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Roger Wilco capitalizes on mobile moment with wine app

August 13, 2014

WTSO185PHILADELPHIA – Roger Wilco Discount Liquor has taken a logical approach to mobile commerce that leverages the “in the moment” nature of handheld devices.

The Pennsauken, NJ-based wine and spirits retailer turned its limited-time-offer Web site for discounted wines into an application that has seen strong success in driving sales. The company’s Wines ’Til Sold Out mobile app (WTSO) offers one single item per day at an aggressively discounted price.

“What this shows is that mobile is completely different from ecommerce,” said Josh Bernoff, senior vice president of idea development at Forrester. “The reason WTSO can be successful and can be successful is because they are ‘in the moment’.”

Mr. Bernoff described the WTSO app and other mobile efforts Tuesday during a presentation called “The Mobile Mind Shift: Tapping Mobile Moments to Acquire and Retain Customers” at eTail East 2014 in Philadelphia.

Success on mobile
Roger Wilco had created its limited-time offer Web site,, to generate excitement and drive high volumes of sales. It was an idea that translated very well to mobile, Mr. Bernoff said.

The company now generates 70 percent of its sales on mobile, and has sold more than 100,000 bottles of wine in a single day, he said. The app made it easy for customers to check daily deals on their smartphones and make last-minute purchases, which is key for sales of items like wines.


While mobile-optimized Web sites have more reach, Bernoff suggested that mobile apps work best in certain circumstances, such as in the case of WTSO where it already had an established customer base. That gave Roger Wilco a built-in audience to download its app.

“Use apps for more responsiveness and connectivity with customers who you have a relationship with,” said Bernoff. “Mobile site are great for reach, such as if you email someone and you direct them to your website, you want a site that works on mobile.

“If you build an app, in can have much more functionality, such as integration with Passbook.”

Mr. Bernoff cited beauty-products retailer Sephora as an example of a company that integrated its mobile app and Beauty Insider loyalty program with Apple’s Passbook mobile wallet (read story).

Tablets in store
He also told some success stories about retailers deploying mobile tablets to sales personnel to help drive volumes.

Alex and Ani, for example, worked with Mobiquity to come up with an iPad touch for salespeople, which allows them to engage with customers while they shop. It also integreates with the retailer’s POS system.

“It shows that mobile in the hands of salespeople can be just as effective as mobile in the hands of customers,” Mr. Bernoff said.

In another example, high-end air conditioning vendor Trane equipped its field sales representatives with iPads to take with them when they visit consumers’ homes to consult on their air conditioning needs.

Prior to rolling out the iPads, Trane had was closing sales on 35 percent of such calls. After deploying mobile devices to its sales reps, that rate went up to 65 percent, Mr. Bernoff said.

“The lesson here is you can sell big ticket items with mobile,” he said.

He also reminded the audience that mobile should be thought of as an influencer more than an actual e-commerce tool. He cited research from Deloitte estimating that $689 billion of sales will be influenced by mobile in 2016.

“This is far more than actual mobile commerce that will take place,” Mr. Bernoff said. “Mobile is much more about influence than it is about selling.”

Final Take
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York

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