The Covid-19 pandemic has altered customer preferences drastically across industries, and the wine and spirits industry is no exception. Wine and spirits brands have no choice but to understand the evolving consumer needs and update themselves to stay ahead of the competition. In order to do so, it is necessary to identify how consumer needs and preferences are shifting in the alcohol industry and come up with the right solutions.
The following are the major trends that customers are introducing in the wine and spirits industry as a consequence of the global pandemic.
1. Prioritizing authenticity:
It is no secret that a large number of people have resorted to drinking to cope with the pandemic. Studies show that the online sales of alcohol in the United States alone have increased by 262% since 2019. This has also caused a significant rise in the number of counterfeit bottles and cans being sold in the market. This is a dangerous situation for customers since fake alcohol can cause severe health issues, and in many cases, death. Therefore, consumer concern over the authenticity of their alcohol purchases is growing, which alcohol brands need to address. Many brands are adopting NFC tags to protect bottle authenticity. Some brands are also using blockchain technology to prevent wine counterfeiting, which empowers customers to scan and ensure bottle authenticity.
2. Supporting local brands and products:
Due to the realization that 45% of small businesses have earned half or less of their pre-covid revenue during the pandemic, many alcohol consumers are shopping locally to help tide them over. Consumers are also genuinely interested in the origins and life cycles of the bottles purchased from local businesses. To meet customer needs, several small alcohol brands are adopting blockchain technology to improve business transparency and track provenance along the supply chain. By creating NFTs for each bottle, their transaction records become immutable, and consumers can get clear assurance of where their drinks are coming from.
3. Drinking at home:
Due to the pandemic regulations, many people prefer to stay at home and drink rather than cause health risks in public places. This has not only proven ideal for spending long hours at home, but has also been convenient for cutting down on cab fares, exorbitant restaurant alcohol prices, and so on. If people find themselves more comfortable drinking at home, it is likely that the trend will continue after the pandemic as well.
4. Buying from familiar brands:
Many customers prefer to purchase from brands they are familiar with and have had positive experiences with. Therefore, amidst the pandemic, emerging alcohol brands have to go the extra mile to win customer attention. In some countries, due to the ban on alcohol advertising, things get even trickier. Using digital means, it is possible to be discreet yet persuasive and creative in advertising specific products as well as similar ones at the same time. For instance, customers can scan product labels to access information related to several products of the same brand.
5. Opting for direct-to-consumer experiences:
The pandemic has made it less practical for wine and spirits customers and brands to assign middlemen to generate and procure offers and discounts. Therefore, alcohol companies are adopting digitally driven platforms to establish direct and perpetual communication channels with customers. This includes creating secure spaces for customers to voice their needs, reviews, and so on. This is proving to be a feasible way to retain loyal customers amidst the steadily declining personalization during the covid-19 times.
6. Confirming sustainability:
Customer concern over sustainability issues in the alcohol industry has always existed; the pandemic has only served to increase it. Based on research, 66% of global consumers and 73% of millennials are comfortable with paying more for sustainable goods. Wine and spirits brands that openly reveal their sustainability efforts tend to be prioritized by customers. Blockchain technology has opened up new and digital avenues for alcohol brands to showcase their sustainability information directly and win customer appeal.
7. Accessing interactive digital experiences:
While a lot of people enjoy drinking at home, many are missing the fun of learning more about how their drinks are made at the bar countertop. Alcohol brands are meeting such needs to a certain extent by employing blockchain technology to provide their customers unique cocktail recipes, interesting insights into the ingredients and production processes, and much more. This will keep customers engaged with their drinks and the brands providing them, which is a great marketing strategy as well.
8. Participating in reward-to-recycle campaigns:
There is a common misconception that sustainability issues are only solvable by brands. In reality, customers also have a large part to play in ensuring that their consumption does not negatively impact the planet. Therefore, several brands have launched reward to recycle campaigns for customers, which enables them to earn point-based rewards for efficiently depositing waste, and overall promoting sustainability. In recent times, thanks to the blockchain hype, many customers prefer crypto rewards as they are considered to be of high value at present.
Due to the advancements made in blockchain technology’s implementation, it has become easier for alcohol brands to keep up with the ever changing demands of their customers with minimal effort. For instance, Authlink’s platform offers a range of digitally driven services that alcohol brands can use to stand out from the crowd and deal with the aftermaths of the pandemic.