|Do Ya Feel Lucky … Punk?|
As Dirty Harry said, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know mine. I also know the importance of client acquisition, retention, and state of the art technologies that are available to retail wine operations and current thinking on integrating experience and product in DtC trade. But I’m no expert.
Since Mary Jo makes a fair wage, it’s worth your time to get some free consulting out of her with your questions on the topic. You only have to ask yourself one question before you comment though: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya…. punk?
Trouble in Paradise
- Average club tenure of shorter and shorter duration
- Increasing cancellations year over year
- Slowing customer sign-ups, especially at the higher volume clubs
- Unexpected spikes in credit card declines, with fewer re-instates
- Wine club shipment needs drive the number and kinds of wines made each year
The answer is simple: wine clubs will continue to be of interest to consumers—but their main purpose can’t be viewed in purely mercenary terms. A club is not there “just to increase sales volume” or get rid of extra inventory. They provide a great opportunity to stay connected with your customers, but will only work well if treated thoughtfully–one tool among many needed to build lasting customer relationships.
Sell the wine AND the Experience
Excellent, not just adequate, customer service
The hospitality industry knows that superb service is everything to the customer’s brand perception; especially their first impression. In the wine industry, we need to remember that most of us are really in the hospitality business, even if we are lucky enough to be selling a scarce luxury wine. We must deliver a near flawless customer experience from the very first if we expect the customer to be “sold” for the long run.
Great Wines (OF COURSE!)
Quality is a given. Winemaking in this country and around the world has improved dramatically, at all price points. The consumer’s expectations have risen as well.
A Unique First Visit to the Winery Tasting Room or Website
Be honest, are you offering visitors something more than great wine that stands out from the thousands of other wineries? Are you known for an “edutainment session” or some other offering that truly transcends the everyday?
(Please take note: Concierges at luxury wine country resorts tell me that barrel tastings, blending seminars and vineyard tours are a dime a dozen. Even hot air balloon rides with a wine tasting are offered widely. Please send them unique offerings, well executed, so they can refer their best customers with confidence.)
For examples of wineries stepping out of the mainstream, look at Raymond Vineyards very different tasting room options. In the digital world, simple edutainment examples include Ridge Winery’s aerial vineyard tour and Buena Vista Winery’s historical timeline. Find ways to stand out from the crowd while remaining true to your brand essence.
EDITOR NOTE: There is more to come next Sunday. Hopefully some of these thoughts have whetted your whistle. But why wait till next week when you can have it now? Go ahead. Be a spoiler. Ask away on any question regarding DtC, Tasting Room, CRM and client experience. MJ is working for free on the weekends!