Insights from Atlanta’s Market Launch
Takeaways from Drizly retail partners in the newly-legal and newly-launched market
Since Georgia legalized beverage alcohol delivery to consumers’ homes in fall 2020, early Drizly data suggests the opening of the delivery market is providing significant gains to retailers across the state. Drizly went live in Atlanta after forming partnerships with some of the city’s best-known beverage alcohol retailers, making delivery in under 60 minutes available to the 4.4 million adults of legal drinking age within the city and surrounding suburbs in December 2020.
“For us, the launch was incredibly smooth,” says Sean Gaulani, who operates Ponce Mini-Mart in midtown Atlanta in tandem with Isaac Gaulani. “I can’t emphasize enough that we’re a small store, so it’s incredible for us to be able to sell online and supplement our sales.”
Located in the heart of Atlanta, Covid-19 severely impacted the traffic surrounding Gaulani’s store, but early sales numbers indicate the Drizly partnership is reversing that trend. “Drizly helps us reach a different clientele, and it’s great for extending our services beyond walk-in customers,” explains Gaulani.
From December 2020 to January 2021, sales in the Atlanta metro area grew 59 percent month-over-month as consumers became aware of the legality of alcohol delivery and Drizly’s coverage in the market.
“From a business standpoint, I’m floored by how much we’re selling through Drizly,” says Richard Marmulstein of The Savvy Cellars in Sandy Springs, Georgia. “The business we’ve gained is much more than I ever imagined.”
With other states and cities like Oklahoma and Las Vegas recently legalizing alcohol delivery as well, and additional markets poised to open in 2021, explore early consumer trends and operational insights from the newly-launched Atlanta market.
Market-Specific Insights from Atlanta
Relative to Drizly’s national averages, Atlanta sales trends skewed toward wine and liquor, over beer. Liquor holds 44 percent of order share in Atlanta, compared to 42 percent nationally, while wine, which makes up 40 percent of share nationally, holds 43 percent of order share in the Atlanta market.
“Honestly, I know Champagne and sparkling wines are booming as a category, but I did not expect them to sell like this,” says Gaulani. “La Marca and Veuve are overtaking every other wine by a long shot.” Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne and La Marca Prosecco respectively hold the first and second-place spots for best-selling wine SKUs both nationwide and in the Atlanta Market, and they are joined by Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut Champagne and Veuve Clicquot Rosé Champagne in Atlanta’s top 10 best-selling wine SKUs.
Consumers have also embraced beverage alcohol delivery for gift-giving in Atlanta, with gift orders comprising 18 percent of total Drizly order share in the market versus 11 percent nationally. Many of these orders have come from gift-givers outside the market, an indication of how selling online can help retailers reach new customers.
Drizly’s Atlanta consumers also tend to skew younger than the national average, with buyers in the 21 to 27 and 28 to 34 age groups over-indexing on share.
Analyzing Operations and Inventory
One of the challenges when launching beverage alcohol delivery is ensuring that buyers have the same customer experience, even when they aren’t shopping in-store. “We have a lot of repeat customers, and we know their names,” says Gaulani. “Even though Drizly customers are online, we try to give them the same experience, which sometimes takes a little more work.”
Communication with consumers is crucial to success when selling online and delivering orders. Legal requirements vary by city and state, but Gaulani notes misunderstandings are still common. “There have been some minor challenges with deliveries,” he explains. “Customers aren’t always aware that they need to be present for the delivery, and can’t simply have their purchases left at the door.”
Marmulstein agrees and recommends retailers be certain their inventory is accurate on the Drizly platform to avoid confusion or an unpleasant customer experience. “Some of our cans are 16 ounces and others are 20,” he says. “Sometimes our wine names don’t match up perfectly, and that can be confusing for everyone.”
Retailers may notice a difference between online and in-store ordering trends after launching delivery, so it pays to understand what is selling well through Drizly. Online consumers appreciate the convenience of one-stop shopping, so in markets where it’s legal, like Atlanta, retailers should consider carrying “add-on” items, like orange juice for mimosas or seltzer for vodka-sodas.
“We’re selling a lot of accessory items like juices, seltzers, and mixers,” says Marmulstein. “We’re seeing more single-bottle orders, or cases of beer which is different than what we normally see in-store.”
“We’ve definitely started stocking a wider variety of items, and it’s been worth it,” adds Gaulani.