Mr Kusch, what is the current situation in your shops?
Just like there’s nothing happening on the streets, there’s very little going on here. Since the contact ban was issued, the number of customers has dropped to 20 per cent. We also had to cancel all our wine tastings.
What are the wine tastings all about?
We usually organise wine tastings up to three times a week, especially on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. We offer 24 seats per evening; one evening usually lasts three hours. Of course, right now we can't do that because of the coronavirus.
The customers receive a total of 6 bottles of wine for a special price, 3 varieties at 2 bottles each. That allows them to open one bottle during the tasting and save the other one for later. The package also includes olive oil, cheese or antipasti that pair well with the wines. The customers only have to provide their own still water and fresh bread. At agreed dates, we then organise an online wine tasting – live, together and coronavirus-compliant.Axel Kusch, Owner of 'Wein Kusch'
How did you react to that?
We thought about how to host a tasting on the internet and somehow make it interactive. Normally we sample 8 different wines. Of course you can't do that now. Nobody orders 8 bottles of wine and opens them at home. Now the customers receive a total of 6 bottles of wine for a special price, 3 varieties at 2 bottles each. That allows them to open one bottle during the tasting and save the other one for later. The package also includes olive oil, cheese or antipasti that pair well with the wines. The customers only have to provide their own still water and fresh bread. At agreed dates, we then organise an online wine tasting – live, together and coronavirus-compliant.
Is it possible to simply transfer a wine tasting to your home? Customers could just as easily open a bottle of wine on their own.
Well, this isn’t just about tasting and discussing the wines. Above all, we also want to offer an entertaining evening. From my experience, the wine drinkers who come to our tastings are extremely sociable and communicative. Our campaign is intended to be a social occasion, not just information. I also consciously ask the participants questions. It’s not the same as sitting face-to-face, but then again, it allows me to sit ‘in the living room’ with my customers. And they have the opportunity to meet completely new people. This exchange among the participants is what makes our evenings so much fun and is now no longer possible due to the coronavirus.
Talking about missed opportunities, will the campaign make up for the lost revenue?
Clearly, the social occasion should be an incentive to purchase the sample package. I offer the online tasting free of charge. I only generate sales through the sample packages. We’re trying to at least partially offset the loss of sales. In that regard, the evenings serve to secure our continued existence. I also believe that we will feel the effects of the coronavirus for a relatively long time to come. I hope that this type of online offer will also provide me with additional opportunities in the future.
In what way?
I believe in the emotionalising factor of the salesperson. Great wine is my passion. My shops allow me to live my dream and express my passion to my customers. I don’t want to be an online shop, but I’m trying to transfer these strengths to the net. It’s all about select wines, wrapped up in a nice conversation and a good evening. If the demand is there, I can imagine continuing to offer it in the future.