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How to Drive Sales with a Custom Wine Club

Adrienne Stillman
Aug 24, 2020   |   Adrienne Stillman Recommended for:   Wine Club
Opening Wine Shipment Opening Wine Shipment

Wine clubs aren't a new idea. However, the hyper-customized approach of offering wines that your members are fighting to get a taste of — that's the new, thriving model in the industry. Custom — or user choice — wine clubs enable your winery to tell a compelling story, meet customer demands and increase revenue.

In our recent webinar, we explored how two wineries — Fidelitas and Gloria Ferrer — have launched and seen significant growth in their vastly successful custom wine club offerings.

Fidelitas and Gloria Ferrer Use Cases

At Fidelitas, club members get first access to exclusive wine selections. Each of three club tiers offers customization options. The wine clubs range from a shipping-only option for out-of-state members, to a hands-on, waitlist-only Magna club. Because all club members get access to limited-edition wines, the selection sells out quite quickly.

Fidelitas uses optional add-ons as an integral part of the club, leveraging an additional sales opportunity with every case shipment. It’s a shift from running your club as a foregone conclusion and turning that concept on its head, resulting in significant revenue gains.

Gloria Ferrer uses a different model for a wine club, offering user choice for the top tier club only. The winery recognized that their audience values choice — and uses the top tier as an upsell opportunity for its existing club members.

At the same time, all club members get:

  • Flat rate shipping including add-ons
  • Complimentary tours, tasting and access to VIP seating at the winery
  • Access to members-only perks to enhance the wine experience

On the management side, Gloria Ferrer handles customization with back-end tools, processing requests from top-tier members efficiently, avoiding tedious spreadsheets and enhancing the customer experience.

How to Launch a Custom Club

Fidelitas and Gloria Ferrer took different approaches to launching their respective custom clubs.

Taking a Gradual Approach to Customization

Fidelitas started with allowing customization to the smallest club first, gradually increasing the offering to the rest of the membership. This allowed the winery to get familiar with WineDirect's user choice tools and plan the launch to a larger audience.

To avoid budget and sales projection conflicts, the winery limits customization options to 4-6 wines at a time, which are usually tightly allocated during their bi-annual tasting events.

To prepare their audience for the change, Fidelitas sent out customized postcards with new release customization options for each club tier. Their messaging involves an ongoing opportunity for customization, which continues to be a major value add for their members.

A legacy group made for a great foundation for a new club rollout. During the launching of its custom clubs, the winery chose not to cancel its lower-tier clubs with the rollout of new options. The winery learned that people will upgrade — or cancel — when they’re ready.

Make Customization a Top Tier Perk

As an additional value for its most profitable top tier, Gloria Ferrer offers customization options to these elite club members. Very large custom clubs can pose challenges for inventory and production planning — and by limiting which members have this option, you can reap the benefits of profit and satisfied customers in one.

This approach allowed Gloria Ferrer to bring more customers into the top tier club. Promotion methods included email campaigns and they continue these campaigns with every new shipment, sending the wines and prices to every club, enabling awareness with top tier perks. The campaign resulted in a 20% increase in sign ups of new club members in the top tier.

Custom Wine Club Tools

To alleviate the administrative pains of launching a custom wine club, WineDirect offers a suite of custom wine club tools. These tools not only provide a superior user experience to your customers, but enhance operational efficiency of the club, making the management side much easier. This spring, we rolled out some exciting new enhancements including:

Improved club member experience

  • A more visual selection process
  • Easily see total number of bottles selected
  • View subtotal plus club member savings upfront

Improved club manager experience

  • Products now link to underlying SKU
  • Easy “sold out” checkbox
  • Assign an automatic discount to the club
  • All warehouse information transfers to the package

A wine club quickly turns into an administrative nightmare as it often involves personalized instructions, individual orders and manual work. Whether you think limited customization may work for your winery — or you want to go all the way with your wine club — there are tools to help.

If you're ready to learn more, get our eBook on wine club fundamentals.

And if you're already a client of WineDirect, check out our step-by-step training video on how to configure your custom club.

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