The Grapevine

Marketing to Your Wine Shop Customers

April 13th, 2016

Yesterday we talked about the value of your customer list or database and your relationship with your customers. Here are some ways to put those ideas into practice in your marketing. [level-members]

Our goal in marketing to our existing customers (as opposed to marketing we’d do for prospects) is to strengthen the relationship we have with them. Basically, you need to show them that you care. (Does it annoy you as much as it does me to get promotions from, say, Verizon Wireless, aimed only at new subscribers? Too bad their marketing people can’t talk to their account people to find out I’m already a customer. Showing me something I can’t have is kind of crummy.)

Let’s start with email since that’s a bit easier to personalize. Most major email marketing programs – MailChimp, iContact, Emma, etc. – make it easy to segment your lists. You can encourage people to sign up for whichever segments are of interest to them. So, rather than everyone getting the same email, you can tailor to each segment. Those segments might be based on particular varietals – though that’s a pretty thin segment – or broader interests, like food & wine pairing recommendations, wine collecting, wine travel, and so on.

Remember, this marketing you’re doing is going to be about your customers’ interests, not yours. (Your interest being to sell more wine, of course.) So the majority of it has to be of interest to the consumer. Only a small portion of it can be promotional.

People will generally be open to hearing about offers and specials and suggestions, but only if they aren’t sent as an unrelenting parade of come-ons to my inbox.

Social media isn’t as easy to tailor – it’s generally a a more mass-oriented experience. But you can use it to put out segment-specific information and encourage customers to let you know what their interests are. Again, show them that you care.

Finally, in shop marketing has to be very personal. So if your PoS system doesn’t make tracking purchases easy, find a way to do that so that you and your staff can help customers without them having to recite their entire purchase history.

You’ll naturally be able to do this with your best customers, but if you can do it with your “good but not great” customers, you’ll have an excellent opportunity to turn them into a “best” customer.