THE BOOZE BIN
By Pia Mara Finkell (@piamara)
With the wildfire rise of online private sales, infiltrating everything from fashion to travel to restaurants, it was only a matter of time before wine lovers had sites to call their own. The newest invitation-only site to join the digital, flash- fray, Lot18 is brought to you by Philip James (founder of Snooth.com), start-up veteran Kevin Fortuna and a boat-load of funding from FirstMark Capital, a NYC-based venture capital firm.
Described as “a membership by invitation website for wine and epicurean products from coveted producers at attractive discounts,” Lot18 offers a range of heavily discounted, premium, small-production, and limited-run wines shipped directly from the winery for free with a purchase of six bottles or more. The site also includes an educational aspect with detailed winery/wine descriptions and reviews from their editorial team. Since you need an invitation to join, a few online sites received a limited number of exclusive invitations, including Luxist.com and The Next Web.
Another awesome wine e-commerce concept, Deals From the Vines is actually a “social commerce experiment” bringing the flash sale concept to the Facebook closed group platform. Launched last month by Peter Alig and Paul Mabray of the digital wine marketing firm VinTank, DFTV gives any winery the opportunity to offer deals to members of this invite-only, closed community of consumers without paying any fees whatsoever. Alig spoke with Tom Wark of Fermentation, the daily wine blog in an interesting interview on why they chose Facebook for their flash sale concept.
Here are some key excerpts showing how DFTV works and why VinTank wants to merge social media with social commerce:
“The Facebook Closed Group feature hides the deals from Google and www.wine-searcher.com, helping maintain brand integrity. The Facebook group also allows a representative of the winery to engage directly with the group in a conversational method.”
“Flash sales sites who intentionally or unintentionally market themselves as dumping grounds for wine will contribute to this negative perception. DFTV redefines the whole premise of flash sales and makes it about “we believe in our wine so much, we have reduced the price to get it into your mouth because we know you’ll love it enough to buy it again.” DFTV is about reconnecting wine companies directly through SOCIAL COMMERCE with consumers.”
Generating brand awareness on a limited-budget is a challenge for any small business. For wine lovers, new sites, like Lot18 and Deals from the Vines, conducting their flash sales with integrity offer a great service to lesser-known, small wineries looking to attract and engage new customers in the online arena.
Photos courtesy of The Recessionista and Vin65