November 1, 2001, 12:00 AM

With new accessories, Wine.com is more than just a wine seller

As the holidays approach, Wine.com by eVineyard is beefing up its offerings to spark gift sales. In addition to wine, it has expanded its product line to include wine cellars, custom wine labels and more.

Internet Retailer

Now that it owns the online wine market, the new Wine.com by eVineyard is solidifying its position. As the holidays approach, it is beefing up its web site with co-marketing gift deals, more accessories and customized gift options.

Only months after taking over the ailing Wine.com web site in April and launching a redesigned web site with a new name, Wine.com by eVineyard, Wine.com started boosting SKUs in the accessory department as well as adding gift personalization services.

Wine.com by eVineyard is adding five to 10 products a day to its wine accessory department, say Brett Lauter, vice president of marketing and sales. It ultimately will offer 800 SKUs, up from about 300 now, he says. One addition will be wine cellars, which consumers can buy in 42-, 60-, or 190-bottle sizes. The company hopes the cellars will attract the high-end wine enthusiast, Lauter says. “The old Wine.com site had a greater wine accessory department and their customers were used to that,” he says. “We are now getting closer to what they had and we want to surpass it.”

Jonathan Gaw, research manager at IDC, says it’s important for online retailers to offer a full range of products and accessories.He notes that co-marketing deals with distributors can avoid inventory build up.

The wine seller also plans to launch the sale of personalized wine bottles with hand-painted messages for anniversaries, birthdays or other occasions. “Consumers have not been able to get these because they are hand-painted and are usually ordered in bulk by large corporations,” he says. But Wine.com by eVineyard has struck a deal with Etching Industries of Indianapolis to allow consumers to buy as little as one bottle for just under $50.

Wine.com by eVineyard also is teaming up with gourmet food gift retailer Harry & David to offer gift baskets with wine. Harry & David is owned by Bear Creek Corp., a major investor in Wine.com by eVineyard. The co-marketing program will allow customers to buy baskets from Wine.com or link to the site from harryanddavid.com. The two companies will share revenue from gift baskets. Wine.com by eVineyard will market the new products through its co-marketing agreements with other online partners as well as through e-mail to its base of more than 500,000 customers.

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