Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is improving how it interacts with customers and suppliers through “Proof,” its new B2B ecommerce platform.

One of the nation’s largest distributors of wine and spirits has a message about B2B ecommerce for its customer base of 282,000 distributors and retailers: “Bottoms up.”

Our suppliers have been able to reach customers in a whole new way.
John Wittig, chief commercial officer
Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits
JohnWittig-SouthernGlazer's

John Wittig, chief commercial officer, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits

For nearly two years, Miami-based Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits LLC has been developing a holistic ecommerce platform it calls Proof. Now the distributor, which does business in 44 states, has rolled out an array of new ecommerce features designed to let beverage retailers and distributors more easily and efficiently place and manage orders online, says chief commercial officer John Wittig. “We wanted to digitize the space,” he says.

The latest updates to Proof let Southern’s clients search for products by broader criteria, including brand, grape variety, price, type of container, value-added packaging and other specifications, such as whether Southern classifies a product as organic or kosher. The new features further give registered users the ability to view up to two years of past purchases and see open orders, invoices, credits and delivery schedules.

Better collaboration with customers

Giving retailers and distributors access to more product data such as third-party product ratings and reviews and beverage sweetness scales also was important, Wittig says. “Our suppliers have been able to reach customers in a whole new way,” he says. “Our customers and sales teams are collaborating better than ever.”

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The Proof platform, which is built on an SAP Hybris ecommerce platform, now known as SAP Commerce Cloud, connects to a Salesforce customer relationship management system, among other back-end software systems and databases. Southern first rolled it out to retailers and distributors about two years ago, the company says. “We started with the customers—they told us they had a need for this,” Wittig says.

Southern Glazer’s Proof platform currently has about 80,000 users, a number the company expects to build out to at least 100,000 over the next several months. “We chose to make an investment in ecommerce and apply the resources,” Wittig says.

Expanding to dozens of states

Proof is now available to retailers and distributors in 27 states, the company says.

A range of metrics also shows that Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits platform is being widely used by customers, the company says.

  • Currently there are between 12,000 and 18,000 available items as total product inventory, but the total varies by state.
  • So far this year the Proof digital commerce platform has generated $550 million in total sales and 3,000 to 5,000 daily transactions. The average weekly digital sales volume is $27 million.
  • Ecommerce is growing at a compound annual rate of 21%. “Our customers are extremely focused in this area and is a service we need to provide to ensure they are successful,” Wittig says.

Proof’s advanced analytics and other database tools will help the distributor’s sales force spend less time on outdated manual and paper administrative tasks, and give reps more time to concentrate on customer wants and needs, Wittig says.

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“These new tools and teams leverage advanced analytics and insights in order to respond faster and deliver better results for customers and suppliers,” Wittig says.

In the near future planned updates include:

  • Flash sales for customers;
  • Automated sales capability tools to enable a more consultative selling approach driven by data for Southern Glazer’s sales reps;
  • Punchout and e-procurement for large national account customers.

“As our business moves to being more digital in nature, leveraging technology it is a win for the supplier, SGWS, and our customers,” he says.

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