Wine Retailers Try to Drum Up Support
By John Hennessy, Vice President, Concept Shopping, Inc.
A new organization, The Specialty Wine Retailers Association (SWRA), has been launched to help protect the cross-boarder shipping rights of wine retailers. The organization consists of wine retailers across 30 states.
Todd Zucker, president of K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, Calif., joined SWRA in the hope that, if his business could ship wine across state lines, he would see an increase in sales. “My sense is that it would be substantial because a lot of the merchandise we offer for sale isn’t readily available in other markets or is available in limited quantities, like Bordeaux futures and rarities,” he said. K&L receives several calls every hour from out-of-state consumers wishing to order wine, he added.
The lack of an SWRA type organization to support wine retailers is blamed for the exclusion of retailers from direct-shipping legislation 100 percent of the time. The legislative activity is driven by last year’s Supreme Court Decision that said states must treat in- and out-of-state wine shippers equally.
Moderator’s Comment: How can retailers harness the loyalty of their customers to improve business results?
These wine retailers may be missing an important and powerful ally in their quest for fairness: their best customers.
Complying with inconsistent regulations raises costs, which are passed along to customers in the form of higher product prices.
If the customers of these wine retailers were made aware of how inconsistencies in cross-border shipping regulations raised the price of their favorite
cabernet, prevented their wine merchant from carrying certain products and limited the flexibility of the wine customer to ordering unique wines from merchants in other states,
those customers might be compelled to get involved and lend their support to the cause.
The result of such a unified effort would be better wine prices, purchasing flexibility and assortment for customers, and better business conditions for
the wine retailers – not to mention a stronger relationship between retailer and these engaged customers.
Often a focus on one’s own needs prevents consideration on how your need can be expanded to incorporate the interests and, subsequently, the support of
other constituents in your business web. Why not also engage shipping companies who are certain to find themselves burdened with greater regulation and cost if rules are not standardized?
John Hennessy – Moderator