Buyer Xenia Irwin MW told OLN: “Since the launch of Waitrose Cellar in May we have seen an increase in sales of more than 24% year on year, with an increase in both the number of orders and average order value, suggesting that our customers are finding the site easy to use and engaging.
“We are seeing a mix of regular customers coming to the new site, as well as some new customers.
“The rich content available, including expert tasting videos, is working well to inform customers, and there are great offers and an exclusive range of wines.”
The site has done particularly well with wines from New Zealand, especially Sauvignon Blanc, and Italy – particularly Pinot Grigio and Prosecco.
France is its biggest-selling country overall, and Champagne and sparkling wine are notably selling well.
Irwin said the website gave Waitrose a chance to sell small parcels and a more esoteric range than in shops.
She said: “We are developing a range of interesting and eclectic wines that will only be available on Waitrose Cellar, as we have the opportunity to tell the story behind the wine with our video content. We are also bringing in small parcels of exclusive wines, some of which have been bottled just for Waitrose, which the buying team have found and believe are too good an opportunity to miss. We will be able to tell the story of these parcels and bring the wines and their producers to life.”
The site has just launched a vegetarian version of its seasonal “foodie cases”, offering six vegetarian wines and a booklet of recipes created by Waitrose Cookery School head chef Gordon McDermott to match the wines.
Irwin said: “We have been offering ‘foodie cases’ since the launch of Waitrose Cellar. So far these have all been seasonal, but we wanted to offer something that would appeal to vegetarians.
“We have used vegetarian wines and Gordon has created recipes that will appeal to a broad range of people.
“We hope it will resonate with adventurous cooks and wine drinkers as well as vegetarians and we hope to update it with new wines and recipes in a few months’ time.”