Blog: Lucy BritnerWhat's on offer in the UK off-trade?

Lucy Britner | 18 June 2015

A red sticker to a shopper is like a red rag to a bull. And as the masses charge at the deals, UK off licences and supermarkets are finding new and novel ways to entice the herd.

Some drinks seem to be constantly on offer, which after a while makes people think they aren't worth their original RRP. Then there are cheap drinks that some shoppers think twice about picking up because they've never heard of them.

Ultimately, consumers want to feel like they've got a good deal when it comes to price and quality. And although unknown brands don't spell poor quality, there is a certain reassurance people get from familiar names. Two retailers at opposite ends of the spectrum have taken very different approaches to win when it comes to offers.

If you live in the UK, you will know that champion discounter Aldi, which grew sales by 15.7%, taking its market share to 5.4% in the 12 weeks ending 24 May, has been running ad campaigns based on low prices for unknown brands. The German-headquartered chain was met with a slap in the face from Conviviality Retail's discount off licence Bargain Booze this month. The company's latest campaign comes with the strap lines 'Aldi Schmaldi' and 'For people who like bargains and brands'. Then there's a load of price matches between Aldi's unknown brands and big names such as Carlsberg.

You have to admire the front of Bargain Booze to pursue this line and it'll be interesting to see how it pays off - and if the marketers at Aldi are working on a come-back.

At the other end of the scale - in both position and offer mechanism - Waitrose has given the power of discount options directly to its shoppers. In what it claims is a world first, Waitrose has given its members the chance to pick which groceries they save money on. Pick Your Own Offers allows customers to receive 20% off ten products - from a list of nearly 1,000. This includes 17 beers and ciders but no wines or spirits.

MD Mark Price describes it as "straightforward deals they can trust that are relevant" - a move that is sure to add to long-term brand equity if not to the bottom line.

He told the Guardian: "It could be very, very expensive for us but we think giving power to the customer on 1,000 lines to start with is the right thing to do."

Whether you're looking for a bargain or you want to pick your own, the off-trade will have you seeing red in no time.

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