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Touch Of Modern Pours Itself Into Wine Sales

Touch of Modern, an e-Commerce retailer focused on selling men’s fashion and lifestyle products, is tackling a new product that many associate with the good life: wine. The brand is constantly on the lookout for new product categories that it hopes will attract its customers’ attention.

The retailer held its first five-day sale of high-end wines on Aug. 25 and it plans to offer the promotions starting every Thursday moving forward. The first sale included a three-bottle Cabernet Sauvignon package from Rutherford Hills. The second sale, which kicked off Sept. 1., is promoting a collection from Yao Ming Family Wines.

“Using the five-day system we have, it’s always best to test new categories,” said Jerry Hum, Co-Founder and CEO of Touch of Modern. “One, it’s the quickest way to do it. Secondly, it’s good because if it’s a model that we’re familiar with, then we can use it as a benchmark to see how well our customers are liking the category, versus just liking a new mechanism that we’re putting out there. Right now, we’re using this so we can start testing different kinds of wine and see what people really take to.”

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The first test exceeded many of the company’s expectations, according to Hum, a 2016 Retail Innovator Award winner. The page included a product description, photos, as well as additional details such as wine type, blend, flavor, style, barrel regime, shipping eligibility, alcohol percentage and compatible foods to drink it with.

“Wine is one of those subjects where not a lot of people have the information necessary to pick a brand that is right for them,” Hum said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That’s very in line with a lot of our products, which require a bit of education and have a discovery element to them.”

Selling wine isn’t as big a leap for Touch of Modern as it might first appear for the men’s lifestyle brand; it complements offerings that already include barware, wine glasses, kitchen items and even novelty foods.

“In the company’s beginnings, we actually tried novelty food but it didn’t work as well for us because food is something that is very difficult to sell visually,” Hum said. “But over the years, we’ve actually been able to sell novelty food very well. We think that wine is a natural extension of that.”

Napa Valley Proximity Translates Into Winery Access

Based in San Francisco, Touch of Modern is located just south of Napa Valley, California’s major wine producing region, so the pairing made sense geographically. In fact, when the retailer’s founders first moved there from New York to start the business, having access to Napa was one of the biggest selling points of the region, according to Hum.

“Traditionally, the wineries here have memberships where you’re going there to sample the different kinds of wine they have,” Hum noted. “They have physical space they get to enjoy. While we can’t give people access to a physical space for a wine club, we can offer different selections on a recurring basis.”

The wines will ship directly to customers from the specific wineries featured each week, and the transactions will be coordinated through Wine Country Connect, a logistics company that connects wineries with online retailers. As the tests continue, the retailer will gauge the success of the wine offerings and then decide whether it wants to add a subscription model or even increase its collection to more than one special per week.

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