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Where's The Value?


#1

'We pride ourselves on the value of our range at all price points; but for this selection, we’ve asked our buyers to go a step further. What are the wines they feel offer the ultimate value for money? ’

Despite the above I feel TWS is conflating value with (low) price. The most expensive wine offered is £17.50, most are under £10 and there are mixed cases of 12 at £99.

I was hoping for some value for money wines from the middle or top of the list. Disappointing and an opportunity missed.


#2

A reasonable point, but some might argue that there is a section in the regular Fine Wine list at under £20 which fills most of that gap?


#3

Don’t think those pretend to offer ‘ultimate value for money’ as the above claims. They are just under £20 bottle TWS has designated ‘fine wine’.


#4

I’m not sure I agree there - the Small Wonders section of the fine wine list defines them as ‘showstopping wines for £20 or less’. I’d argue that by definition these are amongst the best value wines in the range.

The bigger point here is probably about what this list actually represents, which is a marketing offer to highlight a group of wines that the buyers believe delivers value at their relative price points. Up front, the offer has the word ‘value’ writ large, and that’s a word with connotations around lower prices. Tesco didn’t name their budget range ‘value’ for nothing. If a promotion is all about value then by its nature it wouldn’t include pricey premium wines, even if it’s a Bordeaux chateau producing a product comparable to a first growth at £95 a bottle. If you could quantify enjoyment per pound spent, maybe that wine would find its way into a top QPR list, but not one with Value as its key word.

To your point, I think it would be interesting to see an offer that was broader in terms of highlighting wines in the range that the buyers believe deliver a superior experience to their relative price point, and covered a wider price range. To some extent I suppose the Wine Champions offerings do that, although not quite so explicitly. However, it almost certainly makes sense with an offer like this to have the wines all fit within a relatively narrow price range because it makes it easier to digest for your more casual customer. This is just my personal thought on it, but I tend to find offers like this one are really about highlighting some of the less explored corners of the range for members who, unlike lots of us on here, might not naturally try. And if that’s what the offer is looking to achieve, then it’s best to include wines that are affordable to all, where the consumer will be more likely to take a punt.


#5

Lots of people confuse value and price ( don’t even get me started on cost!)

You can have good value at any price - its if the item delivers what YOU expected or beyond. I’ve had wines that have left me “empty” so they offer no value, whatever their price…and I won’t buy them again.

trying to get this over in sales training can sometimes be difficult …esp if you get confusion with price and cost :slight_smile:


#6

Basically, wot Bob says :slight_smile:


#7

To be fair to TWS, I think VFM is a lot easier to define at the lower end of the market. Wine is more of a commodity there, and with larger volumes wines tend to sell at a market price -
so value is easier to recognise.

At the upper end I think perception of quality is a lot more personal, and prices are all over the place. It is also more difficult to consider swapping one wine with another cheaper one. Ultimately, if you are so much of a connoisseur that you insist on buying a specific small-production wine, you are just going to pay what is being asked.

That is not to say it is totally impossible for more expensive wines. You could define VFM as Parker points per pound for example.


#8

True but the offer was sold as ‘our buyers…selecting wines that offer the ultimate value for money’. In other words, a personal choice.

Perhaps the buyers feel that there is no ultimate VFM to be found at higher prices.


#9

I think it’s worth bearing in mind that by even considering buying a bottle above £20, let alone considering it good value, you are in a vanishingly small proportion of the population.

The average cost of a bottle of wine in the UK is as far as I know under £6, the vast vast majority of wine consumed is under a tenner a bottle. Most people I know would consider £10-15 quid on the pricey side, maybe pick up something on offer there as a treat every now and again.

Obviously TWS membership is relatively self selecting in terms of willingness to spend a touch more for a quality product, but I’d be interested to know what the average price of a bottle sold by the society is. I’d be willing to bet even amongst members the concept of say a £30 bottle being good value is a relatively minority viewpoint


#10

If I remember correctly, during a tour of the Stevenage warehouse, we were told that it’s £8 compared with about £6 for the average/supermarket purchase. I might be wrong - but those are the numbers stuck in my memory.

I’m sure @laura can confirm/correct.


#11

Surprised by that, I believe most indie shops do best in the £8-13 range. With that said though The Wine Society do have very good sub £10 selection and I guess you’d expect the same quality to be slightly cheaper.


#12

You could…but wouldn’t be my definition! Each to their own and I see where you are coming from. I stick by my view that the VfM in the upper end is probably best personified by the ‘small wonders’ selection in the Fine Wine list, or the odd bin end offer coming along.

Years ago, when it was a size that made it more nimble, Majestic used to do parcels of wine bought from surplus stock from the Swedish ‘Systembolaget’ monopoly at pretty keen prices, nice claret with labels in Swedish…that would qualify as ‘value’ for me.

Other example might be the recent WS offer of Pinot Noir from around the world, which might not look like good value in isolation, but probably is (I think so anyway) to those of us shuddering at Burgundy pricing.

However, ‘value’ means many things to many people, though it shouldn’t all be about price, it is unavoidably a component.


#13

Our @Ewan is the stats man for stuff like this - shame he’s currently in Rioja! Hopefully he’ll be able to get back to us shortly. :smiley:


#14

Definitely not mine either, and not many other people’s either I suspect. I just tossed out the idea to illustrate the difficulty in defining it.


#15

Shame for who Laura? Not him I suspect!


#16

My definition of VFM is simple, If I buy a wine, like it and am happy with the price I paid then it’s VFM.


#17

Well said Gordon! And everyone will be different…the WS buyers give their own opinions in their selections… we can take them or leave them.


#18

But the WS are promising ‘ultimate VFM’ which suggests that not all wines qualify.


#19

Only one wine is actually described as VFM.


#20

I stand by what I said, if I buy a wine from a value for money list and I don’t like it then it’s not VFM for me. The VFM concept is subjective, one persons VFM is not another persons. The buyers are in the same boat. Their opinion of a VFM or an ultimate VFM wine could and likely will differ from mine, but if I don’t know the wine and hit the order button I am trusting their opinion, and I am happy to do so. You pay your money, you take your chance.

Take two people one is rich the other is richer. They are both rich it’s just that one is richer than the other. Can’t see why this albeit poor analogy cannot apply here. One wine is VFM the other is better [or ultimate] VFM. Both can be true.