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