Think about it: getting one dollar more from each of your customers for every bottle they purchase. It seems like a modest goal, but one that could be transformative for a small business. For a large business, it could be the only avenue to greater profits.
 
So the questions is, how can you encourage your customers to pay more for every bottle of wine they purchase? I’m sure this is not the first time this topic has been broached, but the fact that so few stores seem to be able to successfully execute such a plan definitely has kept it relevant.
 
It’s pretty indisputable that education is the key, as it is a multilevel approach with both simple and complex solutions. The key is building up your customer’s confidence, in your store and their palate, to allow them to self-assuredly find the wines they will enjoy.
 
The first, and easiest step is the use of shelf talkers, almost ubiquitous in this day and age, right? While everyone uses shelf talkers, almost nobody uses them well. Typically shelf talkers are used as a stand-alone referral, but what if you took the concept one step further?
 
Take Garanimals as an example, those animalized sets of clothing. Putatively designed to help parents keep their kids’ clothing stylishly coordinated, what they actually do is help to induce people to buy more. A few shirts to pair properly with those adorable shorts, for example. They probably don’t make parents buy more shirts in total, but that’s not the point. The point is to make parents buy more Garanimals shirts, and to that end it is a very successful strategy.
 
Simply put, Garanimals takes advantage of a perceived problem, dressing one’s child in miss-matched clothing (oh the horror) and provides customers with a simple solution. We in the wine business don’t have to worry about the problem part, virtually everyone agrees that wine is frustratingly confusing, we just need to worry about the solution part.
 
Take advantage of your audience. you’ve got them reading your shelf talkers, why stop there? Use shelf talkers to recommend additional wines that share some trait or characteristic with the wine your customer is reading about. If you’ve suggested a specific wine pairs well with beef, why not add additional suggestions? These could include some up selling, as a footnote on a specific shelf talker.
 
Another route to take is to recommend wines of the same vintage or style. There are many options open to the creative sales team, none of which seem to be in common use. There are fundamentally two problems facing every retailer today--getting customers into your shop or on your site, and then maximizing each sale.
 
In my opinion the focus is too heavily skewed toward the first, virtually ignoring the latter. A customer in your store is ready to spend. Take advantage of the situation by giving them the information they need to make additional purchases. Shelf talkers with a simple tasting note help to assure customers that a specific wine might be good, but they are also the perfect place to help your customers understand what other wines might be good and why they should be checking them out.
 
Be creative, conversational, funny and honest with your shelf talkers. Consumers today are awfully savvy and can see right through most come-ons that don’t offer real value.  One final fact to include in your shelf talkers should be your discount policy.  You’ve got your customer’s attention, and you’re trying to maximize their purchase, so give them all the information that can help them get there. That’s why you have a case discount purchase policy in the first place, don’t keep it a secret.
 
Next time: Customer tracking and consumer education