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How liquor stores can break into the digital space

Dec 12th 2012, 08:38

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December 2012
How liquor stores can break into the digital space

A quick Google search of the phrase “buy liquor online South Africa” reveals a number of websites selling alcoholic beverages. While they make an interesting comparison to brick and mortar liquor stores in terms of compliance, they also provide a crisp layer of competition.

Online merchants can sell practically around the clock, whereas a physical liquor store is restricted by its opening hours as well as Sunday trade.

Pre-shopping and price comparison platforms, which are also “open” around the clock, give brick and mortar stores a foot in the door to enter the online space.

As price becomes a mitigating factor in consumers’ purchase decisions, a presence on these platforms becomes essential. “Generally speaking, price is the first variable in pre-shopping considerations, while guarantees and reputation, the second,” says Oliver Bryant of is a South African pre-shopping website, where consumers can compare prices of the latest in-store broadsheet promotions and specials currently available from major retailers, including liquor outlets.

Offering a more personalised marketing channel in the digital space, mobile coupons can be sent directly to a customer’s smart phone containing the latest deals and targeted promotions.

These coupons offer an alternative to a loyalty card programme, which is often expensive to implement, as mentioned by Shoprite Checkers Group CEO, Whitey Basson, on the announcement of the retailers’ EeziCoupons offering last month. The EeziCoupons systen give Shoprite and Checkers customers instant discounts via their smartphones.

As marketing channels develop and expand, the brick and mortar liquor store is given more opportunities to establish a presence online.

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