcohol in an average seven days.” Though a majority of the people still bought their alcohol from stores, the online alcohol sales surged to 11.3%, almost tripling the numbers from the previous year, proving it’s an untapped yet profitable platform for most businesses.
The industry growth is welcomed by people in the business. But of course, with increased demand comes new challenges.
With more and more orders coming in, small businesses found themselves getting stretched when it comes to manpower. This led to them seeking new solutions that simplify logistics and distribution.
“With the growth in direct-to-consumer, it became quite a labour-intensive operation getting our orders out and we thought our resources would be better utilised if we could outsource that component of the business,” says Nicole Reshke of Koonara Wines in South Australia.
To become more efficient, they partnered with WINEDEPOT, an online technology platform designed to streamline wine and beverage distribution. With the partnership, Koonara Wines was able to route orders directly to WINEDEPOT for picking, packing and delivery. This allowed them to properly utilise human resources and redeploy employees to roles that bring greater and longer-term returns for the business.
With orders coming in from various states and people’s high expectations for on-demand deliveries, alcohol producers also scrambled to fulfil orders quickly.
“We’d used courier services for our online orders which were fine at a smaller scale, and managed delivery of local wholesale orders ourselves, but suddenly with a larger number of orders coming in from Dan Murphy’s stores everywhere – throughout NSW and QLD as well – we couldn’t possibly have gone around and delivered them all,” explains Jill Bynon of NSW Southern Tablelands-based Corang Estate.
They turned to WINEDEPOT for a cost-effective and cost-efficient solution to fast order fulfilments without any hassle from their end. “For metro deliveries, they’ve been very quick, and the process of uploading orders has been really simple,” adds Bynon.
While direct-to-consumer channels remain strong, sellers are also looking to reach out to new customers and exploring direct-to-trade channels.
To address this gap in the market, WINEDEPOT is launching the world’s first full-service vineyard to venue platform. MARKET is an online marketplace that connects producers of wines, craft spirits, beers and other beverages directly with thousands of venues such as restaurants, pubs and hotels.
“As a small producer, we are excited about the opportunity that MARKET may bring. Allowing us to broaden our wholesale reach and collaborate with the ease that MARKET will bring for the business consumer,” describes Reschke.
It also allows sellers to take control of their brand, enjoy higher margins and get paid in as fast as three days. Plus, with a capability to integrate with other leading sales channels such as eBay and Vivino, sellers can expand their reach and provide a smoother process for customers at the same time.
“As a small family business, we really value the simplicity and streamlined way that MARKET allows us to get our beers to market. In particular, one of the biggest challenges with selling beer interstate is managing multiple warehouse locations of beer that needs to sell whilst fresh. MARKET allows us to ship from one location ensuring customers enjoy the freshest stock available, with very good delivery times and rates. Also, by taking care of customer orders, invoicing, warehousing, and delivery, it frees up a huge amount of time for us to focus on what we do best… brewing and selling beer,” remarks Jamie Pike of Pike Beer Co.
The alcohol industry has changed massively in the past year. It’s essential for businesses to listen to their customers, utilise technology, and become agile to adapt quickly and thrive in this rapidly evolving world.