Bev Route

News and Insights for Alcoholic Beverage Importers & Distributors

  • Sign Up Sign Up


What a Retailer Looks For In Their Perfect Wine Importer or Distributor

Retail buyers are good at what they do because they train and work hard to get the most and the best out of any sales negotiation. To do that they need to know how distributors and importers think and what skills they can bring to the table.


Photo for: What a Retailer Looks For In Their Perfect Wine Importer or Distributor

There are two sides to every story and just as importers and distributors need to learn a retailer’s motives in a sales negotiation, then it stands to reason that a retailer needs to get into the minds of their suppliers and distributors too. But what is it that they are really looking for in an importer? What makes a distributor stand out from the competition. Try these for size...

1 Strong from the weak
Just as it is imperative for an importer or distributor to know all there is to know about the retailers they are hoping to work with, then conversely retailers are also sizing up the suppliers that work through their doors. Do they have the right skills, the experience, the people, the resources to help them get where they need to go? To hit the sales targets they have to reach? The world over, only the best, strongest suppliers are now working with retailers. Watch out. You are being judged in everything you do. 

2 Looking for all-rounders 
If you think as a wine distributor that the strength and quality of your wine range are the most important attribute to have then think again. You have to look at your business through the eyes of a retailer. For them, it is a given you have quality wine, at the right price. What they are looking at is all the other services you can provide. Consumer insights, trade data, insights, future forecasting. Can you offer some or all of those? Own label and brand development, exclusive wines and labels just for them. That’s what really counts when all the cards are on the table.

3 Size and scale 
Wine ranges in most big retailers might be getting smaller as space in-store becomes more restricted. But that does not mean retailers want less wine. Far from it. There is a big online market to fill and, for some, a big wide world to play in. What they are looking for are suppliers and distributors that can scale up to reach their future goals and targets. Can you access and source a large volume of wine at the drop of a hat? Ship bulk wine all over the world? Retailers are thinking big and want to work with suppliers that share their lofty ambitions.  

4 Rough with the smooth
The retail industry is as cut-throat as they come and none more so than the wine category. A market driven by price, bought by consumers willing to seek out the best deals. Retailers, therefore, need to work with importers and distributors capable and willing to go the extra mile in hitting price points, offering discounts and helping them put the best deals under the noses of their consumers.

5 Brand ambassadors
The perfect importer and distributor are also able and willing to help and support their retail partners in all levels of marketing activity. They want to see their suppliers out shouting about the wines they are selling on their behalf. Be it in consumer, trade or broadcast media, or online through social media, importers can’t just supply the wine and walk away. They need to be doing all they can to make the public, their target audience, know where the wines are on sale and why they should go out and buy them.

6 Consumer is king
Retailers live, sleep and breathe consumers and want to work with suppliers that do the same. They don’t want to just talk about where their suppliers’ wines come from, they want them to say why thousands of consumers are going to buy it. How well do my distributors really know who my consumers are, can they prove it and can they help me understand them even better. That’s who makes the perfect match for a retailer. 

What to read next

BevMo’s Jeff Feist on Taking Part in USA Spirits Ratings

Sales and Marketing

"Giving a rating to just liquid, blind has its place in the market and is very important, but that is different to when I have to decide what to put on the shelf. The USA Spirits Ratings competition is closer to the way I make chain assortment decisions". - Jeff


Sommeliers Choice Awards 2020 Winners

Why the IBWSS Came To San Francisco


San Francisco continues to be one of the world’s most important destinations for leading players in the wine industry, so it’s no surprise that a major conference dedicated to the private label and bulk trade is making its way to the city on July 26-27.