3 Wine & Spirits Distributor Trends to Watch from the WSWA NextGen Summit

September 21, 2023 Tony Castellano

Western Computer was recently invited to attend the WSWA (Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America) NextGen Summit, an event where the next generation of industry leaders can meet in person, learn together, share, and network. As the event was the first in-person post COVID event for many, it was a smaller-knit group but the conversations and insights were excellent.

We continuously immerse ourselves in the wine and spirits community to better understand the needs of our customers and enhance our solutions like 365WineTrade to meet those needs. Events like these are not only enjoyable as we get to meet people who share our passion for the industry, but we can share what we learn with you!

Here are a few key takeaways and trends for wine and spirits distributors:

1. eCommerce is HOT

Whether it’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) or business-to-business (B2B) sales, eCommerce is the hottest topic in the industry right now. It’s no surprise DTC eCommerce exploded during the pandemic but, now that on-premise bars and restaurants are reopening, data shows DTC trending downward post-pandemic. The general consensus is wine and spirits wholesale importers, distributors, and brands need multiple eCommerce and marketplace connections to compete now and into the future. And there are some great options available no matter the size of your business or your eCommerce model.

2. Data is a BIG opportunity (and a BIG challenge)

Data Analytics was an underlying theme of many of the presentations and conversations at the WSWA event and we hear it daily in the conversations we have with wine & spirits customers. It may be one of the most untapped opportunities for the industry and continues to be a challenge. Most organizations are struggling to manage multiple data sources with manual spreadsheets which takes hours and hours of time from staff every day. Many of the industry business intelligence and analytics tools in the wine and spirits marketplace today are based on closed-door legacy technology that requires a serious update to modern framework and standards. It was refreshing to see at least a couple of companies tackling these data estate issues with a proven data management strategy.

3. Post-COVID Trends

When many on-premise locations shut down during COVID, off-premise retailer sales rose. Wine sales went down, spirits went down as well but less of a reduction than wine and have come back a bit stronger. Stress likely resulted in consumers gravitating toward heavier alcohol choices vs. wine. The trend is holding steady and there has been a big jump in RTD products like seltzers, boxed cocktails, etc.

Wine & Spirits Technology

It was a pleasure to share how 365WineTrade is designed to help wine & spirits distributors and producers overcome these challenges. In terms of the above trends and takeaways from the WSWA event, we are able to:

  • Integrate with the top eCommerce solutions including SevenFifty, Shopify, Dynamicweb and many more.
  • Leverage the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform to automatically consolidate data from multiple sources and provide powerful data visualizations and business intelligence with Power BI.
  • Use data to identify trends and stay agile when you need to adapt to market volatility like COVID, seasonal fluctuations, etc.

What do you think about these trends? Is this what you are seeing in your business? Reach out any time and let’s talk about your business and steps you can take to proactively build a foundation for your future.

About the Author

Tony Castellano

As Western Computer's VP of Sales, Tony oversees sales and business processes to ensure that the company's large customer base is supported.

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