Wine club run coming up soon?

When your next wine club run is due you may wish to consider changing your ‘run up marketing’  to take into account the financial effects of COVID19 and how they may have impacted your members.

Most wineries run their wine clubs at 3, 6 or 12 month intervals and send out reminder emails a week or so prior. Others follow up with another reminder 1 or 2 days prior to charging the members credit card. But this year things are far from normal, COVID19 has reduced many people's income and this requires them to look at their finances and in some cases remove the non essential bills.

Many wine club members will not be aware that they have a wine club subscription coming up until you make them aware of it, you may then receive many calls from your members asking to skip or worse cancel their club subscription. This is obviously far from ideal as recurring income from wine clubs is ‘gold’ for wineries as it provides a baseline income that keeps the business ‘cogs’ turning.

So what can you do to retain more of your members and ensure your members take delivery of this club run?

Some wineries are well prepared and they have already implemented retention strategies. Below are several strategies you may wish to consider.

Empathy

It's been a really tough year for wineries across Australia, and your members will know that. They share a strong bond with your business, and asking for their continued support will only build on it further.

  • Review the content of the email newsletter that you send to them, softly, softly does it. Consider asking for their support to help you through a catastrophic year. Draft your message to appeal to your client base requesting support for family/local business’ or to ‘protecting Aussie jobs’. Something along those lines will create empathy and hopefully harness their ongoing support.
  • Keep in mind that the tone of the email should be caring and understanding whilst also focusing on the importance of the points above

Personal Touch

Members feel a personal bond/connection to your business. Build on this relationship with them so they understand how important they are to you.

  • Depending on the size of your wine club and your available resources you may wish to consider a telephone call, instead of the normal email, to build your relationship and thank them in person for their ongoing support.
  • This way you get to manage each member's concerns and deal with them on a more personal level, another great way to keep the experience alive for them too!
  • Offering alternative choices to tailor your offer to their preferences.

Special Offers

Prepare several “special offers” and be flexible. The goal is to keep them a member of your club until Covid-19 has run its course.

  • Offer a ‘sweetener’ for this club run to keep their interest which could be a free bottle of a limited release wine, or maybe even a free gift such as a ticket to the next Event/Lunch you run after Covid is over.
  • If they are still within their 12 month initial subscription period you could offer them a gift or ‘upsell’ in their next pack to stop them cancelling as soon as the commitment period has ended.
  • Provide an incentive or bonus in their next pack, something along the line of… as a special gift to all wine club members we are going to provide 2 FREE gifts in your next wine club shipment, simply continue your membership and you will automatically receive your 2 FREE gifts next time we ship your club order! Keep in mind it's all about the “perceived value”, not actual costs. An invitation to a private winemaker's tasting would be low value to you but for a loyal member it has considerable value - especially as it's a private event.
  • Do you have any back vintage wines, if so could you offer 1 of these as a 1 off incentive to remain in the club for this next shipment.

Objection Handling

Some clients will be doing it tough so be prepared with several options which keep them loyal, rather than losing them completely.

  • Offer to move them to a lower cost point club or reduce the quantity of bottles for this processing run.
  • Offer to spread the payments over 2 months.
  • You could provide additional value by increasing the discount for this shipment, offering free shipping if they don’t currently have this, or offer to send a $Discount coupon for their next purchase.

Outside the Box Thinking

Don’t be confined to same-same thinking. 

  • Offer to include them in a Rewards Program where they receive gifts, or special offers based on their spend and/or term of membership. The longer they stay a member the better the gift.
  • Would you be prepared to offer your club members a discount if they referred a new customer to you? If so what type of ‘carrot’ would you be prepared to offer and remember this would need to be offered to both the current member and their referral.
  • Consider adding a large format bottle to a club run. Members love anything unusual and this will most likely take pride of place at their home becoming a discussion point with friends and family thus increasing your brand awareness

Now is the time for wineries to get their thinking caps on and come up with compelling offers to retain their club members, and even drive additional sales through referrals and upsells. A little thought with a more personal approach will no doubt reward you with retained members, and increased income through the tough times ahead. The long term benefit is developing a channel of satisfied and loyal brand advocates shouting your praise from the rooftops!