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Beyond Your Wine Club: Your Other VIP Customers

November 4, 2019

If we asked you right now who your most important customers are, what would your answer be?

For most wineries, the instinct is to answer your wine club members. After all, they are the ones that have signed up to receive your wine on an ongoing basis and will often be some of your most engaged customers. But the reality is that not all your important customers will want to join your wine club and may choose to support you in different ways. 

Below we’ve outlined the 5 groups of customers we think should be considered VIPS in their own way. We’ve also included a few tips on how you can make them feel special!

Wine Club Members

When wineries consider their most important customers, this is often the first group of people them. It makes sense of course. Wine club members are the people who have committed to purchasing a certain amount of wine in a year, helping you better plan your cash flow and stock management.

How you can treat them like a VIP: Wineries are generally doing a good job of this, but there is room for improvement. With a range of benefits like discounts and free shipping common now, it’s worth spending a little time to consider some more unique inclusions for your club members. What about running an exclusive tasting event or allowing them to enter a competition to spend an afternoon in the vineyards with your winemaker? These may make your club seem more appealing and help you grow your membership.

Frequent Purchasers

These people might not be members of your wine club, but if you capture their long term loyalty, there is a lifetime value that rivals your club members. Within this category, you will have people who make relatively large orders with less frequency as well as people who make smaller orders with more frequency. Both are as valuable to you so make sure you take the time to identify them. 

How you can treat them like a VIP: Acknowledge their purchases! This is a group that is highly likely to fall through the cracks, simply because it’s a lot harder to track. You could consider sending a note along with their order or an email marketing campaign to thank them for their loyalty and offering a free shipping code. If they are purchasing similar wines, you could reach out to let them know about new releases or that stock levels are low.

Just a note here - we don’t necessarily believe that your wine club should be the aim of all customers, but this VIP group may be the most likely to join. Consider sending them an email marketing campaign about the benefits.

Big Purchasers

This group doesn’t need any explanation. This is the type of customer that you don’t hear from very often, but whenever you do it is for a very large purchase either in your cellar door or through your website. Another one that is hard to keep track of, these VIPs are some of the least likely to receive acknowledgement, simply because you don’t hear from them a lot.

How you can treat like them like a VIP: Because you hear from these customers so infrequently, it’s crucial to acknowledge the purchases when they happen. In this case, it’s worth contacting the customer beyond the necessary order information and express your appreciation. Depending on the size of the order, this group might benefit from a gift with purchase such as additional bottle of wine or some connected product to your winery.

Brand Ambassadors

These people are the ones who are out there talking about your wine, introducing your friends to it and influencing their social circle to become your customers. Unfortunately, this group is the most likely to be unknown as they can be virtually impossible to keep track of. The use of a CRM here is invaluable as it can help you to track frequent visitors, while paying attention to the people who are active on your social media may reveal a few names. You should also talk to your staff as they may have a better idea of which customers are always visiting you with new friends. 

How you can treat like them like a VIP: Acknowledging them is absolutely vital. In many ways, this group is even more valuable than your wine club members because you know they are out there introducing your wine to new people. If they visit you in your cellar door or at events, take the time to build a relationship with them and even offer them some special tastings. If your engagement is predominantly on social media, try your best to comment and like their posts. 

Frequent Visitors

The good news about this group is that it’s easy to identify them! These are the people who feel a connection to your location and who take the time to visit you more often. It is also likely that people in the group will also fall into the Brand Ambassador camp as they will often come in with different friends. Keep in mind it also be people who visit less frequently but consistently. For example, a couple who always visits for their anniversary or birthdays would still fall into this group.

How you can treat like them like a VIP: A lot of this will be done to your cellar door staff having the information they need to recognise the customer. Using a CRM will help here, while simply training your staff to ask questions and engage with your visitors is also valuable. Take the time to build a relationship with them and get to know them better. Small things like remembering their preferences in wine can make them feel special but also don’t underestimate a genuine greeting too!

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