- Silent Selling
Last week’s #WISEwednesday post was focused on why creating a craft beverage club is good business – the benefits to the company and the customer are very advantageous.
This week’s post is for those who either don’t already have a club, or are in the early stages of developing a craft beverage club, and need some assistance on where to start.
Likely you already have a database of customers; hopefully, you are continually building on this list. Growing your list of customers and potential customers is your basis for gathering and growing the size of your active club members.
If you aren’t actively growing your list, you should be. At WISE we often talk about ABC – Always Be Collecting – contact information from customers and potential customers: names, addresses, phone numbers, EMAIL addresses, craft beverage preferences. Everywhere you represent the brand and in your social circles – friends, family, industry, trade – is an opportunity to collect contact data. The time to be building your list is NOT the week before you need it.
How? You can collect data by:
- Website – easy form to join e-list (make sure it is visible)
- In the tap room – signup forms (leave lots of room for consumer to write)
- Kiosk in tap room
- POS system at time of sale
- Shipping form
- On referral coupons
- Contests – sign up to win something (a signed cookbook, branded t shirt, etc.)
- Events – get a list of registered attendees (ask consumers to join your e-list, don’t just add them!)
Remember, as you collect your data, try to get it right the first time. Garbage in is garbage out. You can’t use the information if it isn’t correct. Don’t let it sit on a shelf and collect dust. Keep it clean and secure. Your list is your ticket to keeping in touch with your customers – whether for a club, sales, or marketing the brand. It’s one of your most valuable assets.
Types of Club Programs
Turn your list into revenue. With your growing customer base, you’ll need to decide what types of programs you can offer your loyal customers, such as club membership.
There are many structures to clubs and hybrids exist. The best type of club for each craft beverage business depends on many factors, such as amount of craft beverage products allocated to DTC sales, brand distribution methods, and brand objectives. The two most common types of club in the purest sense are Subscription and Release or Allocation. Any combination of these two falls into ‘hybrid’ clubs.
1. Subscription-based clubs (also called annuity clubs) have a member’s credit card on file, which is charged predetermined number of times per year or contract length, functions as an annuity – it’s ongoing until consumer inactivates. This is your “Beer of the Month” club.
Set or variable charge per shipment:
- Must have at least one shipment at the minimum dollar specified (implied legal contract)
- Usually based on a discount (ie, Shipment price reflects a 15% discount from current retail price)
- Set or variable number of bottles per shipment
- Usually a predetermined product selection…
2. Release/Allocation clubs allows members to ‘opt in’ or ‘opt out’ through a reservation system. Opt Out means a notice is sent, consumer must reply to decline that specified shipment. Opt In means an offer is sent, consumer must consent to the shipment. The member isn’t automatically charged; members must consent or decline their allocation of craft beverage product.
- If a member does not purchase within the specified time, they may be “dropped” from the list
- New members may be wait listed, or only have access to certain SKUs
Consider being flexible to meet your consumer’s needs. Customization and flexibility is highly encouraged. Consumers expect more and are spending discretionary income more wisely. They are highly engaged and making the choices about how they interact with your brand. A WISE craft beverage club professional should be looking for win-win solutions and ways to ensure consumers receive the craft beverages they want.
Off to Market
If you’ve got a club, you need to let your customers and potential customers know. Always be prepared! We never know when the opportunity will present itself to talk about our craft beverage club. We work in a unique industry, and everyone thinks we have a dream job! So, if you have not already, or if you need a brushing up, work on your elevator pitch (60 seconds to describe your craft beverage club).
The elements of a good pitch are:
- Focused on features and benefits
A feature is what something is. It’s a factual statement about a product or service. A benefit is what something does and answers the question: “What’s in it for the customer?” Features alone don’t usually close the sale. Benefits appeal to the customer’s emotions, which makes the sale. Those who are uncomfortable with sales tend to get stuck in presenting a list of features. When selling the brand, craft beverages, clubs and capturing contact data, use features and benefits approach as a more effective sales tool.
Of course, building a craft beverage club isn’t as easy as growing your customer list, telling your customers about your club, and then having them all join, but it’s a good start.
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