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New Jersey’s Wine Chateau Sees Online Sales Booming

October 20, 2017

With four stores in the Garden State and a booming online presence, New Jersey retailer Wine Chateau continues to embrace new ways to attract customers, both in its home market and by using savvy online strategies to expand its reach across the country. Today, Wine Chateau’s annual revenue equals roughly $36 million, with the online retail component comprising half of total sales.

Wine Chateau CEO and president Saurabh Abrol, who has a computer science degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, joined his father Arun Abrol’s small beverage alcohol retail store in 1999 while still in college. He launched the website, Winechateau.com, in 2004, transforming the local operation into a national wine retail powerhouse. Over the last couple of years, Abrol has revamped the company’s entire back-end system and e-commerce platform, and he redesigned the website as well.

Abrol’s online marketing initiative has a three-tiered approach. First, he aims to acquire new customers by advertising on big-name websites like Google, as well as on shopping comparison engines and blogs. The next step is customer retention—making sure his site is dynamic enough to keep shoppers browsing and entice them to make purchases. Lastly, he focuses on retargeting shoppers after they leave Winechateau.com. These efforts include special Wine Chateau advertisements that offer incentives for people to return to the site, which stocks about 12,000 wine SKUs. “With the new website, we’re able to get new customers more efficiently, as well as keep existing customers on the site for longer,” Abrol says. “We keep evolving with new technologies, and we upgrade our systems every year.”

Along with this, Wine Chateau uses social media platforms for its marketing. People who log on to their social media accounts within a certain radius of Wine Chateau’s New Jersey stores will see the company’s ads. In addition, the business has a mobile website and its own mobile application that people can download to place wine orders. The app is available nationwide, as Wine Chateau can ship wine across the country.

The website and online technologies take up a lot of Abrol’s time, but he hasn’t forgotten his brick-and-mortar stores. Wine Chateau operates four locations in Central and Northern New Jersey, and Abrol says he’s looking to add as many as six additional units in the Garden State and possibly expand to other states as well. The stores average 10,000 square feet and stock roughly 8,000 SKUs. Company-wide, wine makes up 40% of total sales, with spirits and beer splitting the remainder at 30% each.

“The majority of stores in New Jersey are smaller, so we’re able to house a lot more inventory and selection for wines, spirits and beers than our competitors,” Abrol says. “People usually drive from a little further out to get to our stores, and our demographics have become slightly younger. Our average shopper age two or three years ago was about 48, but now the average age is about 42.” —Laura Pelner

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