Some weeks ago we were invited to review M&S Wine Direct.
Rather than having their marketing representative place the order, we suggested that it would be a far better review if we navigated the website ourselves, placed a direct order as a regular customer and assessed the entire process as well as the wine.
A value was agreed (and payment transferred to us directly) and we were left to our own devices to make our choice and order.
We decided to take the opportunity to buy a smaller number of more expensive bottles, hoping for something better than the bottles we most commonly buy for around a tenner.
We chose a case of 6 Classic Claret wines priced at £130.97, working out to £21.83 per bottle.
Delivery went without a hitch and the bottles arrived in good condition.
Wanting more input on our assessments, we shared the bottles with friends and family. Unfortunately, everyone was in agreement.
Five of the six bottles were deemed "alright" but not as good as expected for the price. Independently, the same refrain was repeated – that the feedback would be more positive were the bottles priced between £10 and £12 but that they simply didn't justify £20+. And one of the six bottles would have been disappointing even at £10.
Based on our experience, we're not sure we'd rush to order wine from M&S Wine Direct again.
We're curious now about whether their less expensive wines are a better deal.
Perhaps, if a specific wine we already knew and liked (not just region but vineyard, style and year) were particularly well priced, we'd consider buying from M&S. But the chances of this seem remote.
And possibly if we needed to send a wine gift via the post, we might order it through M&S. However, if we'd been sent this case as a gift, I'd have guessed the value to be half of what we actually paid for it. When we spend money on a gift, we want our budget to go as far as possible and want to coddle our recipient, not underwhelm them!
Have you ordered wine from M&S Wine Direct?
What did you think? Was the wine you received good value at the price you paid?
Do please let us know, in the comments.
Using The Website
From the home page, select an initial category to view such as Mixed Cases or cases/ bottles of Champagne, Red Wine, White Wine, Rosé Wine, Single Bottle Gifts and so on.
Here, Mixed Cases has been selected. Current special offers are listed first, then the rest of the cases are sorted in order of popularity with customers. A dropdown at the top allows you to sort by price or user rating or to show new products first.
Filters don't work well.
For example, viewing all Mixed Cases (above) shows 3 cases of 12 red bottles. But clicking on the filters at the left to narrow down to red wine and to cases of 12 bottles results in only 2 cases being displayed.
Likewise, viewing all Mixed Cases reveals a case of 6 called Sparkling Celebration. But clicking on the filter for Mixed Sparkling, only two options are listed, and Sparkling Celebration isn't one of them.
This issue is prevalent throughout the site; more care needs to be taken by M&S to correctly categorise and flag all products loaded to the site.
In the mean time, we'd suggest you plough through all the products within each category rather than relying on the filters at all.
Beers are listed within Wine Direct. Perhaps it's just us but if we were looking for beers on the Marks & Spencer website, it wouldn't occur to us to select Wine from the Food & Wine main menu (to bring up Wine Direct) and then search down the left to find beers.
Detailed information and guidance is provided about each product.
Mixed Cases show an image of the collection of bottles together and list them separately in the product details below.
Also provided are individual images of the bottle labels for all bottles in the collection; you can zoom into these sufficiently to read them clearly.
Some products also provide an informational videos such as the Classic Claret case and the Charles Freminet Brut Champagne.
Standard delivery (within 5 days) costs £3.50. We opted to pay £4.95 in order to be able to nominate a specific delivery date.
Delivery is free on orders over £150.
Adding items to our basket was easy.
The check out process necessitated registering an account for the website, but this didn't take too long and the name and address information fed back through to the relevant delivery fields.
We didn't have any problem selecting a delivery date. All upcoming Mondays to Saturdays were available.
From there we simply entered credit card information, confirmed the order, were shown an order confirmation page and sent a confirmation email.
Kavey Eats tried M&S Wine Direct courtesy of M&S.