Posted on: March 21, 2024

How Technology Is Transforming Alcohol Shopping

How Technology Is Transforming Alcohol Shopping

In a time where technology shapes the way we live, work, and play, the alcohol retail industry is also seeing great innovations. From the convenience of online sales to immersive experiences through augmented reality (AR), the landscape of buying and enjoying alcoholic beverages is undergoing a huge transformation.

In this blog, we’ll explore the impact of technology on the alcohol retail experience and provide insights into the evolving role of brick-and-mortar liquor stores.

The Impact of COVID-19

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, online alcohol sales in the United States grew substantially, with retailers and brand owners investing in the market. Online alcohol sales in the United States grew substantially, with retailers and brand owners investing in the market. The global e-commerce market for spirits and wine increased by 43% from 2019 to 2020 and is expected to nearly triple between 2020 and 2025.

A Major Shift for the Alcohol Industry

The alcohol industry is currently adjusting to three significant changes:

  1. E-commerce: The rapid shift towards direct-to-consumer sales and e-commerce is primarily driven by the growing demand for efficient and secure home and online shopping methods.
  2. Innovation: There's never been more creativity and innovation, with bars, pubs, and other alcohol retailers scrambling to come up with innovative specials like takeout drinks and even virtual tastings.
  3. Changes in State Regulations: Historical restrictions on highly regulated businesses, including open-container rules and regulations controlling direct-to-consumer shipments, have been relaxed statewide.

Technology is simplifying the process of purchasing alcohol online and enabling manufacturers to effectively communicate the range of products they provide.

How E-commerce is Changing the Landscape

Due to the lockdown, alcohol e-commerce made considerable advances in 2020, benefiting struggling sellers and small platforms. Recent trends indicate that e-commerce of alcoholic beverages may someday outperform conventional retailers.

Online vs. Physical Sales - The total alcohol sales decreased from $252 billion in 2019 to $222 billion in 2020, but the American alcohol e-commerce market increased by 80% between 2019 and 2021. This surge in online sales highlights the growing importance of alcohol e-commerce in the market. Businesses relying on physical sites, like wineries or distilleries, may need to transition to web-based retail platforms as customers prefer to shop online.

Customer Experience - E-commerce offers an interactive and attractive experience to customers, even those new to technology. More and more businesses are turning to user-friendly websites for product discovery, purchasing, and even reordering. A clean, functional website can positively impact customer experience and promote repeat purchases. Some online retailers can even leverage data and algorithms to offer personalized recommendations based on customers' preferences, creating a tailored shopping experience.

Convenience - The shift to online purchasing for alcohol is driven by convenience, as it simplifies the product selection and purchasing process, attracting more customers who will stick with the brand over time. Shopping online means 24/7 availability, allowing customers to browse and purchase products at any time, independent of traditional store hours. Additionally, these platforms often offer a larger product selection that can be found in stores. These benefits help contribute to an easy, convenient shopping experience for consumers.

Augmented Reality Enhanced Labels 

Augmented reality (AR) technology is expanding its reach across various markets. Wine and spirits companies are increasingly incorporating AR to expand their customer base and boost profits. AR allows winemakers and breweries to meet market demands and creatively sell their products by providing engaging and interactive content to users.

19 Crimes is an Australian wine brand that gained widespread attention for its unique approach to labeling and storytelling. The brand, known for its bold and distinctive labels featuring individuals who were historically transported to Australia as convicts, introduced augmented reality (AR) experiences to bring these characters to life. Through a mobile app, users could scan the labels to unlock animated stories and engage with the person featured on the bottle.

Meanwhile, Jack Daniels has developed “The Jack Daniel's AR Experience,” a virtual tour of the distillery through pop-up book-style 3D images. The app allows users to explore the whiskey-making process and learn about Mr. Jack Daniel, providing a closer look at the distillery's history.

E-Commerce Benefits for Today’s Businessman

The alcohol industry is one of the most profitable and well-known. Technology is revolutionizing the way we sell alcohol by lowering prices, increasing efficiency, and improving brand awareness.

Advancements in data collection and analytics enable companies to better understand customers, respond to trends, and make more efficient marketing decisions. This has also made it easier for smaller businesses to contact clients and develop their brand, reducing human labor costs and associated expenses. New advancements do not have to cause anxiety. Improving sales is as easy as making a few changes and being open to adapting to the changing virtual landscape.

Are you and your staff properly trained on alcohol regulations in your state? TIPS has certified more than 5.5 million participants to sell and serve alcohol responsibly for the past 40 years. We offer a diverse catalog of alcohol training and certification courses. Start your journey by heading to our website today!