Moet Hennessy recently launched a skill on Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices designed to educate shoppers about champagne.

Luxury spirits manufacturer Moët Hennessy is expanding its partnership with alcohol delivery platform Thirstie in hopes of making a bigger splash with high-end drinkers.

Moët Hennessy recently launched a new online spirits ordering website called Clos19 to make its high-end brands such as Veuve Clicquot champagne and Glenmorangie Scotch more easily accessible to shoppers in New York and California.

Clos19.com is built on technology from Thirstie which connects brands’ websites to local retailers which allows those brands to sell directly to the consumer and is an extension of Moët Hennessy’s partnership with the alcohol ordering platform, which began in the summer of 2017 with its Dom Pérignon brand. Moët Hennessy is part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate that is No. 44 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Europe 500.

Jim Clerkin, president and CEO of North America at Moët Hennessy USA, views the expansion of his company’s partnership with Thirstie as a natural progression.

“We’re looking at the world as everybody else is and seeing this rapid shift to online retail,” he says. “We know that if we didn’t get into e-commerce and digital, then we were going to lose out. We see this as a way to increase sales for our distributors and our retailers and help us drive innovation. This is also a wonderful opportunity to deliver our commitment to building desirability for luxury brands with a strong consumer focus.”

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Bottles ordered through Clos19.com do not ship directly from Moët Hennessy’s warehouses, instead they are delivered by liquor retailers that have signed up to work with Thirstie, Clerkin says. Those retailers must agree to meet specifications on packaging standards, such as including a customer’s personalized message with their gift or purchase if the customer chose that option.

Thirstie co-founder and CEO Devaraj Southworth says the alcohol retailers set the prices of the bottles they sell. Indeed, when a shopper visits Clos19.com and clicks on a product page, he then must enter a delivery address to determine if the product is available in his area and, if so, how much it will cost.

Retailers that sign up with Thirstie pay a flat marketing fee based on ordering benchmarks, Southworth says, though he declined to state the fee. If retailers do not handle any orders, they do not pay Thirstie anything.

“Legally we cannot take a percentage of revenue,” Southworth says. “For retailers, it’s a tiered marketing fee depending on the number of tiered marketing transactions that we send their way.”

Clerkin says he’s pleased with the results that Moët Hennessy has seen so far with Clos19 in New York and California, and he plans to expand the partnership with Thirstie in the near future.

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“We’re going to roll out to five of the next-biggest states between the second and third quarter of 2018 once we’ve seen results come through in early January,” he says. “We’re learning all the time and we’re learning how to enhance the offering.”

Thirstie isn’t the only way Moët Hennessy is trying to reach online shoppers these days.

Moët Hennessy recently rolled out a skill for Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa-based voice-activated devices. Called Bottles and Bubbles, the skill is designed to help shoppers learn more about champagne, such as how to store it and how to use it in cocktails.

Clerkin says his team spent about four to five months working on the skill before launching it in December.

“It’s more educational,” he says. “We’re not actually selling on Amazon. Who knows where it will lead, but we decided to kick off with an educational program.”

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Through the first two weeks of the skill being offered, nearly 22,000 shoppers had engaged with the skill, Clerkin says, and he’s pleased with the early results.

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