Friday, January 26, 2007

Business idea of the week - Wine by SMS

This week we consider a great new way to sell wine without owning your own bottle store, winery or wine farm.

After encountering a great wine in a restaurant or at a friend's house, instead of vowing to remember the name and vintage, Dutch consumers can now dash off an sms to The online wine seller will then get back to them with a price and delivery details.

In the US, WineZap offers a similar service. If someone emails or texts them the vintage and wine name, WineZap will email or text them the current low, high and average prices for that wine. If a user adds their postcode, WineZap includes a list of the nearest retailers that stock the wine, as well as their prices.

Both companies are currently offering the service at no charge. Another example of catering to people's insatiable desire for relevant information, when and where they want it. Wine-by-text is a great little add-on both for merchants like BuyYourWine, and for intermediaries like WineZap, and it could of course be expanded with such obvious options as letting customers send in camera phone pictures of wine labels or barcodes.

Upside: Low cost to start, quick uptake as most of us use mobile phones and text messaging now and with such a great variety of wine already available in South Africa, sourcing the product should not be a problem.

Downside: Its difficult to see the downside on this one but marketing and advertising cost could be fairly high if you want people to remember your service while enjoying a good bottle of wine.

Verdict: Easy to start, unique in South Africa, get there first and you have a winner.

Please contact me should you need any support with setting this up.


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