Wine Flash Sale Sites Are nothing New…Just Flashier
Wines & Vines Magazine has done a terrific job surveying the landscape of the relatively new "Flash Sale Wine Websites". These are deep discounters on the web that offer generally one wine for a limited amount of time at a significant discount.
The Wines & Vines Articles, written by Paul Franson, identifies the largest of these sites along with some pretty interesting metrics surrounding average discount and traffic to the Flash Sale web sites.
The big question surrounding Flash Sale sites is will they be around when the economy starts to hum again (don't worry, it will.)? I've actually been asked this question by three reporters in the past couple months, none of whom were doing stories on just flash sales.
The answer is that of course Flash Sales will be around when the economy starts humming. There has always been a need for a back channel through which wineries or wholesalers or retailers could quietly move lots of wine that wasn't moving through the traditional channels. Sometimes those channels were cruise ships, airlines, regional grocery stores. Today, you can add Flash Sale to that mix.
But here's the thing that I guess goes without saying, perhaps because it's too obvious: No producer, no wholesaler and no retailer thinks sending cases of wine through a deep discounter like the Flash Sale sites is a good idea, is good for the brand, or is a sound marketing strategy. Using these sites and seeing wines sold at 30% to 60% off their suggested retail price always damages the brand. The damage may not be severe. The damage may not kill the patient. But it does damage the desired price floor for the product. There is no getting around this.
Nevertheless, these site serve a real purpose for wineries. It allows them to move a slow selling wine or get wine out of a warehouse with relatively little public exposure. Whether one takes a loss on the wine or breaks even often isn't the point. Sometimes its just a matter of getting the bottles out the damn door.
For consumers with a penchant for bargains and trying new wines the Flash Sale Wine Sites are manna from heaven. Whether the economy is in the dumper or moving along swiftly, there will always be call for bargains…one more reason flash sales won't go away…ever.