How Small Drinks Retailers Can Beat Amazon

Our December 2019 Alcoholic Drinks Market Report has shown a mixed bag of performance for many of the biggest alcohol retailers.

See here some of the winners and losers in 2019 in terms of organic visibility year-on-year change: 

  • waitrosecellar.com (-10%)
  • thewhiskyexchange.com (-22%)
  • sundaytimeswineclub.co.uk (46%)
  • nakedwines.com (-48%)
  • virginwines.co.uk (+86%)
  • masterofmalt.com (+49%)
  • majestic.co.uk (+38%)
  • 31dover.com (-85%)

Our report focuses in on key performance metrics for Alcohol specific retailers. However, something the report does not depict is market share within Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

So, I’d like to demonstrate who is soaking up most search impressions by drink category across all the main beverage types.

After analysing the results, one thing is for sure, tesco.com and amazon.co.uk both soak up a large portion of impression shares each.

The Data – SERP impression share %

The vertical axis shows the estimated share of impressions earnt in the SERP – a score comprised of what position the company ranks for and estimated search volume. This gives us an estimation of who gets seen the most across a set of keywords.

Each graph shows a different core alcohol category (colour coded: orange is beer, blue is brandy, grey is Champagne, green is IPA and purple is mulled wine) and impression share amongst those that rank the best for each category.

Key: Prosecco is pink, rum is yellow, tequila is grey, vodka is green, whisky is blue and wine is navy.

How can drinks retailers remain competitive against behemoth sites?

Monstrous sites like amazon.co.uk and tesco.com rank well because of the weight behind their brand names, tonnes of backlinks and large product offering. However, they miss opportunities because of their inability to provide specialist information that can guide the user to making a purchase.

Smaller alcohol retailers can gain the edge by providing a rich user experience.

What do I mean by this? Consider yourself an educated whisky consumer, if you go to a site like Tesco, you’ll find yourself awash with product offerings, with no real understanding of what’s good, where it’s from, age, variety etc.

The only real way of narrowing down your search is by using filter pages and manually reading product descriptions.

A core alcohol retailer should aim to have a landing page experience that both guides & educates the user towards making a purchase that best suits their needs & wants.

Think of it as a brick & mortar retail, if you want a good experience you go to the little whisky vendor in town where the friendly clerk can impart their knowledge.

Amazon & Tesco are just the opposite, they are simply an online supermarket experience.

An great example of a whisky specialist doing this with is thewhiskyexchange.com/:

It is full of useful content and inspirational imagery that will help the user narrow their search down.

And it’s working, tremendously well. Crushing Amazon and Tesco taking a 75% impression share in the whisky category.

In summary, smaller core alcohol retailers can gain the edge by providing truly useful user experiences that behemoth generalists don’t provide, yet...

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