The buzz is all over the on line wine community: amazon.com is going to sell American wines in the US. When asked if they would like to comment on our Internet live radio show today, amazon.com answered: “we don’t comment on rumors.”
Rumors? Maybe but, true or not, this kind of news brings a few questions in mind. Amazon is a brand by itself and even more significantly, an international brand. Even in a non Internet country such as France, when I mention my recently published book, most people would ask: “Is it available on amazon?” Yes, of course. Being on amazon for an author is a sign of professionalism and recognition. It means you have a “real” publisher and a “real” distributor behind you. The author and the book are legitimate. And it is the same for toys, electronics or any other products sold by and on amazon: it is some kind of what we could call “double branding” – your own brand made legitimate by the amazon brand.
Could it be true for wines and wineries? There are so many wineries that can’t get to the distribution system for various reasons: too small a production, not enough recognition, too many SKUs on distributors’ catalog, etc. They don’t have the logistics to have a wine club or sell on line. Amazon could be the answer to their problem: even if those brands are “the long tail” imagined by Chris Anderson, their name will be widely available to people and, next step, their brand will become legitimate.
Now let’s imagine a scenario from a consumer standpoint. I’m looking on amazon for a book on wines and/or wineries. This book will certainly mention wines or wineries. I click to buy the book and here it is: “People who bought that book also bought that wine.” Bingo! Is it unacceptable?
I’m aware that amazon going in the wine business raises many concerns among wine professionals and even the consumers: what about smaller on line wine stores? What about all the peers’ reviews? And many others.
We’ll discuss all this today on our radio show. Feel free to call in and/or comment on this blog to let us know what you think.