Retailers urged to go online

Oddbins boss Simon Baile has warned that wine retailers ignore the internet at their peril.

He said: “Online is here to stay and here to grow,” adding: “If you don’t embrace it you’ll lose out on business.”?Baile was speaking at OLN’s seminar on the future of high street wine retailing at the London International Wine Fair.

“We had a pretty knackered site and are now investing in a new one,” he said. “Although it’s a fairly small level of sales compared with some of our competitors, we are seeing enormous growth. It is a fantastic opportunity not just to sell products but also to inform our customers.”?Baile said a generation of younger wine drinkers was looking at things in “a different way to perhaps how I did when I was 20 or 25, and certainly how our parents did”.

He added: “We need to engage with them and the internet is a very useful way of engaging with people, as well as trying to sell products.”?Philip Amps, owner of Cambridgeshire independent Amps Fine Wines, said the internet was “another shop window that’s open 24 hours a day”.

He added: “It’s not the be-all and end-all. I haven’t discovered how you can taste and smell wines through the internet.”