As we approach the end of 2018, I am writing to thank you for your support over the last year and to update you on our plans for 2019. This includes some changes to the way we propose to charge for membership.
We have recently completed some extensive customer research (thank you if you gave up your time to participate). We learnt that there are a number of things that you value about Liv-ex: our transactional data, the ability to trade in real-time, and the integrity of the platform. These are core values that we constantly seek to uphold.
There were also areas where we could do better. One of the big themes here was simplicity: more streamlined communications, more intuitive products, more integration between trading and storage, and simpler, all-in pricing on the platform. Our interviewees also expressed a need for more training/support material, and trading in different currencies. These are all things that we will work to improve next year.
So what has happened on Liv-ex in 2018?
The total value of bids and offers currently exceeds £50m, a record high, giving you more choice and opportunities to trade than ever before. We have built some new functionality into our new beta trading platform to support this theme, which we call bid list. You can use this to notify a seller of your interest in a wine even where there isn’t a live offer. This feature adds a further £100m of choice and opportunity. Another feature of the beta site is the My Markets page, which offers personalised recommendations based on your trading and search history.
Our website continues to develop, but our members are increasingly making use of web services for analysis, trading and settlement within their own systems. DMA – Direct Market Access – has had the most profound impact. Merchants are offering stock from Liv-ex on their websites in real-time; they are also offering their own stock on Liv-ex automatically. This has enabled them to significantly increase their offering to customers, or dramatically increase the market for their stock. Members connected via DMA have seen exponential sales growth at surprisingly low costs.
This increased activity, along with significant investment in technology, has resulted in a bigger and more accurate database of fine wine prices. We added 12 million lines of price data this year, bringing us to a total of over 70 million. We also completed a major piece of work on our Market Price algorithm which has made prices for 210,000 wines – particularly those that are older and rarer – more accurate. Further work is planned on this for next year.
Settlement – logistics and payments – also received investment in 2018. The length of time between trade and payment has reduced further to around 21 days. This has been supported by more efficient logistics services: we operate out of four international warehouses, collect from most European countries weekly, and deliver frequently to Bordeaux, Beaune and Hong Kong. Next year, as a result of your feedback, we will look to provide greater integration between your trading and storage accounts. We will also review our billing, with a view to introduce direct debit in 2020, and will experiment with trading in US dollars.
While many of these initiatives offer considerable value to our members, all of them require a sizeable investment from us. This year, we are making a handful of changes to our membership packages. This includes some price adjustments, but also a simplification of how we charge for data use. The headline changes are outlined below.
- The price of the Bronze package will increase to £200 (€240) per month
- The price of Silver (£300/ €360), Gold (£500/€600) and Platinum (£1,000/ €1,200) will remain unchanged
- The Black package will become “Price on Application”
- The confusing combination of LWIN footprint and peak searches will be replaced with a simple count of the number of lookups. A lookup is a single use of Liv-ex.com, Wine Matcher or our APIs to source data on one wine and vintage (LWIN11). DMA use is not counted.
- We will no longer charge you for exceeding your package limits, but we may suggest that you migrate to a higher package. This will ensure that you never get a bill from Liv-ex that you weren’t expecting.
Summary of packages:
- Bronze gives you access to trade on Liv-ex, and enough data access to support that.
- If you would like to use Wine Matcher, receive our reports, or view a more extensive amount of data, you will need to be on Silver (or above).
- If you would like to use any of our web services (APIs/ SDKs), you will need to be on Gold (or above).
You can find more information on these changes at www.liv-ex.com/pricing2019. If you have any questions or comments, please do let me or your Account Manager know.
On behalf of all at Liv-ex, may I thank you again for your support in the last year and, if it is not too early, wish you a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.