As a co-founder of Liv-ex, Justin has been with the business for over 20 years, much of which has been spent on the phone with members helping them to identify trading opportunities, and to get maximum value from their Liv-ex membership. We put to him some questions on the matter of time, posed by members of the wine trade…

 

Q: I am busy, and not sure if I have time to join Liv-ex – or adopt new ways of working. How much time will I need and will it be worth it?

My experience with hundreds of wine businesses is that such fears are usually unfounded. The majority who initially fear Liv-ex will be a time-stealer discover it’s actually a time-saver. Prior to establishing Liv-ex in 2000, James Miles and I experienced wine trading that was opaque, inefficient and laced with risk. So, improving the efficiency of the trade has been in our vision from the very start. We’ve built a true one-stop shop for wine businesses, providing the trusted pricing data they need, the breadth of trading opportunities they seek, and the efficient delivery/payment solution they prefer. Whether they are a one-man enterprise or part of a larger business, fully onboarded members frequently tell us how they are claiming back time in their days. One such member said her job had ‘changed overnight’, and that a task that ‘used to take 3 hours now takes 30 minutes’

We appoint each member an Account Manager whose job it is to help them make the most of the platform and realize value as soon as possible. The training they provide covers a lot in no more than 2 hours. They remain on call if further training is needed.

 

Q: How can Liv-ex help me find the best opportunities faster? 

Instead of ‘hunting’ around different websites, and counting the number of offers you regard reliable, Liv-ex gives members the ability to see all current market action in one place. The wines listed are a firm offer to sell at that price. Similarly, all bids are firm commitments to buy. Prices are live and trades can be done instantaneously.

Each wine has its own, individual wine page’ on Liv-ex, where members find live bids and offers, best list prices, last traded prices, historic trading activity for the wine, its critic scores, auction prices and list prices from other merchants against which to benchmark their own. The page brings together everything a trader needs to make a trading decision. 

The Your List feature allows members to benchmark their stock list against the market, and easily upload offers in bulk. It notifies them when there is activity around their wines, so they can act swiftly and take advantage of the best live opportunities – or when they have been under-offered and lets them adjust their position quickly in a few clicks.

Beyond the trading platform, our brokers help members source the opportunities for the wines of interest to them, while our Daily Market Updates and Monthly Reports analyse and summarise market activity- and trends.

 

Q: How can Liv-ex help me price my wine – more quickly and more accurately?

Liv-ex is the industry standard of fine wine data, quoted by both Bloomberg and Reuters, who make Liv-ex Indices available on their screens. These indices are so trusted because the data used to calculate them is truly independent. Liv-ex is not a merchant and does not take market positions – we act on behalf of our members, and the data is a reflection of their activity, ensuring our independence.

We offer over 15 different price points. As such, members have all the key price data they need; both to benchmark against the global market, but also against other merchants. This means they feel less compelled to spend time scanning multiple other price sources.

Wine Matcher, one of our online tools, helps merchants clean their list, and price their wine quickly and accurately – in bulk. This allows them to spend less time on spreadsheets and more time on what matters: clients. Wine Matcher enables them to run cellar valuations for their customers in a matter of minutes – 10,000 lines per minute, to be precise.

 

Q: Can Liv-ex make it easier to sell my wine? 

We ask our members to send us their wine lists regularly. This allows us to do much of the heavy lifting on their behalf when it comes to Sales. We alert them if there are firm, live bids for the wines on their list. We show them the price at which other merchants are listing it, alongside the recent market activity for each wine on their list, to inform their own strategy.  

We let members easily upload and offer for sale wines from their list in bulk. Doing so immediately places it in front of 600 reputable trade buyers (and thousands of their clients), without having to make dozens of calls and send hundreds of emails.  

Liv-ex also offers members on a Gold tier package or higher, the ability to connect with the marketplace via our APIs. This lets them trade automatically when the right bid or offer appears on the exchange. 

This allows them to buy or sell 24/7 – 365 days a year – wherever they are.
Many of our members say it is like having an extra sales person, and that they make money while they’re asleep. One merchant was able to reduce staff time by a third, while sales grew significantly.

 

Q: Do I have to chase people for my wine/money

Liv-ex allows wine businesses to trade with multiple merchants worldwide, yet only having to deal directly with one counterparty – Liv-ex. This saves them many valuable man-hours they would otherwise have to spend chasing payments and resolving logistics issues with multiple third-party companies.   

We hear all the time how much of a headache accounts and logistics can be for wine businesses, big and small. Liv-ex vets all trading members and stands behind each trade. We ensure that buyers get their wine, and sellers get their money. Liv-ex takes care of the entire trade from start to finish, with our Finance and Logistics Team handling the payment and delivery part for them, removing these headaches.  

In addition to a broker and account manager, members also get a logistics manager, who is at hand to resolve any settlement issues, should they arise. As such, traders can simply move on to the next deal.

 

Q: Will spending time on Liv-ex means less time spent with my clients?

All we do every day is find ways to make the pricing, buying, and selling of wine more efficient, so that you can spend more time with your clients. 

Wine businesses are built on customer relationships. Members I speak to report strengthening relationships with their customers to whom they’re able to offer more insights, better advice, accurate valuations, and more interesting trading opportunities. Since becoming a member, one merchant has been connected with 330 suppliers and over 350 buyers without having to bother with the logistics, paperwork, settlement, and payments. He is delighting his customers and has attracted many new ones. 

The vast majority of our members stay with Liv-ex for many years, as they enjoy transparent pricing, risk-free fine wine trading and greater efficiency.

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