This week I flew to New York for Vinexpo 2018 to speak on the panel: Millennials' Purchasing Power and The Rise of E-commerce alongside the brilliant leaders of Vivino, Minibar Delivery, Enolytics, Sodexpa, and Racine's NY.
First of all, I want to thank everyone who came and listened in the standing-room-only crowd, and apologize to all the people who were turned away!
To recap for those who weren't able to catch the session, I briefly summarized three of the main points about Millennials, wine, and E-commerce.
1) For Millennials, there is intimidation and fear surrounding wine. Fear of not knowing the right wine to buy, not knowing how to pronounce things, not understanding the winemaking process. Companies who create content that educates and adds value for Millennials will establish trust with them. From a packaging standpoint, do your best to take the guess-work out for young consumers. Make the varietal large and easy to read. There's a reason Rosés and Red Blends so so well - they're straightforward. "This wine is pink", "This wine is a red." When building your brand, make sure your products are crafted with the Millennial consumer in mind.
2) Millennials are the first generation to grow up in a fully digital world. Human behavior is changing and so is how we interact with information. Millenials expect everything to be immediately available, easily accessible, and user-friendly because that's the world they grew up in. Developing a strong E-commerce presence isn't optional with these consumers; it's necessary. In 2018 the youngest legal wine drinkers in the world aren't even Millennials, they're Gen Z'ers. If you haven't created a strategy for E-commerce, you're already behind.
3) At Merchant23, our E-commerce platform is exclusively for Direct-to-Trade (DTT) sales. We built the platform because Millennials are becoming the trade Buyers of today. Millennials are defined as people currently aged 21-37 years old. I can personally think of several Sommeliers, beverage directors, and bar owners who fit into that demographic, and I'm sure you can too. These are people who have grown up in the digital world and they are quickly moving into trade Buyer roles. We need to meet them where they are. If they're used to buying everything online then it's our job to enable them to buy wine (DTT or DTC) online as well.
Millennials are not enigmatic or daunting, they're simply people who grew up with access to different tools than previous generations. We as an industry need to grow and adapt to the tools they're using.
A good first step? Hire Millennials. No one can teach you more about E-commerce or Millennials than the Millennials themselves.
Jacob Moynihan, CEO of Merchant23, Inc.