Pernod Ricard is poised to become the second major supplier to launch an ecommerce site that sells direct to UK consumers.

The Absolut and Jameson supplier said it is currently testing The Sipstor to make sure everything runs smoothly and it will soon be up-and-running.

It follows the launch of Alexander & James by Diageo earlier this year, a site sells the supplier’s premium brands including Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka and selected single malts direct to consumers.

AB-Inbev and Heineken are also readying global ecommerce hubs.

The Sipstor will launch in the UK and then be rolled out across the world, selling variants from key brands including Absolut, Jameson, Havana Club, Malibu, Beefeater London, Chivas and Pernod Absinthe.

In OLN’s spirits report (page 27), 11% of the suppliers we polled said selling direct to consumers represents the single greatest opportunity for growth in the year ahead.

Retail analyst Barry Cark, account director at Future Foundation, which predicts the trends of tomorrow, said the rise of technology risks cutting the retailer out the sales process.

He said: and added: “Producers all have a direct communication with the person that consumes their products and it shifts the balance of power away from the retailers towards the producers themselves.”

He predicted the amount of devices connected to the internet would rise four-fold in the next decade and that the rise of high-speed broadband would mean will have to compete increasingly against producers for the consumer’s attention.

He added: “Technology gives a significant advantage to producers.”

When asked how retailers can fight back, Clark said retailers should ramp up their own ecommerce activity and urged them to make the most of the wealth of consumer data they currently hold.

He added: “The retailer still has the advantage of aggregation and putting things in one place.”