WISE Academy Wednesday: Silent Selling – Merchandising & Collateral To Support Sales
- Silent Selling
In this weeks #WISEWednesday we answer the question, Are You Optimizing Your Tool Box?
Competition For Purchase Dollars
A revolution is occurring in each category of craft beverage, all across the nation. The growth of craft beer is at an all time high with reports of sales up 18% already this year and still climbing. Craft soda is also experiencing a revival, as artisan soda’s strike partnerships with larger distributors like Walmart. Wine tourism continues to grow as one of the most popular pursuits of discerning customers.
This growth within the craft beverage industry as a whole, has created stiff competition for purchase dollars. This competition intensifies the pressure of craft beverage brands to provide an outstanding consumer experience. Great Direct-to-Consumer managers, aware of the challenge in retaining loyal customers and sustaining growth, are now beginning to understand that looking good and doing well are inseparable. They have made dramatic shifts in the way their tasting rooms, tap rooms and websites are presented, employing a mix of careful planning, judicious product selection and a thorough understanding of their brand story to attract target customers. Craft beverage businesses with the greatest success are those with a strategy to:
- Attract Customers
- Build the Brand
- Increase Sales
Tool #1: The Presentation Should Reflect The Product
Because competition is so fierce, businesses need to make the most of their resources. Use subconscious triggers to help encourage sales with “Silent Selling” – everything that sells without a word being spoken. Silent Selling is a reflection of your brand which your guests are subconsciously sold on. It’s everything within the tasting room/ tap room/ retail room including design, merchandising, printed collateral materials, signage, and other items that encourage guests to purchase products. It’s more than pretty displays; it’s a subconscious emotional trigger to buy.
One way to make use of silent selling is with virtual merchandising, which will help differentiate your brand.The rule in great visual merchandising is simple: the presentation should reflect the product. Just as there is a broad representation of craft beverages, from high-end boutique to mid-market and value-priced, there is an equal dimension to presentation and product selection on your sales floor. The presentation is a reflection of your brand.
Visual merchandising is a mix of art, inspiration, space planning and thoughtful attention to detail.
Silent selling, product presentation and engaging staff interaction becomes part of the customers’ unconscious decision to buy the product – or walk away.
A prime location, excellent products and a dynamic team are all essential elements of success, but to build an extraordinary customer experience, understanding and employing the principles of good visual merchandising makes a huge difference. As Disney says, “Everything speaks.” Make sure your brand is saying what you want it to.
Tool #2: Sell Without Saying A Word
Another way to make use of silent selling is with items that help your customers not only want to buy, but to continue to buy.
Once again we turn to the WISE Mystery Shopping DTC (Direct To Consumer) metrics to illustrate how everything speaks. As an example, lets look at how the sale of wine clubs can be done without a person speaking a word.
Our mystery shopping benchmarks show that only 20% of local winery tasting room staff is effectively selling wine clubs by planting the benefits of the wine club during the entire tasting experience. Eventually, someone on the team needs to seal the deal by asking for the wine club sign up. But the real work begins earlier. From the moment a guest enters your tasting room, you can be selling wine clubs – without saying a word.
- Have you got signage that designates a special area for wine club or VIP members only?
- Does your price list include regular and club pricing or “club member only” wines?
- Where are your club brochures – are they easily accessible to guests?
If your guests don’t know how special being a club member is, then why would they want to be one? If they can see hints of a ‘cool-kids-club’ where if you are a member you get special treatment, customers will want to know how they can be a part of it. Showing them speaks more loudly than words. Are you using your tools to sell without words?
Tool #3: Rewarding Your Loyal Customers
These are the silent selling tools that can be used to help support wine club sign ups. The same principals can be applied to your beer clubs or other loyalty programs in place for your loyal customers.
Once you engage your guest in a dialogue, you need to weave the benefits of your wine club (or benefits of loyalty, if any) throughout the conversation. Include benefits such as access to limited releases and invitations to events. It’s important to first focus on exclusivity and other benefits, then on saving. Avoid focusing on discounts first to circumvent signing up short-term members or to cheapen your brand image. Be sure to take time during the sales process to foster the kind of long-term relationships you’re looking to build.
It is less common for breweries and distilleries to have loyalty programs like wineries do (its a huge, reliable revenue stream), but the lesson remains; what visual clues are you giving guests to signal to them that you want them to come back? Or that you reward those loyal to your brand?
If you’re a craft brewer you may be saying to yourself, why do I need to focus on loyalty? My beer is always selling out!
The biggest mistake a craft brewer can make, especially those who enjoy being on the winning end of the supply and demand game, is not putting enough emphasis on loyalty.
Consumers who want to try your product, but who are continually shut down because you’re perpetually sold out, eventually get turned off. Don’t get complacent and neglect your future customers! If you’re a brewery on the path to growth, focus on loyalty building campaigns that emphasizes reaching new fans. You can do this subtly and authentically. Perhaps it’s a personal email, a meetup, or a special brew. However you decide to do it, rewarding your loyal customers can be its own reward!
Use the tools in your tool box to help you maximize sales, differentiate your brand and garner loyal customers.
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photo credit: Tax Credits, Oxymoronical, Ann Douglas, blech
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