Following the success of their launch in New Zealand five months ago, Australian online wine retailer Vinomofo launches in Singapore today, which will help set it up for its big US expansion next year.
Singapore’s launch is about launching in a market that really requires a different product mix to what we have here in Australia, according to Andre Eikmeier, Vinomofo’s co-founder and joint chief executive.
“We’ll start in English, but we will then localise the content. We’ll have plenty of leanings from our Singapore launch, and learning how to operate in a different country. As a startup launching in a different country, we’re always aware that we have to assume that we’re pretty dumb and we have to learn hard about all these things.”
To test the international waters and to prepare the online retailer for Singapore, Vinomofo launched in New Zealand earlier this year, to give them a sense of selling in another market.
“New Zealand is similar to Australia on an export perspective, with fewer variables for us, than any other market in the world. So from that, we thought we’d understand the market fit, and we’ll learn how to operate in a market that is not Australia. So that was our first international learning so we thought great, boom, tick.”
Eikmeier says that Singapore, just like New Zealand, is another stepping stone and will prepare the company towards its bigger goal of launching in the US, which will be around April to June in 2017.
“Singapore and New Zealand are our preparations for the US, which is our first big market, that we don’t want to stuff up. We don’t want to go to the US and make silly mistakes that we could have learnt from New Zealand and Singapore.”
“We’ve started the process already, including company registration, license registration, model exploration, and sourcing key strategic partnerships. That’s the stage we’re at with the US at the moment. We want to do it right and we want to do it with a bit of clout.”
Vinomofo’s recent dive into the TV ad space is exactly what will help them achieve this international “clout.”
Following a $25 million investment from Blue Sky Capital earlier this year, the company has developed an aggressive domestic and international business strategy, which includes televised and online video advertising, that aims to secure quick growth over six different markets within the next two years, including Singapore, US, Hong Kong, China, the UK and Europe. Europe.
After the US launch and concurrently, there will be a bit of back-filling into the Asian market, according to Eikmeier, including Hong Kong and China, followed by the UK and Europe.
“We’ve explored these markets and have been in talks with social agencies, and customer experience agencies, trying to get a feel for the product-to-market fit and the brand culture-to-market fit, and we felt like, we’re going to be fairly universal useful in these markets, including China.”
The company says it wants to be comfortable that it’s got its international footing right, including the supply. “We understand how to run a global supply chain and a global brand, and service. And we then have to tackle working with governments that are much more involved with business and regulation.”
Vinomofo is confident in its international expansion, with the view its brand has universal appeal.
Why universal appeal?
Vinomofo says it helps its customer choose the wine, and curation is not only key to this, but also a universal need in relation to wine, which none of the other big players globally are doing, not to its level anyhow.
“The answer is a little different in every country, but essentially, if you strip away the language of wine, from ‘the grumpy old man’, and change the conversation around wine and make people feel more confident about wine, that they too in their sneakers and tee shirts, could be wine lovers.”