How Millennials And Augmented Reality Are Changing Wine Sales

Posted: Oct 01, 2019

I find this all fascinating – it would never occur to me to scan a wine label before – or after– I bought it. So I asked Raeckers–a millennial and chain account manager - Publix for Breakthru Beverage of Florida– to help me understand. I met him at an elaborate 19 Crimes event in Boston at the Liberty Hotel (fitting as it’s the former Charles Street jail), which brought together 250 top wine buyers and some sweepstakes winners for a party where everyone drank wine from steel cups (which I don’t recommend) and got weird meals served on metal trays (which I also don’t recommend) – like prison, get it? Actors in various elaborately decorated function rooms portrayed some of the folks on the bottles.

Do you think 19 crimes living wine labels is helping them to sell wine?

Raeckers: Absolutely– in the wine and spirits industry we always drive home that you have to have a story to help sell your product. ... With 19 Crimes, they have the juice, the core varietals, the catchy name, the awesome labels, the great stories, and the app that ties all of it together in one single spot. It’s a marketing slam-dunk, and the app is the way to deliver to consumers as only a person hand-selling it to them in the wine aisle could. Gone are the days of silent shelf talkers, neckers, and back labels. Welcome to the world of AR and the talking wine labels that tell you everything you need to know.

What are some of the ways millennials are using their phones to make wine choices?

Raeckers: Personally, I think we saw millennials, as well as others, turn to their phones when Augmented Reality (AR) really hit the streets with 19 Crimes and other brands. However, apps like Vivino, Decanter and a few others have been around for a while, and are making an impact on wine purchasing at a fact or knowledge-based level. Much like a wine drinker usually starts with a sweeter, easier drinking wine and progresses to a bold, dry drinker over time, I think apps like Living Wine Labels get millennials (and others) into the wine world, and as they progress deeper into their wine drinking lifestyle they move to a Vivino or Cellar Tracker.

19 crimes
Actors portrayed criminals and wardens at the Boston event. 2019 COPYRIGHT 13 PHOTOGRAPHY
How much influence does a cool interactive app have on decisions to purchase certain wines?

Raeckers: For me personally, little to none. That is due to the industry and product knowledge gained over time in the business. However, for most people, and more specifically my generation and the one following, an interactive app plays a large part in their decision to purchase a wine. Whether it is AR, donating/supporting a cause (with purchase of product) or a simple filter used to post to social media, any ability to tie a wine or product purchase directly to the use of a consumers phone will ultimately benefit the brand/product.

How much influence does it have for your wine buying team?

Raeckers: Any buying team or buyer looking to be progressive or forward thinking will take these types of “add-ons” as a selling point to carrying a brand or product. We (Millennials or otherwise) spend so much time on our phones, and have so much information at our fingertips today. ... Traditionally, a less-educated consumer would purchase a brand they know or have heard of before. Not millennials, not the generations to follow. Even some of the previous generations are buying wine differently. Now consumers want to try something different or bring a product to the party that no one has heard of before. Quality is still a factor, but today, price usually speaks to the quality of the wines we are buying. Not always, but usually. This takes the guessing of quality out of the equation. Again, we’re talking to a less educated/experienced consumer, which most are, and there is nothing wrong with that. If quality is out of the equation, it then comes to varietal or Country of Origin, name, label and if there is a story. If you have an app that can tie any of those variables together, you are creating a recipe for success that includes any consumer who uses their phone for more than texting and emails.

Jeanne O'Brien Coffey
September 29, 2019

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