An increase in wine club convenience equates to an increase in wine club members and membership retention.
—Zach Kamphuis, general manager, Commerce7
Why should a consumer sign up for a wine club instead of just buying the wines ad-hoc? Traditionally, the added value of joining the wine club is the member benefits. Most member benefits, however, are localized. Free tastings, exclusive events, and member-only sections/seating are great selling features—for local members who live nearby and can take advantage of those perks. But how can you drive value for out-of-city, out-of-state, or even out-of-country members who can’t take advantage of your member benefits?
The Value of Convenience
Subscriptions in other industries don’t have the issue of creating value for non-local members and, in turn, don’t have issues signing up non-local members or creating online membership programs. What the wine industry can learn from these other industries is how to incorporate convenience as a primary value or reasoning for joining a wine club.
If the wine club is the most convenient way for a consumer to get the wines they want, that will be the driving force for them to sign up for a wine club membership.
Whether they’ve been to the winery once on a vacation or tried the for the first time at wine at a party or restaurant—if they want more of it, and the most convenient way to get it is your club, they’re going to sign up for the club.
In order to drive the most member value, and create the most convenient shopping experience, it’s important to remember that there is no one size fits all solution for members. The wants and needs of your members will vary. So, instead of striving to implement one standardized offering (X bottles, X red/white split, X times a year), strive to offer the most flexibility possible and make it easy for members to customize their memberships.
What flexibility creates a more convenient shopping experience for members? It’s a combination of flexible choices related to:
- the wines they receive
- the quantity of wines they receive
- shipment frequency
- shipment dates
- ability to skip/cancel the membership easily
When the entire membership is tailored to and revolves around each member’s unique needs, the shopping experience becomes extremely convenient for them. The member gets the wines they want, at the quantities they want, as often as they want, on the dates they want, and at any time. If life changes, their order can change. And whenever they want, they can easily skip a shipment or cancel the membership.
As you’re thinking through offering a more convenient membership, it’s important to understand your true competitors for out-of-city and -state, as well as online memberships. If a consumer really likes your wines, but, in their location, it’s much easier for them to purchase them at a brick-and-mortar establishment—that’s what they’re going to do. If it’s easier for them to purchase ad-hoc through your e-commerce store because that allows them to get exactly what they want, when they want it—that’s what they’re going to do. If it’s not easy or convenient for them to purchase your wine through any channel, they may consider purchasing a different wine through a different, more convenient channel.
At Commerce7, we have a lot of aggregate data that helps us understand consumer behavior, and how offering members more convenient experiences impacts our client wineries’ bottom lines. We know that offering more flexibility and convenience leads to more sign-ups, larger average order values, and longer membership retention.
A few key data points:
- Thirty-eight percent of club members will edit a package if given the opportunity.
- Edited packages increase in order value on average by 20 percent.
- The chances a member canceling within the first year drops by 34 percent, if that member edited a package.
It can be easy to focus on benefits that will impact the members you see and interact with the most. But, in order to grow your club outside your localized community, focus on making your wine club the most convenient way for out-of-region customers to purchase your wines.
Zach Kamphuis is the general manager at Commerce7. He’s been working there for the past two and a half years since its inception, helping wineries create better consumer shopping experiences through all DTC sales channels.
Kamphuis will be speaking at the 2021 WINExpo. His session, Exceeding the Expectations of Digital Natives will dive into best practices for wineries to thrive in the new digital-driven age. Learn more about WINExpo and register.