Sole traders boost wine sales via web

29 June, 2007

Independent wine merchants are seeing big increases in internet sales.

Those

who spoke to OLN said

sales via their websites were shooting up as more consumers were turning to the internet to make their purchases.

Robert Boutflower, of Tanners in Shropshire, whose website was relaunched at the end of 2005, reported a 26 per cent growth in web sales in the past year.

He said: "I thought we were doing pretty well last year, so I was looking at 20 per cent growth for this year, but we have exceeded our expectations. We are very pleased with the way it is going."

Susan Harrison, of Harrisons Fine Wines in Crieff, Perthshire, also said internet sales had taken off in the past year.

"We've definitely had a lot more traffic. Anniversary wines such as 1967 vintages are currently our biggest sellers on the web," she said.

Other independents started seeing growth earlier. Alan Harding, of Divine Fine Wines in Solihull, Birmingham, and Carole Lee, of Yapp Brothers in Warminster, Wiltshire, said it was more noticeable two years ago.

Harding said: "Percentage-wise the increase was more noticeable in the previous year, but how much of this is due to our increased presence and how familiar people are with us, I don't know."

Lee added: "The trend is to buy things online and that is starting to happen with wine too."

Retailers with websites say the key to their success is to keep the sites simple, allow time to maintain and develop them and make them as consumer-friendly as possible.

"Sales from our original website were not very good," said Giovanni Viglianisi, of Giovanni's Enoteca in Durham.

"But six months ago we improved it with completely new images, so it looks more professional and inviting, and we've started to see big improvements in sales."

Majestic announced a 35 per cent increase in web sales on last year in its preliminary results for the year ending April 2007.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle ľ which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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