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How to Make Your Wine Club Program More Successful

Sheri Hebbeln
Jan 26, 2014   |   Sheri Hebbeln Recommended for:   Wine Club
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Wine club memberships are highly lucrative because they help you increase your volume per customer. This works to drive customer acquisition costs down while maintaining higher profit margins.

Retailers across a number of industries have been increasingly using loyalty and membership programs in the past few years. Because  companies need to compete for customers in both their physical locations and online stores, loyalty programs can support this initiative, The New York Times reported. Reward programs may be key to engaging customers for an extended period of time, and they can improve client retention.

This is especially true for wineries. Club members are more likely to visit more often and spend more each time, which makes them your most valuable customers.

However, competition for memberships can be tight because wine lovers have so many options. You may need to consider how the levels of membership are structured and create some unique perks to give yourself an advantage.

How to increase wine club memberships

Contrary to popular belief, wine club members aren't just trying to sniff out the deepest discounts. While special offers are certainly a motivation for joining, what keeps customers in your club in the long run is personalized attention and a sense of community. Don't withhold discounted prices, but bear in mind that price isn't the only factor. Here are some other tips for increasing your wine club membership:

1. Nearly free shipping for higher tier memberships

One way to upsell and get customers to upgrade from a four-bottle subscription to six bottles is by consolidating the costs of shipping for the extras. Wine shipping can be costly depending on where customers live that they would prefer to receive an additional reward for the same expense. This can be even more effective than offering a coupon for 25 percent off on a future order.

2. Special events

Your club members want to feel a sense of community, and exclusive invitations to VIP events or private tastings can definitely contribute to this. While this may be more difficult for members who live in other parts of the country, parties can increase the value customers feel they are getting from your club. You can consider offering private tasting sessions with the winemaker for top-tier members. 

3. Let members design their own orders

Some wine lovers are turned off from club memberships because of the lack of choice in the monthly shipments. WineDirect's wine club software enables you to streamline a custom club offering, allowing members to modify the shipment themselves by logging into your winery website. Another option is manually sending an email to higher-tier members to remind them that they can swap out different wines for their next shipments. However, this approach requires you to maintain a high level of organization, as well as integrate your wine marketing programs with inventory management applications. In the end, your members will enjoy having the freedom of choice. Another simple option you can offer for the middle tiers is a monthly red or white shipment.

Customer loyalty is essential to growing revenue

Loyalty programs and club memberships are helping retailers across the country gain more dedicated customer bases. The possibilities for your wine club are nearly limitless, whether you want to implement any of the options above or offer members first dibs on new batches of wine. Adopting a customer-focused approach can help you expand membership levels and revenue. 

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