Here are the results of some research we conducted among export wineries regarding what type of information they most wanted to know about the U.S. market.
MARKET STRUCTURE AND REGULATIONS
• Finding an importer: How do you get one?
• Open vs. control states: strategies you should employ
• Selling to accounts with locations in multiple states: is it the right strategy for you and your brand(s) off-premise, on-premise?
• Independent stores vs. supermarkets: understanding which states allow wine to be sold in supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants and which states don’t. What this means for you in terms of marketing, pricing and distribution.
• Distributors: understanding what they really do, what you can expect from them, what they will expect from you.
The answers here were interesting. What they need to know and think they want to know are two different things. E commerce is a very compelling strategy for smaller, esoteric brands…they only need to be in distribution in one store and can sell in multiple states. Interesting that social media is only 4th.
• Scores: how to get your wines scored, how to effectively use them in the U.S., and what your options are if your brand is not currently imported. (Larger concept: role/value of scores relative millennials in a social media driven world)
• Public Relations: how consumers get information about wines, what publications and websites they read and how to capitalize on a growing digital industry. Understanding the impact and importance of “traditional” print wine publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine Advocate
• Other ways to compete: non-traditional marketing, distribution and sales strategies
• Social Media: an overview of its impact in the American wine market and what tools are most useful for your brands.
• E-commerce: Why it’s important, how you can participate in it and how it differs from traditional retail (pros/cons).
• Contracts and agreements: why you need to get it in writing and what should be included.
• Timelines: how long it will take to find an importer, distributor, and to actually get your product on the shelf
• Market trips: how often someone from your winery should visit the U.S. and what should their priorities be when traveling there (meeting with importer/distributor, management for business reviews, wine dinners/lectures, working with sales reps in market).
• Trade events: an overview of the main trade shows and events in the U.S.
• Brand ambassador: job description and why you might need one.