Surviving 2020: Why beverage businesses need an intoxicating online presence

What began as a stave-off-the-boredom tipple on the “Is it Monday or Friday?” endless days of the coronavirus lockdown landed as a 41% increase in value for beer, wine and spirits sold through grocers in the month of July, and an exponential growth of at-home drinking as we enter the ‘new normal’. No longer occasioned after-work drinks on a Friday at the pub, or the perfect wine to complement an expensive restaurant dinner, where alcohol sales are hitting the jackpot is at supermarkets and, most crucially, online. With changing times come changing consumer habits, and even months on from March 2020, we’re still endlessly scrolling on ecommerce websites and reaching longingly for the bottle from the comfort of our sofas.

Why is this still happening – and how can the industry keep up? Changing consumer behaviour is quick to develop, but consumer habits are harder to break. In a challenging year internationally, having a friendly drink now and again stimulates dopamine production, making our brains and thoughts happier. And in a global crisis, humanity is seeking positivity wherever it can be reached: Alcohol Change UK research has suggested an approximate 8.6 million UK adults drank more frequently during lockdown.

And even as we navigate towards a ‘new normal’, beverage businesses can’t afford to rest on their laurels. Those who have the best ecommerce websites will win now more than ever – with home drinking becoming a trend that isn’t looking to buck.

The rise in staycations and collective caution at venturing out to pubs has led to more consumers putting their money where they’re most at ease: at home and safely tucked away, inside. Alcohol Change UK’s ‘drinking during lockdown’ survey reported that only one in five current and former drinkers stated they planned to head back to pubs when they reopened back in July, and English pubs reported a 39% decline in sales the reopening week of July 6th.

Therefore, it is absolutely crucial in 2020 that wine, spirits and other beverage companies need an intoxicating online presence, to keep up with the home drinkers and internet surfers here to stay – and to account for the growing number of individuals who are reluctant to venture back outside.

It’s all about the on-wine presence

As beverage companies cotton on to changing consumer trends, a robust online presence is essential when it comes to facing the tough competition online and getting consumers purchasing your products, sans pub or restaurant. Why? Because the exact target audience for your beverages are the demographic for online. They’re savvy. And they’re willing to shop around to find the best product – so beverage companies need to make sure they make the cut.

Younger people (33% of 18 – 34-year-olds) drank more during lockdown, and socio-economic group ABC1, those with smart technology and internet-surfing savviness, were also drinking more. And consumers are conscious about shopping smarter, supporting independent beverage companies – with a 60% increase in sales at independent retailers in lockdown.

So, it’s essential – whether your beverage brand is established or just starting-up  – to get your online presence right. And if online is where your consumers will continue to be, instead of down the pub where lockdown restrictions could come back into force at any moment, it’s essential to put the focus online.

Surviving 2020: Why beverage businesses need an intoxicating online presence

Let us lift your spirits

Even as we enter the ‘new normal’, where freedoms are greater and consumers have more choice again as to where they choose to spend their money, two things are clear: they’ll continue to be drinking, and they’ll continue to choose to do their drinking at home.

A £30bn sales loss has been reported for pubs and bars; 17% of those surveyed by Alcohol Change UK believe their drinking will increase as we leave lockdown behind, with 49% believing they’ll be drinking the same amount. It’s clear that consumption isn’t declining, but rather those who are online and offer delivery are one step ahead: winning the market.

Our work at Goldfish has made it clear there is space in the market for medium-size food and beverage businesses. Those who work with a specialist ecommerce agency are making considerable gains in their online marketing.

At Goldfish, we understand that when changing up what your business offers or how you do things, you need results – and you need them quickly. In 2020, with the current economic and humanitarian climates fluctuating on what feels like a daily basis, it’s important to boost sales in all areas of your business as quickly as possible – and, crucially, online. As a specialist ecommerce agency who works with food and beverage companies to increase their online sales, Goldfish can help you see results. Check out our 30-day programme to see exactly how we could boost your online sales by 75% in just one month.

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Goldfish team