Wine brands say promotion forecasting site Bring A Bottle could 'misdirect consumers'

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Top wine brands have accused new drinks promotions forecasting website Bring A Bottle of having the “potential to misdirect consumers”.

Earlier this week Bring A Bottle announced the exact times of year when the UK’s Top 25 alcoholic drinks would be on promotion – suggesting the best times to buy and stock up.

One example it gave was Treasury Wine Estate’s Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay – according to the site’s two years worth of data sourced from the major multiples and online retailers across 7 million price points - the third week of June is the best time to pick up a bottle, allowing savings of 35% at £6.50.

But a spokesman for Treasury Wine Estates was unimpressed. “To pinpoint specific brands and specific weeks based on historical information has the potential to misdirect consumers. Just because a decision has been made to promote a brand at a certain week one year does not mean it will happen at the same time the next year.”

Mike Paul, who has spent 40 years in the wine industry working with major brands and distributors, said the site was “only doing what many consumers already do informally”, in that many are well aware that Christmas is a good time to bag a bargain on Champagne. But, he said Bring A Bottle “exacerbates the downsides or benefits of discounting given subscribers will automatically be informed of promotions on their ‘favourite’ brands/categories”.

He also questioned whether two years of data allows accurate forecasting of when brands would be promoted.

But he said the site could offer other advantages. “What will be particularly interesting will be the database of the site as time goes on. It will be possible for them to assess key brands currently, through consumer preferences, and then correlate trends in those preferences against depth or frequency of price promotion,” Paul said.

Paul Beavis is managing director of Lanson International UK, whose Black Label Brut Champagne was listed as being cheapest in the third week of December, when consumers can save 51% over the most expensive time of year. He told Harpers.co.uk that the brand is focused on its quality and taste message. ”We take a category approach to selling our brand and believe it is right to engage with our customers beyond price. But if this website helps those customers who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise buy Champagne then, in that sense, the website is a useful tool. Obviously we are not party to how the data is interpreted.” 

Hugo Fairey, founder of Bring A Bottle, said: “All markets are subject to seasonal variations and our website alerts people via email to when prices are at their lowest using the ‘Price Alert’ feature on every product page. This feature is based on real-time prices.”

What do you think of Bring A Bottle’s promotions calendar? Have you been listed? Get in touch by emailing Gemma McKenna or through Twitter @harperswine. 

Readers' comments (2)

  • The Bring a Bottle website will demonstrate to consumers the true price of the heavily promoted brands and, perhaps, engender some realisation in the minds of the consumer that they are paying way over the top for these products when they are not on promotion.

    The consumer is key, and anything that gives the consumer an edge in working out whether they are being duped into paying more than necessary is a good thing. It will possibly give the lesser promoted, cheaper, brands more of a chance - which is another good thing.

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  • I think Bring a Bottle is a result of the dynamic and evolving market made possible by technological change. As Mike Paul rightly says: consumers do this informally already. This website automates the process and is likely to more accurately predict the results -- great for the consumer.

    I’m not surprised by Industry reaction. They’ll by and large hate this. But the drinks industry only has themselves to blame for relying so heavily on the discount model of retailing, which involves artificially inflating the price in order to discount it back to the normal price”. This model is disingenuous.

    One can only hope this will kick lazy industry players up the backside into being a little more inventive with their business models. It’s good for the consumer and it’s good for competition.
    Hat's off to you guys!

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