Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

E-commerce highlights the importance of transport

Written by Francis Mateo, BARCELONA on Monday, February 20th 2012 à 09:26 | Read 1978 times



Just a month after the launch of its online shop, Vila Viniteca is already receiving 5% of its orders through the website. Spain's largest distributor of fine wines is leading the way in the development of this distribution channel, which requires very careful management of the logistics chain.

Vila Viniteca has its own fleet of fifteen vehicles for deliveries in Catalonia (photo DR)
Vila Viniteca has its own fleet of fifteen vehicles for deliveries in Catalonia (photo DR)

SPAIN Vila Viniteca is the largest distributor of fine wines in Spain. The company's catalogue lists 7,500 wines, including the famous Pingus, one of Spain's most highly regarded wines, and also wines from well-established French properties such as Bott-Geyl, Trapet and Marcoux. Vila Viniteca also offers 55 champagnes in a range that caters primarily for a well-informed clientele of about 15,000 private customers and 5,000 trade customers, made up essentially of hotels and restaurants, that deal directly with the shop in the centre of Barcelona, or pass their orders by Internet.

The Spanish wine merchant has recently launched its own online shop ( "Just a month after inaugurating this commercial portal, we already receive 5% of our orders via the online channel", explains Vila Viniteca's director, Quim Vila, "And we hope to significantly increase online sales; I think that, in the medium term, 10% of our turnover will be through e-commerce".

Such growth is even more significant given that the average spend on the site is currently 250€. "It has to be said that this tool corresponds perfectly to the requirements of our customers, who like to have as much information as possible about the wines, the properties, their history and their characteristics", adds Quim Vila.

Optimal transport

Logistics are the key to the Barcelona merchant's strategy (photo: DR)
Logistics are the key to the Barcelona merchant's strategy (photo: DR)

For Vila Viniteca, the marketing of the catalogue through the Internet site also represents an efficient way of dealing with its international clientele since, outside of Spain, the company exports to about twenty countries, including France, the United States, Japan and even the Maldives.

"Obviously, the growth of Internet sales is dependent on efficient transport, but we can apply the same logistics model that we use now", emphasizes the Catalan merchant, "In Catalonia we carry out deliveries with about fifteen of our own trucks; for distribution elsewhere in Spain and in the rest of the world, we work with carriers who can provide an optimal level of service".

This naturally involves additional costs, but Quim Vila maintains that the price of transport does not currently pose a problem. First there is the fact that the common currency in Europe has contributed to a standardization of transport prices on the continent; but, more significantly, Vila Viniteca specializes in the distribution of high quality wines, that carry high added value. While the cost of transport might be difficult to absorb for a 2€ bottle of wine, this is not obviously not the case for an 850€ bottle of wine.

Especially if one takes into account customers’ understandable concerns regarding this type of product: imperfections are not tolerated, even at the level of the packaging. Careful handling is therefore required at every stage of the logistics chain. "The quality of the transport and delivery to the final customer is very important", confirms Quim Vila, "for this reason it is the most selective producers and distributors who will benefit in Spain from the growth of e-commerce in the wine market.

Special issue : Ensuring the logistical safety and security of Mediterranean wines

En français : La logistique des vins méditerranéens

Special issue in partnership with Vinisud  

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Monday, October 29th 2012 - 08:47 "Specific solutions for transporting wine"


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