Profile: Kate Gritsch, Manager, E-Commerce Sales, E. & J. Gallo Winery
Kate Gritsch has been into e-commerce for a long time and does almost all of her shopping online. Professionally, she had the opportunity to join E. & J. Gallo’s growing e-commerce team last year. It’s been a great way to blend her interest in e-commerce with her sales and marketing background.
What initiatives are you pursuing to improve the e-commerce shopping experience?
GRITSCH: Wine is a large and often intimidating category to shop for, so our first step was investing in research to better understand consumer behavior and preferences when shopping online. From there, we were able to build the right internal capabilities to work with retailers on suggestions to improve the consumer shopping experience online. With the right digital capabilities in place, online has the potential to be a better shopping experience than in-store. Some examples include: providing multiple ways to shop (varietal, price, wine-style, food pairing, occasion) via navigation and search optimization, category landing pages, brand storytelling and education with robust product content, cross-merchandising, peer ratings and reviews, and personalized recommendations.
How are you thinking about opportunities for collaboration between retailers and CPG companies?
GRITSCH: The E. & J. Gallo Winery is a category adviser to many of our retailers for in-store shopping, and we strive to provide that same level of category management advice for online shopping. The foundation for our work is collaboration to better understand our retail customer’s goals and priorities, so we can provide effective sales recommendations to improve the growth of our category. Leveraging shopper insights, we’ve collaborated to improve the online shopping experience & suggest omnichannel shopper solutions.
What challenges or disruptors remain for e-commerce?
GRITSCH: The alcohol beverage category is still very underdeveloped online, which remains a great opportunity for this high margin and high growth category as the business shifts online. One of the largest challenges for alcohol beverages online is awareness. Nearly half of alcohol beverage shoppers aren’t sure if they can legally buy alcohol beverages online where they live. Where online sales are legal, retailers can overcome this challenge by featuring wine prominently on their homepage and in their department navigation. A few broader challenges for e-commerce in the grocery space include availability of online sales data, lack of consistency in product information specs, and the challenging economics of meeting consumer expectations for fast, seamless fulfillment.
Where do you see e-commerce headed in the next few years?
GRITSCH: It’s encouraging to see retailers place more focus and resources against growing the wine category online. Retailers and marketplaces are starting to react to the consumer demand and basket-building ability of wine. As the landscape and technical capabilities evolve over the next few years, I hope to see wine sales grow as consumers are more aware and able to purchase wine online from their local retailers.
Why are you personally passionate about e-commerce?
GRITSCH: I am passionate about e-commerce because online shopping has become a necessary convenience in my life. In my professional career, I’ve enjoyed collaborating and problem solving to better meet the evolving needs of consumers. I am grateful to work for a company that has invested in this small but rapidly growing part of the business.