This year's winner of the Special Award for Innovation went to Morrisons Supermarkets.

Go on – what’s
your favourite hot drink? Do you prefer diet versions or normal soft
drinks? Do you like salt? So run the three questions (each with five
potential answers) that constitute the Taste Test, an online initiative
launched as part of the new Morrisons Cellar in late 2012, which aims to
assess customers’ taste preferences and suggest wines. The idea,
together with free delivery and a moneyback guarantee, is to ‘eliminate
risk in a category with low consumer confidence’. Or, in less
corporate-speak, to give people confidence when choosing wine.

Something
so proactive and consumer-focused (the move was a result of a
2,000-strong survey that highlighted customers’ lack of confidence
regarding wine) is to be celebrated at a time when big wine retailers
seem to rely primarily on discounts, rather than engaging customers.
While identifying taste preferences and listing wines accordingly is not
new in wine retailing, it is heartening to see it implemented in such a
high-profile, commercial business as Morrisons. The Taste Test is part
of a broader revamp of the company’s wine offering. The launch of
Morrisons Cellar in 2012 coincided with a virtual doubling of the wine
range, from 500 to more than 1,000 lines, many of them of laudable
quality and interest (from Godello to Grecanico via Bobal, Israeli
Sauvignon, Canadian ice wine, and Château Palmer 1996 at a cool
£195…). In 2013, the own-label range is doubling to 140 wines in a
relaunch of Morrisons own brand. Fine-wine fixtures have gone into 100
stores. Promotions aren’t just about price but also offer customers
trips to wine-producing regions. The revamped website now has more than
700 suggested food pairings, with full recipes.

Whatever your
preference in hot drinks, sugar or salt, it’s worth checking out
Morrisons’ wine offering, especially online. May it inspire more wine
retailers to be similarly proactive and ambitious in their customer
focus.

PR

Written by Decanter