New wine styles will “revolutionize the way people shop for wine”

Marketing research indicates LCBO customers want to try new products and even trade up to higher price bands but remain intimidated by the sea of wines lining store shelves.

To help break down these barriers, the LCBO will provide new educational tools to increase customers’ comfort levels right at the shelf, making the most of the 60-second purchase decision window. These resources will be rolled out April 29 with the launch of the Wine Shopping Made Easy thematic promotion.

One of these key tools is the creation of new wine styles that divide the wine portfolio into smaller categories based on their unique traits. These styles outline each wine’s characteristics, samples of products representing the style and food pairing ideas.

Four wine styles descriptors have been assigned to each of the red and white table wines. These will be the major focus of the upcoming promotion although references will also be made to dessert, fortified and sparkling wines. Styles for these products and rosés will be released at a future date.

This information will help customers determine their personal wine style. A red wine enthusiast may identify with the “full-bodied and smooth” style while a white wine drinker may discover she falls into the “off-dry and fruity” category. If the latter wine drinker is solely purchasing riesling from Germany, she may begin experimenting with vidal from Ontario and Vinho Verde from Portugal which are also tied to this category.

This concept is so simple yet brilliant,” says Greg Dunlop, category manager, European Wines. “So often people say ‘I know what I like but I can’t describe it.’ Now, they will be able to give it a name.

It’s going to revolutionize the way people shop for wine.” 

LCBO’s Knowledge Resources Group worked with the Wines category to develop the new wine styles and then met the challenge of applying these terms to all currently- listed LCBO wines.

“We are very pleased to support this initiative, which is a large step forward in the evolution of our customer’s shopping experience,” explained Michael Fagan, manager, Knowledge Resources Group. “These new styles will create a point of reference that customers use as they navigate the store, making their purchasing decisions easier, and their discovery of the world of wine much more enjoyable. Using the new styles, our staff will have greater confidence in their recommendations.”  

To ensure a smooth staff transition to the new terminology, Corporate Communications’ Broadcast Production Group is creating an information video with a strong graphic component. It will also include a series of staff/customer interactions to illustrate how to best use the styles as an aid in serving customers.

The style of each wine will be noted on new bin tags to be launched with the Wine Shopping Made Easy promotion. Also included will be the varietal, country and region of origin, the product name, sugar content (expressed in grams per litre), sweetness descriptor, volume and net price (plus bottle deposit) and the final price.

The new wines styles are just one of five purchase considerations to be profiled. The other four are by country, variety, food matching and sweetness descriptor.

“We’re covering off all the ways you can shop for wines at the LCBO from the perspective of what’s in it for the customer,” says Marketing Manager Krista Moriarity. 

Style terms will be placed on end aisle backer cards coinciding with the appropriate wines. To enhance this learning at home, a vibrant in-section, take-away brochure will also be available.
“The booklet is a helpful tool that provides information about the five ways to shop for wine,” says Krista. “It demystifies the wine shopping experience and emphasizes the new tools that we’re providing and how to use them. The booklet could also live permanently as a reference guide.”

A newspaper insert reflecting the promotion’s spring colour palette, delves into wine shopping in more detail and will appear in major Ontario newspapers on May 5.
“It will provide a more in-depth explanation of what we’re hoping to achieve,” says Marketing Manager Lina DiIorio. ”It will take readers on an informative wine journey.”
Radio commercials, airing between April 29 and May 26, will also disseminate information on Wine Shopping Made Easy.

Consumers who prefer to communicate via wireless devices can do so through QR codes appearing on shelf talkers, the FSI and exterior store banners. By using the codes, customers will download additional information about the wine styles.

“This is very much an integrated campaign,” says Lina. “We want to ensure that we are communicating in a way that’s seamless to the customer.”

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