Retailing is in constant motion and evolving in such a way that price alteration alone is no longer viable to attract and retain consumers. Therefore, what this means is that retailing must include a consumer benefit experience that seeks to offer benefits that induce payments from consumers.
Helping consumers in getting the most value created and experienced when consuming a product is an essential function of the retailer, irrespective of what was paid for the product. Therefore, wine retailers play a crucial role in creating value during wine consumption, as well as helping consumers in getting maximum satisfaction from the product.
Mind you, consumers are heterogeneous, and that means their purchasing decisions are based on varying factors. But despite the differences in their choices, the general expectations of consumers is that a specific service or products must meet the needs for its production. A product satisfies the needs mentioned above when it possesses functions and features that are consumable or transferable. When it comes to wine, characteristics like country of origin, taste, brand name, and packaging, are some of the features consumers seek in a product.
The Case Of Wine Business In Nigeria
Nigeria has a growing population of more than 200 million people. In the last few years, the country has become an emerging market for wine and beverages. Although the wine market has grown over the years in the country, there is still a vast chasm between what consumers want and what the market has to offer. Take, for example, an average wine consumer in the country has little or no knowledge about wine, the market, and production process, and this affects their consumption and purchasing experiences.
Around 5 million Nigerians (which makes up for a large majority of the top earners in the country) account for close to 50% of wine consumption in the country. A bulk of these consumptions occur in the megacities of Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Benin, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Onitsha.
Overall, the retail wine market in Nigeria is unregulated, and as such, access to products is uncontrolled. Products are readily available to consumers in supermarkets, shopping malls, and wine shops/houses. Affordability and accessibility often limit old and potential consumers. Consumers would prefer to purchase from outlets that guarantee quality. Still, given the current state of affairs in the Nigerian market, many have to make do with places that provide the cheapest options.
So, why is the wine market still in its infancy stage in Nigeria? Well, the answer mainly has to do with product availability and consumer preferences. For example, in Australia, sales of wine from wineries increased to 45 million liters in the last five years. This increase can be attributed to the presence of wine cellar doors, which act as a wine tasting/purchasing environment as well as attractions for consumers. In contrast, this opportunity is not available to consumers in Nigeria because it is very little or zero production taking place. Even consumers that might have a private bar use it to display an exotic bottle of foreign wines as a sign of wealth and affluence. In a way, this attitude defeats the demand and sales of locally made wine that may lack the quality of foreign products.
The Way Forward
There is still so much that can be done to develop the Nigerian wine market. While the majority of countries around the world are both a producing and consuming market, the Nigerian market is solely a consumer market that depends heavily on foreign imported products. Although a small number of wineries exist in Nigeria, their product still lacks in quality and acceptance when compared to foreign products.
The creation of wine cellar doors in Nigeria would go a long way in promoting the market. While some companies in the country identify themselves as wineries, cellar doors, and showrooms, more than 95% of them are simply sales outlets that provide distribution networks for imported products. Indigenous producers can adopt a cellar door strategy, thus giving them an easy way to connect consumers to their products. This will help them eradicate the idea that locally made wine lacks the quality to rival foreign products. Such a strategy will help provide an excellent way to educate consumers about the quality of indigenous wines, thus improving sales.
In addition, retailers of foreign products and local producers must encourage the development of wine clubs where members can get discounts so as to facilitate purchase and consumption of local and foreign wine. A well-developed wine cellar door can be a place for relaxation, meetups, dinners, and other social events. This will help promote products and boost sales.
The Need For A Pre-Tasting Experience
Wine, by its nature, is a sensitive product, any opportunity to taste it before making any purchase decision is a vital marketing strategy. A pre-tasting experience gives consumers a chance to chat, mingle, and talk about their wine experience. All of this will help reaffirm consumers of the product they are getting, eliminate any pre-conceived risks associated with any potential purchase, and increase their knowledge of the products.