Its return to profit has been put down to a restored focus on customers.

Now, Tesco is continuing its efforts to increase loyalty with a foray into experiential marketing.

Located in London’s Soho, Tesco’s finest* wine bar is a two-week pop-up designed to give customers a taste of its premium tipples.

A new environment

Taking over an art gallery that would otherwise be closed for the summer, the pop-up wine bar aims to give consumers a more personalised, intimate and immersive experience – one that’s a world away from the supermarket aisles.

Despite previous attempts to branch out, such as its failed line of coffee shops, this marks Tesco’s first real foray into experiential marketing. 

The pop-up is free to enter, meaning most of the visitors are likely to be passers-by.

However, this is in line with Tesco’s aim to encourage consumers to ‘try before they buy’.

Unable to sell full bottles for licensing reasons, it is clearly hoping that visitors will head to nearby stores to purchase what they have sampled.

Showcasing quality

The bar has a menu of 70 wines, each priced at around £3 to £4 per glass. Encouraging people to try a more varied selection of wines and explore their own personal taste, experts are on hand to make suggestions and offer advice.

Building on the customer’s awareness of its finest* range, the pop-up is heavily geared around promoting the quality aspect of its own-brand product.

As well as offering samples, bespoke masterclasses are also on offer to give visitors an in-depth look at four specific wines.

A hybrid retail experience

Tesco is not the first brand to launch an alternative wine experience.

Waitrose has previously experimented with in-store grazing offerings, and earlier this year, Aldi launched a very similar wine pop-up in Shoreditch’s Boxpark.

Though it is certainly a good tactic for raising awareness and increasing loyalty, this isn’t just a case of brands jumping on the experiential bandwagon.

It can also be put down to the growing popularity of hybrid retail outlets, particularly in the drinks industry, where customers can enjoy an experience that simultaneously informs and enhances buying behaviour.

As well as wine shops offering in-store dining, this can also work the other way around, with restaurants offering diners the chance to buy additional bottles to take home.

Could it become a permanent venture?

Running from the 2-13 August, there’s only a few days left if you want to get involved.

However, with the pop-up so far receiving positive reviews, there has been talk of whether or not it could become permanent.

With most London bars selling wine upwards of £6 a glass, the cheaper price point would certainly be an incentive for many locals.

Likewise, the informal nature of the setting (where a lack of knowledge about wine is expected) might entice people who would be put off going to a formal tasting.

Regardless of whether or not the finest* bar continues, it certainly backs up Tesco's promise to give the customer a better experience in future.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 10 August, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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