Posted: Mar 01, 2019
Starting as soon as this summer, Pennsylvanians will be able to more easily buy most wine and spirits available in the state-run liquor stores right from the convenience of their phone or computer.
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board officials discussed the ongoing $4 million upgrades to its e-commerce sales system that will make that possible at a Senate budget hearing on Thursday.
The PLCB expanded its warehouse capacity for its “e-commerce fulfillment center” from 4,500 square feet to 30,000 square feet in October, which enabled it to sell more than the niche and specialty items it formerly had available for on-line purchases.
The next phase of the e-commerce improvements that is anticipated will be launched this summer involves redesigning the website and building a platform to make the site mobile friendly.
Additionally, it will make the site easier to navigate and simplify the purchasing process, said PLCB spokeswoman Elizabeth Brassell. The site will evolve and be improved upon once it’s up and running, she added.
Online wine and spirit sales have been an area of growth for the PLCB. Online sales in 2017-18 rose by 21.5 percent over the prior year, to $3 million.
PLCB member Mike Negra said he attended a trade show that projected that in 10 years a quarter of all sales will be made through online purchases. He said that would represent as much as $750 million based on the PLCB’s current sales figures if that comes to fruition.
“Our goals are set. We’re up this year and I think once the new website comes in and our marketing for it, I think you’ll start to see us get in to that $5 million, $10 million, $15 million, $20 million” from e-commerce sales, Negra said. “It’s not like it’s going to happen just like that. But it is a very important part of our ongoing strategic plan.”
Additionally, he told the senators the PLCB is exploring the idea of same-day delivery of items purchased on-line. Brassell said that would be piloted first in the Philadelphia area and limited to a certain geographic area. Orders purchased on-line would be assembled at PLCB stores, not the e-commerce fulfillment center, and a delivery service would deliver them to the buyer’s door.
By Jan Murphy
February 28, 2019
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