The New World of Retail

It seems like the retail game is undergoing another dramatic shift.  First, retailers had to worry about posting their items for sale online.  Now, they have to do something special to get customers to hit the 'buy' button.  What are people doing that is different? Before you hit 'buy' you are going to have to hit 'sign in'.

Internet retailers have sprung into action in an effort to fill both customer demand (lower/special pricing) and supplier needs; national price protection from wine-searcher.com.  How can both of these things be fulfilled simultaneously?

Gilt.com has spawned a half dozen wine retailers that make you sign in to their website, with exactly the same business model; daily specials, limited inventory choices, and discounted pricing.  Here's a review of a few of the companies that I've had a chance to look at first hand.

WineHeist.com puts one deal per week out to their customers via email.   Their site is basic, but gets the point across.  The wines are usually Northern Ca. based, and in the $20-30 price range with a 15% to 25% discount from normal retail.  They do a pretty nice write up, which usually includes tasting notes and food pairing suggestions, and sometimes the producer as well.

invino.com is a little more innovative with their marketing, and has more wine selections going at once.  They have expanded their online store to include cellar collections (where they offer older wines, or private cellar purchases) food, case discount purchases, and a more full service retail where you actually talk to a person.  They offer store credit for referring people to their site ($20) and send several emails a week with offers.  The products range significantly in terms of price, discount, and type; for example they sent a Harlan email where they were selling several bottles of various Harlan ($650), Bond and Matriarch wines, while at the same time there is $7.99 Italian white wine available.  There's enough selection to choose from in the middle to keep you interested.  They provide comprehensive information about the vintage, producer and wine.

Lot18.com is a little more straight forward and seems to have wines that are readily recognizable and prices that are more enticing.  The wines are primarily  CA. based, and have tasting notes from several sources, including their own.  They give information on the wine, the producer and the region that the wine came from (where applicable.)  This site seems to be the best at finding things that pique my interest and putting a price that is hard to say 'no' to next to a sexy bottle shot.  The price range for wines goes from $16 - $60 for most of the items.

If you are interested in learning a little more about these sites, stop in and sign up for their newsletter.  You will be part of the growing mass of consumers that demand a special price.

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