Wine bottles

The trial went beyond what is currently found in Tesco stores

Tesco has taken a new approach to online booze retailing on the back of the craft beer and spirits boom.

The retailer recently completed a pilot scheme selling a wider range of premium wines and spirits from its digital platform, to gauge demand for drinks less likely to be part of in-store ranges.

It was aimed at breaking with “conventional supermarket thinking” on ranging, spurred on by the “over-proliferation of craft” said Tesco director of online business services Rafael Orta, speaking at the IGD Online & Digital Summit in London this week.

“If you’re a craft consumer, how many SKUs are available on the market? Who knows? It could be tens of thousands. The conventional thinking is to take that range, curate and create something that makes sense… which means there’s going to be a huge amount of products that you will not find at Tesco.”

The online trial had produced “incredibly compelling results” said Orta, with shoppers making “significant purchases of quite expensive products” including the likes of top-end Cristal Champagne.

“We feel very strongly that this is something we will continue to do and refine,” he added, hinting at similar initiatives across other categories.

It comes as Tesco has reversed flagging fortunes in booze over the past 12 months. Last year, take-home value sales at the supermarket were down 0.8% [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 19 June 2016]. However, recent figures obtained by The Grocer reveal Tesco’s alcohol sales are now up 3.4% [Kantar 52 w/e 18 June 2017].