Majestic Wine, which has sold wine by the case for a quarter of a century, is going head to head with supermarkets. As of Tuesday the retailer will offer wine by the bottle.
The wine specialist will no longer demand customers to buy at least six bottle, and has promised to stop complex deals and simplify pricing.
“We are going to get a lot more visits from people who want to pick up a bottle of something on their way to dinner,” said Chief Executive Rowan Gormley.
Majestic faces competition from grocers who are boosting their wine offering such as Asda, which is bolstering the selection of wines available online with almost 100 new choices, and Aldi, which recently announced it would start selling wine online.
Gormley said Majestic’s move was not enough to contend with the Tescos and Asdas of the industry, but it was a “first step”.
“I think this is one piece of the puzzle,” he said. “The complete puzzle has to be delivering a customer experience which is better than everyone else.”
He added that Majestic’s advantage over supermarkets was the wine expertise of its staff, which it needed to exploit more. “Shopping for wine creates anxiety and we want to turn that into confidence”.
In addition to the policy change, the layout of Majestic’s 211 stores will be refurbished over the next six months. “You will not see huge towers of wine seven boxes high, you will see something more spacious and laid out, easier to run in and out, and to navigate,” said Gormley.
Majestic has already piloted the single-bottle strategy in 11 stores and although sales did not rise immediately, customer and staff feedback has been reportedly positive.
“We are not doing it because we thought it would sell more wine, we are doing it because it is a better experience. In the long run, we hope it will sell more wine,” he said.
Last week, a new report from Waitrose revealed that customers prefer to shop little and often, mostly on their way home in the evenings, with three in 10 preferring to visit a grocer up to four times a week.