Tastings. They are a staple to beverage alcohol marketing and in theory, sales. But when the event is over and spit buckets are emptied, we often find ourselves asking, “Did this event lead to ANY sales??!” And, historically, the answer has been, “Dunno.”
In most cases, ROI has been impossible to track. The gap between sampling and purchase was too great and completely untrackable.
Mobile is changing this. Retailers are using their own commerce apps to capture sales and collect data at the time the consumer is most engaged… when it hits their lips!
Here are a few ways retailers are doing this, and the results they’ve seen thus far.
Chan’s Wine World:
With five retail locations and and two popular restaurant chains, Chan’s Wine World is a leader on and off premise in Florida’s panhandle. In addition, Wine World owner, Chan Cox founded the South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival — a destination wine tasting and fundraiser for the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation.
The tasting showcases more than 800 wines, poured by dozens of noted national and international wine celebrities. It attracts thousands of consumers throughout the south and has raised millions of dollars for local charities over the years.
It is also one of the few festivals of this size where wine and spirits are sold at the event. Traditionally, consumers marked their favorites in a brochure and shopped a pop-up brick-and-mortar retail store (or tent) at the show. Searching the aisles took time and long checkout lines were the norm.
In April 2017, Chan’s Wine World used their mobile app to streamline this process for attendees and staff. Attendees scanned labels of wines and spirits as they tasted them for instant details, and added them to their carts. Consumers placed orders through the app using Apple Pay, Android Pay, or credit card while Wine World staff packaged and prepared the pre-paid items for pick up at the Mobile Order tent in 30 minutes or less.
No more hunting makeshift aisles for products. No more insanely long lines at the register. Consumers were notified through push notifications and email when their orders were ready and walked away with their items in minutes.
Within 48 hours of downloading the app, roughly 500 attendees used the app an average of 7.5 times to remember products they tried at the tasting and 18% of them made at least one mobile purchase on site. In total, attendees placed over $20,000 in mobile orders alone with an average cart of $270 — more than double their typical order size.
Importantly, Wine World was able to capture valuable data on the most popular products at the event and gathered contact information for attendees, growing their email list and providing opportunity for follow-up and segmented marketing campaigns.
Big Red Liquors:
Big Red Liquors, a dominant 57 chain retailer in the Indianapolis area had a tasting idea that could only be pulled off with a mobile app: a mobile tasting pop-up shop called “The Wine Hole.”
Several times a month, Big Red Liquor’s wine expert, Jim Gooley and team arrive in a “Wine Hole”-branded van at popular locations and events in the area (note — Big Red gets a temporary pouring license for this). Featuring unique hand-selected wines, he tastes and educates consumers on each product and offers a special price for that day only.
In the app, wines are featured front and center for consumers to purchase at a discount on mobile for delivery to any of Big Red’s 57 locations.
Big Red unveiled the Wine Hole mobile tasting “pop-up store” at their Annual Bourbon Expo at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.That weekend, 1,800 people downloaded their app. One month later, Big Red is seeing total buyer conversion of 22%.
At the Bourbon Tasting event, The Wine Hole opened two hours before the whiskey tables started pouring. Early birds flooded the The Wine Hole and purchased over $5k of the featured wines that day and $10k within the first week, with an average order value of $120.
But things really got interesting the following week when Big Red re-targeted their app users with flash sales (link to Big Red Case Study). In two hours, Big Red sold $30,000 worth of Founder’s Canadian Breakfast Stout. Half of which was sold in the first 30 minutes of the promotion.
A few days later, they did it again selling out of 200 bottles of Blanton’s Bourbon at $65 a bottle between 10am and noon. And again with over 200 bottles of Devil’s Trumpet sold in hours the following week.
With each promotion they not only saw quick sales for those items, but a minimum of 20% lift on orders with consumers adding other products from The Wine Hole to their carts.
The Spirited Gourmet
We’ve seen events work well for boutique establishments also. The Spirited Gourmet specializes in hand-selected fine wines at all price points, or as they would say “wines that drink better than their cost.” They have an educated and articulate staff that is passionate about wine who customers turn to for recommendations.
Twice a year, The Spirited Gourmet holds Grand Tastings that take over the store. The wines are awesome, the vibe is energetic and fun, but space is tight — tables are smooshed between aisles, elbow room is at a minimum and the mechanics of actually getting to the register with some wine is compromised… or at least it was.
In the past, customers would fill out a paper form and hand it to a staff member to get the wine, which required a decent amount of running around and flagging people down. At the end of the event, the customer would still could wait up to 20 minutes to get their wines and they still had to stand in line to pay.
This year, The Spirited Gourmet used their mobile app to process orders at their Grand Tastings. They customized their app to have “tasting tables” in the app that mirrored what products were being shown in the store so consumers could easily pick a set of wines, learn about them while also tasting and hearing about the product.
And, of course, consumers could order through the app — and this clearly resonated. Approximately 45% of the attendees downloaded the Spirited Gourmet app and buyer conversion through the app that day was a whopping 70%. Nearly $10,000 in product was sold in a few short hours with an average cart size of $137. Since the tasting, 40% have become repeat buyers — ordering for in-store pickup or local delivery with average cart values 4x that of purchases at the register.
Just as with all of the examples in this article, Spirited Gourmet’s mobile app saved time — staff received clean and complete order forms behind the scenes. Customers received push notifications when orders were ready and since everything was pre-paid, they could simply pick up their wine and walk out the door.
Spirited Gourmet has held multiple tastings since that first one and each time they’ve used their app to streamline the process for their customers and staff.
We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what brick and mortar retailers can accomplish with their own mobile apps.
As tastings bring your customers closer to your products, using technology to improve customer experience, staff efficiency and marketing efforts will secure that positive connection in the long term and deepen consumer loyalty to you and the products you represent.