If you’re in the business of selling wine, you probably have -- or are seriously considering -- a wine club. Reaching your customers directly with automatic shipments of wine is a great way to build your business and your profitability. We explored the best ways to build your wine club business including what type of club to offer, how to promote your club, what technologies can help you manage club operations, and how to improve club retention. vinSuite Software has worked with hundreds of wineries nationwide - from mom & pop start ups to large scale operations, and we’ve learned a lot of best practices along the way.
A wine club is one of the best and most profitable business strategies a winery can implement for a number of reasons. It guarantees you a level of income and cash flow that you can count on every time you process a club shipment. By cultivating relationships directly with your end customers, you gain the ability to encourage repeat visits and purchases through your marketing efforts. Club members become your most devoted fans. They tell their friends and families about “their club” and they often invite them to attend winery events. New customers often come through wine club members.
If you are considering creating a wine club, start out by thinking about the personality of your winery and how you want to stand out.Be flexible enough to meet your customers’ needs, but not overly complex. Depending on the types of wine you produce, you can offer a choice of a red club, white club, or mixed bottle club. It is also nice to offer an entry level price point as well as a premium priced option. The easiest way to make your club flexible in price is to offer a choice of 2, 4, 6 or 12 bottles shipped. You’ll also need to balance this with the frequency of your shipments: Quarterly or Semi-Annually are most popular. When choosing which wines to include, avoid the temptation to move excess inventory that isn’t selling well elsewhere! Your wine club members deserve your best wine. Try to maintain a consistent level of quality with some variations, so the shipments remain interesting.
Wineries are facing increased competition from all sorts of wine clubs. Hotels, magazines and credit
So get creative about your club benefits to make your wine club stand out. Some clubs offer a variety of benefits including:
Since 90% of club members are signed up in the tasting room, it makes sense to start here when evaluating how to improve your wine club sales. How can you stand out? It’s easier than you may think. Staff training is critical to your success!
In the tasting room, you have a unique opportunity to meet many customers face to face. Take that chance to get their e-mail address so even if they don’t join the club immediately, you can follow up and continue to promote your wines.
If you don’t have a tasting room, you don’t have to rule out a wine club. You just have to get a bit more creative about how to reach potential customers. Be sure to maximize every opportunity to build a mailing list at every event or tasting you participate in. Use e-mail and social media to promote your wine club. Take extra care to nurture referrals and promote gift memberships to expand your customer base.
Managing the operations of your wine club doesn’t have to be a headache if you have the right tools to help. Wine Club software, like vinSuite is specifically designed to make club management functions easy. The right software will improve your customer service, help with inventory management, assist with managing compliance issues, and increase your success rate for recurring credit card billing. When evaluating wine club software, keep in mind these important criteria:
Once your club is up and running, monitor your success regularly! We recommend that you track four key statistics about your wine club:
The average member lifespan in a wine club is 18-24 months. This means you may experience attrition of 30-60% per year. To beat these odds, you can take steps to improve member retention.
Take a creative look at your wine club and back it with solid operational procedures and the right software to help your business grow! Click to learn more.