business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

A site called PopDust that serves as a platform for pop music and its fans, now is getting into the wine club business with a new "Tasting Room" concept.

Here's the pitch:

"We all love wine. In fact, most nights of the week our editors sip a glass or two to wind down after work. The liquor store nearest us doesn't always have the best selection, or the best prices for that matter. They have limited shelf space, and store employees don't always recommend bottles we'll enjoy. Liquor stores are focused on volume and margin (it's not their fault rent is expensive) leaving many people reaching for the yellow-labeled bottle with the kangaroo they stick in the front of the store. But Tasting Room seeks to change that."

When you sign up for Tasting Room, the company says, it will send you "a six-bottle tasting kit which is where the fun begins. Log on to the site and you're guided through an engaging, interactive tasting in which you pit the wines against one another. You simply click on the wines you prefer in the head-to-head matchups, and based on your ratings, Tasting Room makes informed wine selections for you in the form of Wine Profile ... Soon thereafter, you'll receive a 12-bottle case of different wines tailored to match your preferences. The club ships you a case of wine as often as you'd like for about $12/bottle. You can easily customize your shipment date(s), size, and contents on the site ... Plus, every bottle comes with a satisfaction guarantee, so if you ever receive a wine that doesn't match your taste preferences, Tasting Room will replace it or issue you a wine credit to purchase another bottle ..."

I think this is interesting, and not just because it points to yet another competitor for business that traditional bricks-and-mortar stores used to take for granted. Perhaps even more importantly, they're seeking to turn people into more frequent customers by putting more product into their hands, and making that product as relevant as they to their tastes.

That's smart, and it is a pretty good bet what the next step will be - a premium Tasting Room club that offers more expensive wine, and looks not just to get people to drink more wine, but better wine.

That's how to grow a business. It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: