Digital wine assistant guides customers to the ideal bottle of wine
1. August 2023 | News, Retail Technology, ReTell, Shopping Today

Colruyt Lowest Prices to test a digital ‘wine assistant’ in six branches in the coming weeks. The assistant will take the shape of a large touchscreen with software that allows customers to make informed wine choices. The idea is derived from market research which showed that customers need guidance in the wine aisle. The wine assistant is a seamless addition to the 1-to-1 guidance Colruyt already offers with its in-store wine advisers. Screens will be installed as a test project in the Colruyt stores of Wetteren, Zele, Merelbeke, Liedekerke, Halle and Menen.

A simple selection menu with smart software provides relevant suggestions

Market research in recent years showed that some supermarket customers feel a bit lost in the wine aisle. Besides, wine is one of those products for which customers do not want to risk making the wrong choice. The huge range may make choosing correctly quite difficult, especially for people who have little knowledge of wine. This is precisely why wine advisers have been at hand in the Colruyt Lowest Prices stores for years, to guide customers in choosing the right wine. However, not everyone finds it easy to engage in a chat with the wine adviser, and the wine adviser can obviously only deal with one customer at a time. To maximise customer support even in these situations, Colruyt went in search of a worthy addition to the 1-to-1 guidance of a wine adviser. Together with In The Pocket, an external product developer, Colruyt designed a real ‘wine assistant’.

The wine assistant consists of a digital screen prominently placed in the wine aisle, accompanied by the well-known ‘wine bell’ that customers can use to call up the wine adviser if necessary. Using a touchscreen, customers can navigate through the extensive wine offer using a simple selection menu. The criteria in the questionnaire include: price range, type of dish the wine will be served with, colour of the wine, type of wine (e.g. non-alcoholic) and the region where the wine comes from. The customer can also indicate that they want to give a bottle as a gift, which is then taken into account. Based on what the customer indicates in this questionnaire, a number of wines are highlighted, including the description of where you can find these wines on the shelf. Finally, the application also takes into account current promotions and campaigns such as wine festivals. ​

Making the wine aisle more accessible and inspiring customers

Olivier Tournet, wine consultant at Colruyt and co-responsible for the project, emphasises the synergy between wine adviser and the digital wine assistant: “Our in-store wine advisers have long assisted our customers in making an informed choice. However, we are aware that a wine adviser cannot always be available, and that every customer is different. By testing the wine assistant, we want to offer customers a digital and more autonomous option, which can be interesting not only for wine laymen but also for wine connoisseurs. The assistant will guide our customers through our wine aisle, so to speak, while the wine adviser can play a supporting role if required. The goal is to make shopping simple and efficient, while also being able to inspire our customers.”

The wine assistant is another good example of how physical and digital applications are increasingly going hand in hand at Colruyt. A feat of innovation that also fits in with Colruyt’s plan to make its stores ‘future-proof’. Colruyt is initially starting a small-scale test of the project in six branches: Wetteren, Zele, Merelbeke, Liedekerke, Halle and Menen. The wine assistant will be available in these shops for a period of six months, after which the test will be thoroughly evaluated and a possible further roll-out of the project will be considered.

Source: Colruyt Group

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