Towards greater synergy between merchant and customer in a modern retail environment

Here’s a sequel to a post I wrote a few months ago. It’s sometimes very hard for a wine merchant to gauge how interested a potential customer is in wine. There’s always a risk of patronising the customer or boring him senseless. Either way, no wine will be sold. So inspired by the 1-5 sweetness scale used by most supermarkets, I’ve come up with my own system. Simply walk into the shop, greet the shopkeep and then say one of the numbers below. Instantly the sales spiel will be at just the right level for you:

0 – Do you only sell wine? I’m after milk/ tampons/ mobile top-up cards.

1 – Do you sell Blossom Hill?

2 – Some basic chat about grape varieties is fine.

3 – By all means talk about wine regions.

4 – Happy to hear some funny stories about the producers crop being eaten by goats but please don’t talk about schist.

5 – I want to talk about schist, kimmeridgian clay and whether wines made by Guy Assad have aged well.

I’d say that I fall between 4 and 5 on this scale depending on my mood. If my system takes off, I foresee a revolution in the British attitude to wine. Visiting a wine merchant will no longer be a source of potential embarrassment, customers will be less inhibited and spend more. The wine trade will boom like never before. It’ll start as a trickle but mark my words this is going to be big. Who’s with me?

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About Henry

Henry Jeffreys was born in London. He has worked in the wine trade, publishing and is now a freelance journalist. He specialises in drink and his work has appeared in the Spectator, the Guardian, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine. He was a contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013) and his book Empire of Booze: British History through the Bottom of a Glass was published in November 2016.
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6 Responses to Towards greater synergy between merchant and customer in a modern retail environment

  1. PippaC says:

    I’m definitely a 3 – could talk about wine regions all day, because the regions are pretty. But I don’t know much about wine.

  2. worm says:

    I too am a 4/5! Conversely, my local wine merchant has a warehouse full of classic cars, so often I go over there to talk about cars, and leave with some wine just to be polite

  3. Henry says:

    Your merchant sounds wonderful. Who is he?

  4. Ben says:

    I think it’s Guy Accad. I guess that makes me a 5?

  5. Ibukun says:

    This is a great rating system you’ve put together. I’ll also fall under 3 because I have a fascination for wine regions.. they are just so beautiful

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