Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics Nov-Dec 2013

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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Page 9 of 55

By Brian Rosen Making the Most of Social Networking I have been helping retailers and liquor store owners around the country for many years. The benefit of being the former CEO of Sam's Wines and Liquors and former Managing Director of PricewaterhouseCoopers is that we were on the forefront of many trends. One of our most treasured moments was being the first wine store online. Our second treasured moment was getting heavy into social networking when much of the liquor world was struggling with its relevance. Now the on-line world is as important as the off line world and as wine and spirit professionals we need to pay equal attention to the on-line world. If we do not, our collective group will be behind the curve, akin to still having a dial-up connection. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc., are not just kid's toys - they are a way to communicate with your customer base. Your customer expects this method of communication and if you are not spot on with it, there will be lost sales, lost brand integrity and lost touch points with your customer. Case Study A. Retailer XYZ Wines and Spirits received a very allocated spirit that is only released in November yearly. Two choices need to be made: one, purchase the inventory at a high COGS and assume that the customer will come in and purchase this product in time, or two, purchase the product and let your Twitter and Facebook followers know that you now have this highly allocated product available for them to purchase. Retailer XYZ chose option two and the inventory item was sold within two days and the ROI on that purchase was much higher because it turned so much more quickly, many weeks before the bill was due. Case Study B. We all use events to drive in-store traffic and to create a wonderful in-store shopping experience. Traditional methods of marketing these events are posters, e-mails and perhaps a CRM data mining for core group. All these methods cost money and or time. Retailer XYZ decided to create a Facebook event, post regularly in the news feed and even "invite" FB influ- encers to the event at no charge in the hopes that the "influencers" will tell others. It all worked, and the event business, a highly profitable part of alcohol beverage sales, became new revenue stream. It is proven that these social networks can drive customers to your store and your digital properties. The networks are a way to share tastings, events, and product news to engage the customer. It is also important to note that the social networks are not a one-way conversation. Your customers will reach out to you with questions, comments and product inquiries. The non-response is worse than a bad response. It is bad form in the social world and keeping a dialogue with customers rewards us all. A Few Basics Facebook. Great place to post pictures of your stores, new product arrivals, recipes and events. Twitter. Drives customers into your store with new product releases and allocated product news. Tumblr. Blog writing for your business; best used for product reviews or product opinion. Pinterest. Great for telling a story with pictures. I can site many examples of retailers, grocers, bar owners and wholesalers who do not pursue the social networks with the same vigor as customers. I can assure you that they are equally as important, and these virtual friends have friends and those friends have friends and it all matters. A soft approach will only stymie business. Given the incredible push to mobile devices, it is always better to be evolving as retailers. The net/net (excuse the pun) is that technology is always changing. Your customers will tell you how they want to be communicated to, and how we respond to that will better position our companies for tomorrow. I BRIAN ROSEN is operating partner of Evolution Wine & Spirits, in Chicago, and is available through Evolution Speaking and Consulting. He can be reached at 10 • Beverage Dynamics • • November/December 2013

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