There’s an app or two for virtually anything, even wine. The retail market is swarmed with stacks of wine brands, making it hard to pick which one works for a certain occasion or suit someone’s taste. Good thing Hello Vino–a wine app for recommendations on the best wine and food pairings–has released an update to their smartphone app that will help shoppers find the perfect type of wine for different occasions and tastes.
“Our mission is to break down the overwhelming wall of wine,” remarks Jim McNamee, Co-Founder of Hello Vino. “A feature-rich smartphone app is the perfect vehicle to deliver a personal and well-informed wine shopping experience.”
The app helps the user find wines by having them answer a few questions, and then draws out recommendations based on their responses. Hello Vino 2.0, the new release for the iPhone, allows shoppers to snap an image of a wine bottle to research it on the web, as well as assist the shopper with purchases. The photo identifier is looking to replace the barcode scanning feature many of Hello Vino’s competitors have, as most wine makers tend to re-use barcodes on different wines. Taking a photo is also easier than scanning a barcode, and can really expand the functions of Hello Vino’s app, in a manner similar to Google Shopper. Hello Vino 2.0 also offers tasting notes, food pairings, and both professional and consumer ratings, just by taking a picture of the wine label. Shopper can then save wines to their shopping list, as well as submit ratings for purchased wines.
The image recognition capability of Hello Vino is powered by IQ Engines. Hello Vino also collects feedback to enhance the recommendation power of the app. It parleys hundreds of thousands of wine recommendations to shoppers every month, and uses location-based services for its mobile program, covering hundreds of US stores.
This is a self-learning system, so Hello Vino faces several challenges is implementing such a form of artificial intelligence to aid you in the recommendation process. There’s a huge big data angle to what Hello Vino is doing here, building out its identification tool in order to improve search and personalized recommendations.
“I do think image recognition is where it’s gonna be and we admittedly know there’s challenges in the wine industry,” says McNamee. ”If you don’t get a result, we’ll give you recommendations based on the producer, perhaps something from another year. And we’ll also take that in as feedback to improve the system, and put it into the user’s journal for them just in case. I think those challenges will always be there, but we want a way to work around them.”
Hello Vino 2.0 will also offer featured podcast reviews that you can subscribe to for regular updates on the industry, new products and analysis. What Hello Vino is really looking to do is become a marketing platform for producers and experts in the industry, creating value around consumer feedback in a very inherent manner.
The wine recommendation and purchasing industry is a growing one, finding its way into several verticals and trends for direct consumer access. Another company looking to build on consumer activity is Lot18, a membership-only website for wine and epicurean products from coveted retailers at attractive, discounted prices. Missouri Wines and Grape Board and Hydrogen also has an app for the iPhone and iPad. Users can now browse Missouri wineries and locate them either by name, city, or trail, as well as get information about operating hours, contact info and website.
There’s also Berry Bros, Britain’s oldest wine merchant, launching a sommelier app called Constellation, in partnership with luxury mobile phone maker Vertu. According to Simon Staples, Berry’s sales and marketing director, the collaboration is geared towards good customer service.
“We’ve been working with Vertu for almost a year on developing what I believe to be the most intuitive and useful wine app out there,” Staples said.
“Not only can you view all the information on your favourite wines, vintages, producer profiles and wine ratings, but you can seek advice from our wine experts 24-hours a day via the Vertu Concierge,” he added.