May 05, 2021 at 04:00PM

Coming off a year in which online alcohol sales doubled, the country’s largest direct-to-consumer (D2C) wine merchant has teamed up with a leading eCommerce platform provider to enable scores of vintners an increased ability to sell and promote their products.

In announcing their new partnership, WineDirect and BigCommerce said their upcoming integration will bring modern, flexible eCommerce access to over 2,000 different wine brands around the world and take digital selling practices to the next level.

“Despite the rise in online alcohol sales over the last year, wineries have been slower than other industries to adopt [D2C],” Russell Klein, chief commercial officer for BigCommerce told PYMNTS via email, “but competition for consumer attention is increasingly fierce and to stay top-of-mind, wineries need to leverage every tool at their disposal.”

Klein said the partnership will provide wineries with the world-class eCommerce functionality they need to reach more customers directly, while providing the businesses with the functionality, security and speed needed to jumpstart their digital transformations, particularly in the aftermath of COVID.

Trailing 12 Vs. Next Three Years

While the digital shift caused by the pandemic saw a spike in all forms of eCommerce over the past 12 months in the face of shuttered retail stores and other health-related restrictions, studies show that the surge in first-time online alcohol purchasers will not only stick, but accelerate in the years to come.

According to the two companies’ joint release, within a segment that doubled in 2020, 44 percent of online alcohol sales came from first-time buyers last year, and the broader business is projected to grow 600 percent over the next three years, topping $40 billion in sales by 2024.

This shift in consumer buying behavior was clearly a factor in Uber’s decision last year to pay $1.1 billion to acquire alcohol delivery service platform Drizly. Although that transaction is aimed at serving more impulsive consumers in 1,400 cities who are willing to pay a premium to get last-minute purchases brought to their doors, the other side of the online alcohol business is much more methodical and subscription-based.

Wine Sales Are Up

As for WineDirect specifically, the company said its D2C wine sales topped $2 billion last year and are continuing to grow in the first quarter of 2021.

“As the [D2C] channel becomes increasingly important for wineries, we want to support our winery partners even further by providing the best ecommerce tools available not only in the wine industry, but to rival the best across all industries,” Jim Agger, senior vice president of eCommerce at WineDirect, said in a statement.

With BigCommerce handling the digital side of the deal via the creation of attractive online storefronts, fast checkout, powerful analytics and flexible APIs that connect with third-party apps, WineDirect can focus on working with wineries to develop new sales and services.

The new platform is set for a partial roll out in the fall in time for the holiday season, ahead of a full migration beginning early 2022.

WineDirect Rolls Out D2C Platform With BigCommerce Amid Rising Demand For Online Booze …

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