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Online wine sales get massive boost during lockdown

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The alcohol industry went into lockdown pain once again at the end of June, when President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced another 14-day ban on alcohol sales, extended for two more weeks on 12 July as coronavirus cases continued to rise. But, since 25 July, when retailers were again allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday, a sales boom has taken place.

Lientjie McLachlan, wine buyer at OneDayOnly.co.za, provided the following insights in a Q&A session on the impact on the daily deals site of the ban and its lifting:

How have the wine sales been this week compared to during lockdown?

Since the start of June OneDayOnly.co.za has seen an average growth of 74% week on week in our turnover for wine. The biggest week-on-week growth was experienced the week after lockdown was lifted, with 125% growth. Not only is this because we had an additional wine offering at month-end with all our best sellers, but we also believe that consumers have really depleted their wine cellars at home during lockdown, and were ready with some amazing brands and deals on offer when the ban was lifted.

What changes have been made to the wine selection?

Firstly, we have added a second wine offering on Mondays, besides our well-established Wine Wednesdays. In these Monday shops, we work around a theme, like a specific cultivar, wine style or region. We have really had a great uptake on this with Mondays now being equally as big as Wednesday for us. Secondly, I have really made an effort to get some of South Africa’s favourite wines on the site. Many wineries still have the misconception that we only sell wines offered to us at a discount when producers have excess stock, but I can honestly tell you that I have hand-selected all the wines available to us by asking for them by name.

What is the most popular wine?

Although we will always aim to sell a wide selection of cultivars and wine styles from different wineries at different price points, we find that red is more popular than white. Red blends and Sauvignon blanc are two of our strongest categories, which is in-line with brick and mortar retail statistics. Contrary to popular belief our biggest sellers aren’t necessarily the wines with the biggest savings. Quite often sales are driven by demand for a specific strong brand, or awards which we include on the cover image. I know that many wineries are sceptical about displaying awards and if it would really drive sales, but I can honestly tell you that it makes a big difference – it just gives first-time buyers the confidence to try something new. 

Do people prefer cheaper wines or the speciality wines?

Although we always want to include wines with a wide selection of price points, the entry-level wines do not perform particularly well. Our top 10 wines over the past month were all priced between R80 and R210 per bottle.

What is the delivery turnaround times for wine deliveries at this stage?

The wines sold during the lockdown have been delivered to the OneDayOnly.co.za warehouses since Monday and shipped to consumers immediately. During lockdown, we promised delivery within 10 business days after the ban has been lifted, and we don’t foresee any delays at this stage, although we are not allowed to deliver to consumers on Fridays. Wines ordered after the ban has been lifted will be delivered within our standard time frame of 7-10 days.       

Wine is really of strategic importance for the business and we have been working really hard to establish OneDayOnly.co.za as a wine shopping destination. We are really proud of the fruits this strategy has bared thus far and we are thankful that we could continue offering our loyal suppliers a platform for sales during the alcohol ban. We look forward to continued growth over the next year and to continue to surprise and delight our customers with great deals on some of their most loved brands.

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