Assessing the Oddbins Brand

Each week in association with retail and marketing consultancy Pragma, MarketingWeek.co.uk looks at a high-profile UK brand, assessing its performance against a range of criteria and offering suggestions to improve its overall score. Marks for each section are given out of five stars, while the overall rating is given at the end of the review.

Brand ****

Oddbins is one of the few real personalities on the high street. It manages to be quirky, high-brow and passionate about wine all at the same time. Its values permeate everything it does, which is something that is rarely achieved on the high street. Oddbins is a true innovator that is almost single-handedly responsible for opening our eyes to the brave New World of wine in the 1980s and Portuguese wine in the 1970s. Ask the average customer what he/she thinks and you are likely to hear nothing but praise.

Experience ****

The previous store formats were reminiscent of French wine cellars – musty, atmospheric and unique. Whilst more effective and easier to manoeuvre, new formats lack the personality of their predecessors.

The staff are terrific: helpful, passionate and knowledgeable. Half the time you do not need them – shopping at Oddbins is like being in a bookstore, as part of the experience is browsing, reading the staff notes and making a decision.

Product *****

Oddbins manages to take the pain out of buying wine. Rarely do you find a bad bottle on sale. The wines are displayed by country and bottle tags give the customer advice and tips. Recommended wines are given prominence and tastings enable customers to try out new wines.

The beer range is less impressive and would benefit from some interesting/new additions. The spirits range however is consistent with a good selection and a variety of single malts.

The snacks range could however do with some expansion.

Value Positioning ***

The ranges from £4.99 to £6.99 are particularly strong but the products in the lower price bracket are fewer (Oddbins would no doubt argue that many wines at that price do not meet their standards). The Oddbins own label red and white wines are superb value at £3.99.

Recommendations:

1. Examine how and where this brand can be stretched to compensate for supermarkets taking a greater share of the trade.

2. Improve and increase the wines in the £3.99-£4.99 bracket to win back supermarket converts.

3. Greater use of staff knowledge – how about a staff’s selection?

4. Consolidate the bottled beer range and lets have some better snacks!

Overall Rating: Oddbins ****

www.pragmauk.com

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