May 2013
Loyalty Has Its Rewards
Loyalty clubs can take many forms, but
their common thrust is rewarding cus-
tomers who shop regularly over time.
Some require customers to accumulate
“points” based on the value of their
purchases; others are based on number
of bottles. Some loyalty clubs involve
physical cards that get punched; others
enter people and their purchase history
into a database.
Hazel’s loyalty program is based on
a “Z Card,” which patrons can sign up
for without a minimum purchase. Card
holders receive email alerts about spe-
cial events; can instantly qualify for
special in-store discounts; and earn
“frequent flyer miles” on qualifying pur-
chases, which can be redeemed for dis-
counts or merchandise.
At Suburban Wines & Spirits in
Yorktown Heights, NY, the loyalty pa-
rameters are fairly hardcore: to join their
“50’s Club,” shoppers need to purchase
50 different wines. But then the rewards
are hardcore, too: 20% off even single
bottles (excluding weekly specials).
Whatever loyalty conditions a store
sets, the criteria and rewards should be
clearly spelled out, via signage at the
checkout counter and on the store’s web-
site. It doesn’t hurt to play up the loyalty
program via social media as well. Loy-
alty programs are designed to reward the
faithful, but they can also be a means of
attracting new frequent shoppers.
Once and For All
One-time-only deals are making a big
splash, whether they’re one-day blow-
outs at 20-25% off or less spectacular
special offers. Surdyk’s brings in specific
wines, especially direct imports, for their
one-time sales. The wines, says Melissa
Surdyk, are priced effectively, and the
store adds a 20% case discount to that.
“We’ve been real heavy on those over
the past couple of years, and they always
sell out,” she says.
Kick the Tires
In-store tastings, with
and without discounts,
are proven winners.
Pouring from their
own inventory can be
expensive; still, retail-
ers love them. Sur-
dyk says the appeal is
natural: tastings give
consumers a chance to try before they
buy, which is always welcome given all
the labels to choose from. Hazel’s holds
tastings twice a week, the most allowed
by Colorado law. Typically, discounts
on the wines in the tasting run 10%,
but that’s not always necessary, says
Oliver, since “it’s no longer a guess for
the consumer.”
Another sign that in-store tastings
are more vibrant than ever: in New
York City, a dedicated calendar web-
site, The Local Sip, that details what’s
being poured at dozens of shops around
town, encouraging merchants to un-
cork the good stuff and giving savvy
shoppers a chance to strategize their
try-and-buy activity.
Promotions Put in Motion
Banfi Vintners’ Mariani-May alluded to
some of what’s being done, but also ex-
pect to see more high visibility efforts.
Earlier this year, Treasury Wine Estates
offered a money-back guarantee for sev-
eral of its Rosemount wines. The offer
was included on a neck hanger. All the
consumer had to do was buy the wine,
save the receipt, fill out the form on the
other side of the neck hanger, for a re-
fund if they didn’t like the wine.
Revamped Packaging
Does it seem like more producers are
changing their labels and look? “That’s
because they see an opportunity to up-
grade their wine’s value with better
packaging,” says Tincknell. “If it looks
more polished and more elegant, that’s
going to help with the consumer percep-
tion of the wine. And that change in
perception helps throughout the chan-
nel—it makes the job easier for the dis-
tributor, restaurant and retailer.”
Digital price displays at Hazel’s
make adjustments for sale
items as easy as a mouse click.
$10-$12 IS THE SWEET
Melissa Surdyk
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