Lucrative Lessons from the Wine Industry: Boosting Beer Sales with Allocations

winery selling wine to customers

Guest post from Chris Towt of VineSpring

Allocations are an easy way to offer products to specific members in limited quantities and within a designated timeframe. Wineries have implemented allocations for years to tailor offerings based on purchase history or preference.

If you aren’t familiar with the allocation concept, imagine receiving an email from your favorite winery announcing their most current wine release. In the email is a link that automatically logs you into their website and, for a limited time, gives you the opportunity to purchase specific wines not generally available to the public. But hurry, the offer will only be available for a few weeks.

In these extraordinary times, allocations are a great way to make your customers feel special, keep them connected to your brand, and cement a relationship you can continue to build on for years to come.

Here are a few ideas on how to implement allocations today.

Local Delivery

Some of your best customers are most likely in your local delivery area. Now is the time to identify those customers and offer something special that you can commit to delivering yourself (and for free if they order a minimum quantity). VineSpring makes it easy to implement a Local Delivery option that triggers based on quantities purchased, and allocations make it easy to offer something special to your local customers.

To make your local delivery option even more compelling, consider partnering with a local restaurant, tavern, or chef and offer a meal to go with their purchase. Here’s the idea — meals (with a bottle of wine or a pack of beer) are delivered once a week, on Friday. The allocation window opens 8 AM on Monday and closes at 6 PMThursday, allowing customers enough time to choose their options and the chef enough time to prepare the meals. A good way to set this up is to create two allocation offerings — one allocation is for the meal choices and the other allocation is for their beverage of choice.

Below is an example of what a customer would see when they access their allocation to select a meal and wine to go with it:

Rolling Release

While people are sheltering in place, are you crafting something special? Maybe you already have it sitting in the cellar—an allocation is a great way to create a compelling limited offer to specific customers. One idea is to roll your offer out in phases; make your offer available to your best customers first, and if it doesn’t sell out, to your next batch of customers, and so on. Putting a window on how long an offer is open can help drive sales.

Allocations typically offer a “wish list” so your customers can indicate they would like more than they are being offered today. For example, say a customer is offered three bottles, but really would like six. The wish list enables that customer to indicate they would love to buy three more bottles, if available. You can also make some items “wish list only,” meaning the customer doesn’t get to buy any today, they are simply indicating they would buy, if available. Wish lists are a great way to ensure you aren’t losing sales just because your allocation offering was limited.

An example of the admin screen where tiers are defined containing products, a start/end date, and members assigned to each tier:

Reward Loyalty

Targeting specific customers with specific allocation offers allow you to reward loyalty and offer more to those who buy more. Allocations often have multiple tiers, each with a different quantity and perhaps selection of products. The top tier typically receives the most products while the bottom tier receives the least (they might even have some wish list only items). As customers prove their loyalty through purchasing more products, the next time you offer an allocation, certain customers will move to higher tiers. You are rewarding loyalty by knowing your customer and offering them more of what they want.

Allocations are a great way to drive customer lifetime value through compelling, specialized offers of your product. With the right software, it’s easy to set up and manage. Now is the time for beer allocations!

Chris Towt is co-founder and President of VineSpring, a membership-focused ecommerce solution built for the beverage alcohol industry. Providing subscription management tools, VineSpring simplifies commerce so craft producers can improve their customers’ lifetime value. VineSpring is proud to offer Ekos customers their first month free.

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