Written by

Jill Barth


June 4, 2020

We woke up one day and the wine world was different. We’re not in 2019 anymore… so become the winery with the best benefits in a virtual, new world.

It’s not always easy to accept it: but things have changed.

Some of what we all loved about the wine industry has escaped us, and it may not come back. Most of this is obvious, right?Tasting rooms have been closed and as they reopen, they won’t be the same, at least for now. This is monumental and implies a waterfall of missed moments and revenue.

Meanwhile, people’s lives are upset and their wine club probably isn’t a priority. Those discounts on tastings are equal to nothing. The top-tier invitation to the patio party is gone in the wind. The exclusive VIP access is inaccessible. At least for now, so hold that thought. But what to do in the meantime?

This doesn’t mean that the wine club model doesn’t have benefits. It’s just gotten complacent. In fact, your wine club is actually one of your most powerful tools right now and it’s time to wake it up!

Laurie Milotte
As Outshinery’s founder Laurie suggested in the recent town hall about the New Normal:

“Be agile and be able to flip!”

Your wine club is the oracle. People that signed up have shown you that they trust your brand. Not only did they buy something, they have given you something with lasting value: their contact information. Here’s what that is worth to you right now.

Subscription. Subscription. Subscription. 

It’s time to look at the success of other industries to understand how people buy a product again and again, with loyalty.

The wine club is stepping in the right direction, but it needs to dial it up a few large notches. This is done by converting some of your website language and purchasing options. Instead of a “buy now” button for each wine, get creative with your packages and use a “subscribe and save” button. Subscribing means a better price, but it also comes with benefits, and these benefits = convenience.

Spotlight lifestyle ad

Check out what Macari Vineyards offer their customers. It’s a delight!  “This summer, don’t wait until we sell out! We’ll ship rosé directly to your door.” Customers can choose to have  3, 6, or 12 bottles shipped monthly, for themselves or for a gift. How fun is that?

macariwines subscription
macariwines subscription
far niente hosted at home

Far Niente family of wineries has recently rolled out Hosted at Home, a unique subscription service that sends 2-3 curated bottles each month. Subscribers can then choose from a set of pre-scheduled virtual tasting events with winery educators

segmentation is power

Segmentation is power. 

Segmentation allows you to double down on all the tactics listed above. This means getting the right message to the right person. It’s personalization+.

Let’s say your offer is free curbside pickup. It’s important that curbside isn’t offered to people that live far away, since it’s irrelevant and just adds noise to the reader’s inbox. Don’t give anyone a reason to unsubscribe altogether!

Segmentation is easily applied to email communications. Let’s say you sort your contact list and discover everyone that canceled their wine club during the past two years. Perhaps now is the time to reach out to them with a new offer, explaining how your wine club has changed and what the new benefits are. 

Or sort your list and email all the local residents, letting them know that you have free herbs from your winery garden, and if they swing by for a bunch they get a recipe to pair with your pinot noir. When they show up, they can buy the wine from your roadside stand at a special price. How disappointing for the folks across the country, if they got this message and couldn’t join in.

“Cookie-cutter doesn’t move the needle.”

Laurie Millotte, found of Outshinery

Want to further understand segmentation? Check out our interview with Emetry’s founder Paul Mabray. He’s jamming with Keltie On the Spot, in our Facebook Live series about segmentation, data, and consumer relationships for the wine industry.

you can offer something unexpected

You can offer something unexpected! 

In the past, wine clubs never thought they had to compete with retail shelves, but right now they do. 

Consider making a special spin-off wine that still bears the stamp of trust inherent in your brand, but has a margin you can absorb. This doesn’t have to devalue your brand. Instead, make a creative label, market it in a unique way, and use it as a tool to reach out to current customers and new customers. In other words: price it right and use it to start conversations.

Or go way out there and really make someone’s day. Or week, year, or lifetime as Ed Feuchuk from Tank Garage Winery did. Check it out:

These suggestions all require a shift in thinking to consider what people consider benefits now. When tasting rooms open back up, then throw in the bonuses that bring them out to enjoy wine on your property. But until then, don’t lose them. You can also use this advice to attract new customers as more people turn online to purchase and discover new wines.

If you need visuals for your ecommerce site, or to print and mail to people that buy your wine, browse Outshinery now.

For more resources on how to leverage tools that sell more wine, check out Outshinery’s On the Spot Facebook live events. Join in each Wednesday at 10 am PST (1 pm EST) on Outshinery’s Facebook page.

Connect with customers, use Instagram Stories Stickers

A guide for wineries + free sticker downloads

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