The alcohol industry continues to digitize. Customers can already buy wine, beer, or spirits from their Smartphones to be delivered to their doors. So why shouldn’t retailers enjoy similar ease-of-access when locating products in wholesale?
SevenFifty is a new digital service that seeks to accomplish just that. Available for on- and off-premise accounts (and distributors), the platform allows its 30,000+ users to more easily view and explore available products from distributors, including tracking down harder-to-find items.
We recently spoke with SevenFifty’s CEO and co-founder, Aaron Sherman, about how his company changes the way modern retailers can do business.
Beverage Dynamics: How are retailers using SevenFifty?
Aaron Sherman: SevenFifty is a platform that enables retailers to streamline their communication with distributors, discover new products, and simplify the ordering process. Using SevenFifty’s web app, retailers can browse distributors’ complete product portfolios online, view pricing and availability (based on geographic location), and see information regarding tasting events organized by distributors in their area.
BD: What’s the advantage in tracking down harder-to-find bottles?
AS: Traditional search methods require the user to know specific names of what they are looking for, but because of our filters (vendor, appellation, country, raw material, vintage, and more), the focus shifts towards discovery of products that are either unknown to the buyer or harder to find. Retailers using SevenFifty are exposed to beverages they may not have been aware of at the start of their search, resulting in a more diversified and unique selection of beverages.
BD: What sort of wines, beers, or spirits are easier to find with this service?
AS: It’s easier to find lesser-known products. For instance, if you wanted to find a Chardonnay-based wine from the 2012-2014 vintages made in the Sonoma Coast, you could apply filters in SevenFifty and see all wines that fit those criteria.
BD: How do the distributors feel about this service?
AS: We’ve seen really great success with distributors. Today, nearly 800 distributors across 30 states are present on the SevenFifty platform, representing about over 60% of the addressable market and $20B in combined annual sales. With SevenFifty, distributors gain exposure to more buyers, CRM tools that enable reps to better inform customers on products and upcoming tasting events, and streamlined order placement. Complete distributor portfolios are made available to buyers, not only simplifying the selection process for current customers but also exposing that distributor’s products to a larger customer base.
BD: What sort of time can this save a retailer?
AS: By cutting out logistical obstacles in their day-to-day operations, SevenFifty saves retailers valuable time. Stocking inventory no longer involves a tedious, pen-and-paper process, since retail owners can use the SevenFifty online database to easily and quickly navigate through available products. SevenFifty gives time back to retailers so they can focus on researching and discovering new and unique products to line their shelves.
BD: Do customers notice the harder-to-find stuff in retail stores?
AS: While we don’t interact directly with customers at retail stores, we often hear from our retail store buyers that their customers are impressed with the unique inventory we help them acquire.
BD: What’s the cost?
AS: Retailers can access the platform for free and need only show a liquor license verification to register. Distributors pay a monthly subscription that is priced according to size of portfolio and number of team members on the platform.
Kyle Swartz is associate editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org