As Majestic Wine chief executive Rowan Gormley works on his improvement strategy he has another threat to consider – Aldi.
The German value grocer, like other food retailers, has upped the game with plans to sell wine by the case online from next year.
Aldi has probably been on Gormley’s radar for a while.
The supermarkets generally have established themselves as destinations for quality wines, not just the plonk de blancs that they might once have been associated with.
“Once again Aldi could take advantage of its upstart status in the public’s eyes, even though it’s one of the biggest retailers in the world”
Aldi has already established quite a reputation in wine. It has won various awards and its Exquisite Collection sells at the rate of 1,000 bottles an hour.
So its move online, a proven wine market with viable economics, could be disruptive.
Once again it could take advantage of its upstart status in the public’s eyes – even though of course it’s one of the biggest retailers in the world – to decant itself worthwhile market share.
A change in tone
On top of retail improvements – and the hiring of ex-B&Q director John Colley should help with that – a change in tone of voice from Majestic might help restore its fortunes.
While it has a strong reputation for expertise, does it have the sense of fun that would enable it resonate better with more consumers? Or is it a bit Margo and Jerry meet Toujours Provence?
Naked Wines, the business created by Gormley and acquired by Majestic, can perhaps bring greater joie de vivre more in keeping with wine’s democratised nature and pleasurable associations.
Majestic’s success following a wine tip on Saturday Kitchen over the summer shows the opportunity.
The mention prompted the busiest hour ever on Majestic’s website, generating 1,000 orders almost immediately. A few hours later it had taken reservations for 30,000 bottles.
That’s the sort of resonance and association with enjoyment that can help Majestic win through.
Its brand needs to conjure up fun and fizz and avoid, to use a famous wine metaphor, any whiff of cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush.