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Vivino: Putting Australian wine at the world’s fingertips
The world’s largest online wine marketplace, Vivino, has launched in Australia, bringing a new export channel to the world’s wine lovers for Australian producers. It will make it easier for producers to diversify into and drive sales and marketing in new markets worldwide.
Since opening an Australian office in 2021, Vivino has onboarded 50 Australian wineries and 30 retailers, importers and distributors. Its app has been downloaded 1 million times in Australia and it has 920,000 registered users. Around 275,000 users interact on the app every month.
‘We want Vivino to champion Australian producers of all sizes and be that channel to the world for their wines,’ says James Fildes, Vivino’s General Manager in Australia.
An online marketplace connecting wine lovers and producers
Founded in 2010, Vivino offers more than 15 million wines from 242,500 wineries. The wines are available in 20 markets, including the US, Canada, Brazil, the UK, most European countries, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Its 59 million users can use its app to scan a label – there are 2 billion in Vivino’s database – and view information about the wine before purchase.
Key to Vivino’s success is its personalised recommendations. The app takes a user’s previous purchases, ratings and reviews to recommend new wines, styles and regions to try. Vivino’s crowd-sourced ratings and reviews are one of the platform’s distinguishing features.
‘Vivino was set up to help people learn about and understand wine without the elitism that has often smothered the wine industry,’ says Fildes.
Yarra Valley winery Levantine Hill Estate has 10 premium wines on Vivino. It has used the platform to sell some high-value and highly rate wines in the US. The winery’s Head Winemaker Paul Bridgeman singles out user-generated reviews as a key selling point. ‘I really like that the reviews are by “real” people,’ he says. ‘You can see what customers like about our wines.’
The Australian wine market: engaged and eager to diversify
Australian users have had access to Vivino for 10 years. The company launched its Marketplace service in Australia in June 2019, working with local producers to list their wines and forging partnerships with domestic retailers, distributors and importers. The Australian business was run out of Hong Kong until March 2021, when Fildes joined Vivino to build the operation locally.
‘Our monthly active users jumped to around 150,000 during the pandemic when everyone moved online,’ says Fildes. ‘We wanted to connect with this group of highly engaged, switched-on consumers willing to try and buy a wide range of wines.
‘Trade issues were also spurring Australian wineries to seek new markets. It was a crucial moment for us to become more involved in the Australian business. We have the tools and the means to connect them to a global distribution network and drinkers who regularly buy wine on the app.’
To assist its expansion into Australia, Austrade provided Vivino with information on major Australian wine organisations and connected the company to state and territory agencies.
A new export platform for Australian wineries
Vivino’s market entry couldn’t have come at a better time for Australian wineries seeking to diversify their business. Vivino offers a new channel to market that is backed by insightful data and access to a global network of wine lovers.
‘Our data shows there is growing curiosity and interest in Australian wine globally,’ says Ewan Proctor, Vivino’s Category Manager, Australia. ‘Importers are also keen to get more Australian wines into their market. What they need is a better understanding of the wine styles we make – and that’s where we can help.’
Vivino works with wineries to tell their brand story through its Strategic Brand Partnerships offering. When a Vivino user scans a bottle of their wine, they receive an email with the winery’s story. This helps build brand loyalty, increase engagement and, importantly, drive sales.
‘Vivino is not just a great marketing tool, it is also a powerful sales tool,’ says Fildes. ‘The app and the marketplace make it easy for Australian producers to reach customers, and for these customers to buy their products. We’ve already seen some great sales for Australian producers.’
One of these producers is South Australian winery Eight at the Gate Wines. It has been on Vivino since November 2020 and has six wines listed. To date, the winery has racked up $50,000 in Australian sales, and $10,000 in Hong Kong and Japan. Co-founder Jane Richards says its wines had been rated by users worldwide prior to listing with Vivino.
‘The biggest benefit for us is that these guys know how to market wine,’ she says. ‘I don’t think Australians realise how huge the use of Vivino is on a global scale. We had no idea that when we listed with Vivino in Australia, it would open us up to other international markets.
‘Vivino levels the playing field for producers like us that don’t have a giant marketing budget. They have a database of wine lovers we could only dream of having. Vivino has been nothing short of great to work with. We really feel like they are invested in our mutual success.’
The power of data
Vivino provides personalised data so wineries can track brand awareness, engagement and sales at a global level.
‘These insights help producers be more strategic about market entry,’ says Proctor. ‘It helps them see the markets where their wine styles are rating well. For instance, we can use our database of consumer ratings to find the wines with the taste profile that US palates prefer. We can recommend price points and ensure the right wines reach the right community of drinkers. This increases the chance that they will buy the wine.’
Wine giant Accolade Wines has five brands on Vivino: Hardys, Grant Burge, St Hallett, Petaluma and Mud House. It has been working with Vivino to make sure its content is engaging and friendly when consumers scan its brands. It is now focusing on emerging markets and e-commerce capabilities.
‘We’re most excited about the data we can unlock together,’ says Andrew Walsh, Accolade Wines’ Global Director, Customer and Commercial. ‘We’re only just getting started but the results are very encouraging. The Vivino team is motivated, professional and in an exciting growth phase so a perfect alignment for our business.’
Putting producers in control of pricing
Importantly, Vivino is not in the business of selling wine at low prices, a practice Proctor describes as ‘disrespectful to producers and destructive for the industry.’
‘Many online retailers lead on price or insist on price reduction as the primary tool in selling wine,’ says Fildes. ‘We don’t want to fuel that “race to the bottom”. It’s not sustainable for wineries or retailers. We want to make sure quality and price is sustainable for our partners.’
‘It’s simply not true that you have to discount to sell product – and our data backs this up,’ adds Proctor. ‘What we’ve learned is that consumers look not just at price, but at quality and relevance to their drinking style. People want to drink quality wine and are prepared to pay for it.’
‘Producers and distributors always ask: how do we know you’re not going to screw us on price?’ says Fildes. ‘We advise producers on an appropriate price for the market, but they make the final decision on the price. They will always be in control of the pricing on our platform.’
Taking more Australian wine to the world
Vivino’s Australian office is in the wine city of Adelaide. Fildes is based in South Australia’s Barossa Valley and Proctor in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. Living among winemakers in two of Australia’s most famed wine regions helps them understand their products, stories, struggles and ambitions.
Proctor is also one of 15 people in Wine Australia’s Future Leaders program. Future Leaders is the Australian wine industry’s professional and personal development program. It aims to create individuals with leadership qualities who can take their business and the sector to the next level, contributing to the future success and longevity of the Australian wine community.
‘Our immediate goals are to work more closely with producers to tell their stories in Australia and overseas,’ says Fildes. ‘We’re also working out how to best engage with other markets and level the playing field for Australian producers.’
In future, Vivino intends to pool Australian wines into a central fulfilment facility for export to the markets in which it operates. This hub model is already in use in Europe.
Go further, faster with Austrade
Amazon ramps up local operations, backing Australia’s ambition to be a leading digital economy
International tech company Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expanding its Australian footprint. It is powering digital transformation in Australian startups, companies and the public sector.
In this case study, AWS explains why Australia is fertile ground for new and emerging technologies:
- Cloud uptake is growing rapidly; businesses are looking for more dynamic ways of working.
- COVID-19 has expedited digital transformation.
- The opportunity to tackle a global technology skills shortage through education.
Helping customers transform through technology
In the past 10 years, Amazon has invested A$3 billion in local infrastructure and jobs in Australia. Amazon Australia now has a workforce of more than 4,000 people across all major cities. In the last year alone, 1,000 staff have joined the company.
AWS has a large and dynamic community, with millions of active customers every month. It has more than 100,000 partners from over 150 countries. Since its Australian launch in 2012, AWS has built a portfolio of high-profile, homegrown clients. These include Kmart Group, Telstra, CSIRO, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and breakthrough startups Canva and Atlassian.
‘AWS works with hundreds of thousands of local customers in Australia to accelerate their digital transformation,’ says the company. ‘We work with many Australian organisations as they move forward and go global. Our Australian customers have built and developed some incredible products and services.’
New cloud infrastructure hub for Victoria
AWS has plans to open its second Australian infrastructure region – AWS Asia Pacific (Melbourne) Region – soon.
The new Region consists of 3 Availability Zones, each containing one or more data centres. AWS has 81 Availability Zones within 25 AWS Regions in operation today. There are 24 more Availability Zones and 8 more regions underway.
‘The opening of the Melbourne Region shows the long-term potential for Australia to be a leader in the digital economy,’ says AWS. ‘We are committed to seeing Australia and New Zealand become world-leading innovation hubs.
‘The Melbourne Region will give our customers the ability to build applications with lower latency. These applications will have even greater fault tolerance and resiliency for critical cloud workloads.’
The investment is expected to generate a host of jobs. These include data centre operators, technical engineers, and cloud architects and administrators.
‘We’re passionate about improving the skills of local developers and students,’ says AWS. ‘We are committed to supporting the next generation of IT leaders in Australia.’
Building skills in cloud computing
AWS has released the research study Unlocking APAC's Digital Potential: Changing Digital Skill Needs and Policy Approaches (accessed 15 March 2022), published by strategy and economics consulting firm AlphaBeta. The report found Australia needs an additional 6.5 million newly skilled and reskilled digital workers by 2025. This is 79% more than exists today.
AWS is on the case. Together with Swinburne University of Technology, AWS created Australia’s first cloud degree in 2020. It also has programs to help Australians reskill and build expertise in advanced technologies. These include:
- AWS re/Start: prepares unemployed or under-employed people for careers in cloud computing
- AWS Academy: a free, ready-to-teach cloud computing curriculum for higher education institutions
- AWS Educate: provides training and resources to students and educators to build skills in cloud technology.
- AWS Skill Builder: a digital learning experience available in more than 200 countries and territories, which provides free skills training to millions of people around the world.
COVID-19 spurs high-speed digital transformation
It is estimated that in just a few months in 2020, a decade’s worth of digital transformation occurred. Consumer behaviour and business operations globally changed abruptly (Source: CSIRO, Global Trade and Investment Megatrends, September 2020). In Australia, cloud usage increased from 42% to 55% (Source: ABS, Characteristics of Australian Business, released 4 June 2021).
‘COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation beyond anything anyone could have imagined,’ says AWS. It pushed the company to support its customers differently, stressing the need for flexibility and resilience.
‘We have worked hard with our customers on their digital transformation,’ says the company. ‘Our partner network worked closely with many Australian-owned small businesses and public sector customers. We delivered cloud solutions to help cope with increased demand and remote workforces. Digital transformation is critical to increasing productivity.’
Pandemic pivots: doing things differently
‘Queensland telematics organisation Bigmate pivoted its business,’ says AWS. ‘It created a new system called Thermy. Thermy easily detects if a person has an elevated body temperature – one of several possible symptoms of infection. Bigmate had been working on Thermy’s underlying technology for some time. With the rapid onset of COVID-19, it put additional resources behind Thermy’s development. It had it ready for customers in just 2 weeks.’
AWS helped contactless food ordering app HungryHungry switch to a new online delivery model. When restaurants locked down, HungryHungry enabled them to sell meals directly to diners.
As COVID-19 test rates soared, AWS began working with New South Wales Pathology to deliver test results faster. It reduced waiting time from 7 or 8 days to 24 hours.
AWS also worked with the World Health Organization, supplying it with resources and compute capacity to help track and solve problems.
Government backing a modern digital economy
A strong digital economy is vital to Australia’s economic future. The Australian Government is championing cloud and encouraging its agencies to embrace cloud services. It is investing in incentives and infrastructure. The Digital Economy Strategy targets a range of initiatives, including:
- building digital skills through education and training
- investment in emerging technologies
- encouraging business investment through tax incentives
- enhancing government service delivery.
Australian states are bolstering investment in Australia’s technology and innovation ecosystem. Global Victoria estimates Melbourne has more cloud-specific companies and listed technology companies than any other Australian city. Amazon has committed to growing its footprint there. It is the anchor tenant of a new A$1.5 billion office precinct in Collins Street, Melbourne.
Working with Austrade and Invest Victoria to target prime contacts
AWS reached out to Austrade and Invest Victoria while looking at investment opportunities in Victoria. Austrade provided information on regulatory bodies, identified contacts and arranged introductions.
‘The know-how of officials in Austrade and Invest Victoria enabled us to connect with the right people,’ says AWS. ‘It enabled us to fulfil all the necessary processes to fast-track our investments.’
Powering future operations with renewable energy
Amazon is committed to achieving a zero-carbon output by 2040. It aims to meet all its energy needs with renewable resources by 2030. It is on a path to achieving this by 2025.
Australia is helping the company reach that target. AWS is a major investor in three Australian renewable energy projects:
- Hawkesdale Wind Farm, Victoria
- Gunnedah Solar Farm, NSW
- Suntop Solar Farm, NSW.
‘Combined, these projects will generate 717,000 MWh of renewable energy every year,’ says AWS. ‘This is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of almost 115,000 average Australian homes. We look forward to making continued investments in Australian renewable energy projects.’