Important developments in communications technology and its commercial applications, as well as radical change in consumer expectations concerning their access to products, has given rise to new kinds of marketers within the wine industry: they are know as “Third Party Marketers”, “Marketing Agents” or “Marketplaces. These unlicensed entities have come to play a key role in educating wine consumers as well as introducing those same consumers to new products.
Yet few states have developed regulatory protocols for how retailers and producers and wholesalers may work and collaborate with these unlicensed marketers, leading to uncertainty in the marketplace, fear among licensed entities that they may violate the terms of their license by working with these marketers and to lost opportunities for both the licensee and the consumer.
The National Association of Wine Retailers supports a regulatory framework that will give Third Party Marketers and licensees the widest possible latitude in working together to market wine to consumers of a legal age. NAWR supports well articulated regulatory guidelines that provide an easily navigable framework that allows unlicensed third party marketers to introduce their consumers, follower and clients to new products, and take a fee for their services, without putting the producer, retailer or wholesaler in jeopardy of violating the terms of their license.
Any set of guidelines or regulations governing the collaboration of licensees and Third Party Marketers should certainly include the requirement that the licensee control all aspects of any sale as well as the handling of funds and the delivery of the goods associated with the sale.
It is incumbent upon regulatory bodies at the state level to articulate these guidelines and to do in as rapid a fashion as possible in the interest of consumers and a well-regulated commercial climate.