Total Wine COO Troy Rice On The Future Of RetailOctober 18, 2021
Amid a tumultuous period in the drinks business, it’s been heady days for retailers, who have seen rapid expansions of their businesses since 2019, while simultaneously acting to upgrade their e-commerce capabilities to meet the needs of today’s consumer. Total Wine & More COO Troy Rice tackled those issues and more in his address at the recent 45th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar under the topic, “The Future of Retail.” Rice focused on four key principles: the relentless pursuit of growth, winning at every customer touchpoint, service as the key differentiator, and the power of partnerships.
The success of retail is first and foremost grounded in persistent growth, said Rice, and the constant hunger to grow and improve every day. Total Wine has certainly exemplified that spirit of progress, with its revenues expanding from $2.3 billion in 2016 to a projected $5.3 billion this year. At the forefront of Total Wine’s growth is its brick and mortar footprint By year’s end, Total Wine will have 229 stores across the U.S., and 300 stores are expected to be online by 2025. Leading gains in-store are the spirits and ready-to-drink segments, and in order to capitalize on both trends, Rice said that Total Wine will be doubling its space allocation for these fast-growing categories.
In terms of winning at every customer touchpoint, Rice said that Total Wine ensures its shopping experience stays fresh through components like consumer classes, tastings, and disruptive merchandising sets, and actively engages with its customers via online channels as well. “We look at digital as an opportunity to meet them where they are and deliver content that is engaging and educational, personalized to just what they need at that moment, and, of course, convenient,” he said. To that end, Total Wine has invested heavily in its digital assets, creating an app that’s seen 2.5 million downloads, has customers spending roughly double the amount of the average in-store shopper, and drives 43% of the retailer’s total digital sales.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, Rice noted that Total Wine made personalized customer service a priority. This year alone, the retailer went from having none of its coupons personalized to a goal of having over 90% personalized by end of year. Convenience options like delivery and curbside pickup have also become a key part of business, with Total Wine putting more emphasis on those services.
Lastly, Rice touched on the deeply embedded importance of partnerships with suppliers, wholesalers, and producers, which ultimately enable Total Wine to grow its business. Whether by telling producer stories, leveraging a store’s footprint to build brand awareness, or developing new products, Rice noted that supporting partners is the end-all be-all of sustained growth at the retail tier.—Julia HigginsSubscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.