Berry Bros. & Rudd report record online sales
The 300 year old wine retailer and vintner to the Queen sold over £25 million worth of wine during the year through sales from its retail website bbr.com and via Berrys' Broking Exchange.
The most substantial growth in online sales came from sales on Berrys' Broking Exchange (BBX), a vehicle for customers to sell and buy privately stored wines in Berrys’ UK bonded warehouse. Wines worth £13.2 million were sold on BBX throughout 2011 while bbr.com achieved sales of £12 million.
Simon Berry, chairman of Berry Bros. & Rudd said: "Our retail site continues to perform well and is experiencing strong growth.
"However, the investment we have made in BBX is really paying off - with better-than-expected sales of wines.
"By creating, in effect, an eBay for fine wine, we feel we're potentially changing the way that collectors and investors trade fine wines and our customers have clearly embraced the new service."
He added: "Overall, our online sales figures this year are a clear demonstration that investment in content, fulfilment and distribution has paid off and we're forecasting continued growth particularly from international markets including the Far East."
The company invested heavily in social media throughout the year, with senior staff blogging and using Twitter extensively. These included family member David Berry Green and all five of Berrys’-employed Masters of Wine writing on Berrys’ Wine Blog or on Twitter.
During 2011, the company recorded its biggest social media sale, with a customer ordering £20,000 worth of wine following sales director and Bordeaux buyer Simon Staples’ Twitter-based advice. The use of Twitter, Facebook and Berrys’ Wine Blog is estimated to have contributed to a substantial value of online sales during 2011.
Simon Berry said: "We recognised early that, if we were to take the internet seriously, we had to become in part a media and content business.
"More recently, social media has allowed us to use our expertise to deliver quality advice and information about our wines online - and that has paid off. We nowregularly have people coming into our shops asking for wines they’ve seen recommended by the team on Twitter or on one of our blogs."
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