After one year since the beginning of the pandemic, the time has come to take stock of the situation concerning the impact on different business sectors. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the entire economy with some sectors being more harshly hit than others.
We are talking about those sectors offering a complete experience to consumers around a product or a service. An example can be the wine market, considering that wine is what in economics is defined as an experience good. This means that to assess its quality and the fairness of its price, wine needs to be tasted and only then is it possible to build an idea about the final product. This is especially true for the fine wine market, including Champagne.
In the wake of a "new normal" post-pandemic, one particularly interesting example of business resilience has been Laurent-Perrier, the renowned Champagne House. Not only has Champagne Laurent-Perrier been able to carry on with its business operations but has made tremendous efforts to maintain, and even expand, their usual level of service and relationship with their customers.
After ensuring the safety of its staff, Champagne Laurent-Perrier had to deal with the first challenges on the commercial side. The most important was, and still is, to support and to motivate the different teams in adapting to a new context. It was necessary to constantly challenge themselves and learn to seize new opportunities to minimize the impact of the difficulties during times of crisis. In this sense, crisis management became one of the foremost priorities in the enterprise. The main way of overcoming this challenge linked to motivation was to ensure employees' long-term strategy and reaffirm the importance of everyone's role in the company. Throughout the year, workers were assured of their continued employment and were, therefore, able to focus on developing sales and maintaining customer relationships, even remotely.
During the past year, it has been important to look at the bright side of things and being able to seize new opportunities. At Laurent-Perrier, they have become even more aware of the importance of people for the success of the business. To maintain the usual experience, it was necessary to be more responsive, more flexible, and ready to embrace daily uncertainties and ambiguities. Overall, this has led to stronger relationships and partnerships, with sales representatives on the one side and customers on the other side.
Moreover, they have witnessed a significant change in consumers’ habits. Wine lovers are more inclined to buy premium products, focusing on their quality and uniqueness. Notably, for the world of Champagne, this is a real opportunity, considering that the wine for celebration has become the most celebrated wine as well. Recently, people have started to live with the awareness of how precious every single day is. The months spent closed at home have given them the desire to celebrate every occasion; even a simple dinner at a restaurant, after the period of restrictions, became an occasion worth commemorating. This trend seems to be confirmed by sommeliers who recently reported expenses on wine bottles to be increased.
In the case of Laurent-Perrier, the brand offers an innovative and high-quality range of products, which can be defined as Cuvée Prestige, such as Grand Siècle and Alexandra Rosé 2004. The significant increment in private consumption has allowed Laurent-Perrier to further develop their commercial relationships with wine shops and fine food shops.
Grand Siècle and Alexandra Rosé 2004
Where did the experience go?
Unfortunately, it has not been possible to offer the usual tastings and guided tours to people. Hence, during this period of crisis, consumers have brought the experiential side at home. They have become even more aware of the importance of treating themselves, cooking, and having a good time inside their home with their families. This has now become a habit, which should remain part of the “new normal”.
In addition, digital consumption has enabled Champagne Laurent-Perrier to keep in touch with customers, in particular by organizing online tastings and by proposing a new format that still allows for social contact and that recreates the unique universe of the Champagne world.
Uncertainty is part of the future. However, Laurent-Perrier is positively embracing it. Consumers’ enthusiasm and the level of demand for quality products have increased considerably, which is one of the unexpected positive effects of the pandemic. Consumers, even if they have been able to adopt new habits in their consumption of Champagne at home, are now looking forward to going back to the restaurant, enjoying culinary pleasures, and sharing moments with family and friends. While drinking a glass of Laurent-Perrier Champagne, of course!