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Adaptive Business Model For Wineries During COVID-19

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22/04/2020 Evolve your business at par with the continuously evolving business landscape and adapt early to the changes being caused by COVID-19.

Let's talk about 'Selling Ideas' in these unprecedented times. There's a lot of concern going around regarding the economy and businesses and their functioning. Things are moving slowly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing situation is changing the business landscape as well as the methods and means of doing business.

So we have identified 10 really simple and practical tips for your wineries and distilleries to get immediate results. 

1. Partner with local restaurants

Your winery/distillery can partner with local restaurants and help them or assist them in completing or accepting deliveries. People are scared to go out but a lot of them are still ordering food and drinks at home. You could also come up with upselling packages. For example, you and your local restaurant could tie up and offer combos on orders like the Coca-Cola or Pepsi model. You could also push food to your customers and they can push your wine to their customers. It's all about assisted marketing. Combined efforts can take you a long way, especially in a scenario like this. All hands on deck!

2. Create content that your audience wants

With people being locked inside their homes, for the most part, their content consumption is bound to skyrocket. People are much more active on social media and other social channels and are constantly looking for entertainment or the latest updates. In such a case, you can divert towards a highly content-centric strategy for the coming months at least.

Here is an example of the type of content you could be putting out right now. You could become a local news channel outlet. Give news updates of your neighborhood, legal updates of your county, neighborhood updates, grocery store updates, and so on. People want relevant news updates and the news does not need to be just about COVID-19 and its effects. Push out some helpful content too such as a list of operating businesses in the locality, where your customers can find your wine or spirits brand in their localities. If you're delivering then what's the procedure. How the neighborhood is taking precautions in maintaining social distancing and so on.

3. Talk about your winery/distillery journey

You could, let's say, make a series of 5-6 episodes (Audio / Video / Written) on how you got to where you are today, your journey through the business, some fun facts or exciting events that you may have come across. You could also talk about your winery/distillery and how you're handling the crisis, what sort of precautions you have taken to battle the situation. Whether you're still operating or have put business on hold for the moment. Another aspect to throw light on would be the sanitization measures and employee safety measures, how you're taking care of your employees.

These stories are meant to form a connection with your customers so people don't have any fear while making a purchase decision from your winery or distillery. What happens when your staff interacts with your products and cases. Your customers need to know that you're taking the greatest care with the safety of your customers, as well as your employees, which is your topmost priority.

4. Weekend tasting event

Now this is just another idea that you could implement. Or think along similar lines to come up with your own unique idea.

Come up with a help yourself, contactless tasting, and wine buying session. Call your customers for a new experience this Saturday. You could set up and demonstrate a mock session to display and assure your customers how you'll be taking care of safety and precautionary measures like social distancing and hygiene. Show them with video examples (This is some extra content right here). 

The idea here would be to encourage self-service so as to minimize human interactions with a 'buy yourself' campaign. Make $100 and $50 packages of a full case and half case. Right now, we want fewer transactions and more stocking up of the products. The consumers as well as the business owners. People don't want to come back again and again and risk exposing ourselves to the virus. Your objective here is to sell more. So you can keep wholesale cases and packages like  $500 for 5 cases. The best option would be to only accept card payment and other such E-payment options. In case of cash transactions, you could again package multiple products to make the sum bill a round figure so as to avoid dealing with change.

5. Thank you customer scheme

If you support the business now, the business will give you back later. Come up with future benefits for current customers. Let's face it, the customers that come in now are much higher value than usual. Now is the time we need sales and quite desperately. Not all businesses have plenty of cash reserves, and especially not wineries and distilleries where it is known to be a low profit-margin business. So appreciate the value that your current customers are giving your business when you really need it. You could come up with vouchers, free tastings, lifetime value packages, etc. for your April-May-June customers and attract them by giving them future value. The situation right now is too delicate, but you need to tell them that you'll give them back once the sunny days are here again.

Listen to the complete episode:

6. Curbside store

Have displays.outside your store or make your parking lot a grocery store. People can call or pay by card and pick-up their curbside deliveries. This way we can all keep human interaction to a minimum. You can also make whole value packages like $10, $20, $30, and so on. This way, no change needs to be handled by anyone even if people are paying in cash. Right now, people are avoiding touching change and rightfully so.

7. List your product on the internet.

Take out time and make your brand visible all over the internet wherever possible. As we mentioned earlier, people are increasingly spending more and more time online, so be where your customers are. Be online. Get your brands listed on various direct-to-consumer channels like Amazon and Get Drinks Delivered and so on.

To take an example, Wine and spirits brands can get registered as vendors for free on Get Drinks Delivered and get inbound calls from their neighborhoods. Your customers can easily see who all are delivering in their neighborhoods. Invest the time to get your message out and increase your audiences.

8. Partner with grocery stores

Most grocery stores allow a little Point-of-Sale note. For example you can put a note saying 'Selling wine case for $100'. You should also keep your phone and signage. A big and bold signage is sure to attract a lot of attention, especially for a product like wine or spirits given the circumstances.

You could put up like a 'Wine Wanted' signage with a simple message: "delivery included, call me" with your contact details and store location.

Laundromats, grocery stores, etc. can be great opportunities. Get support from your local neighborhood. Ask the store if you can get your wine truck or car and sell your brand at the grocery store. You could also partner up with them and offer incentives for wine sales, like you can sell their cheese with your wines. However, do check the legalities for this kind of a system within your locality.

9. Social media & Direct Messages

Throw out as much content as possible. We will again highlight this point. Offer updates, discount offers, news, and stories to your audience. Send them direct messages to make them aware of your brand and whether you're still operating or not. This will help you in creating a one-on-one bond with your audience. Capture customers with witty captions and beautiful images on social media platforms and us the power of direct messages to decrease the gap between you and your would-be or existing customers.

10. Old fashioned telesales

Last but not the least, you can always do the old fashioned telesales. You could find data and start cold calling prospects and businesses. Take the help of white pages or social media to collect leads and try to reach out to them. Now give information that you're open for delivery. most people are unaware. build trust and share info and create awareness, every call need not be sales-y. Right now, you just want to talk to them and let them know about you and that you're still operating and in business. Ask them how they are doing and just focus on providing some sort of value. highlight your efforts to continue servicing their needs even during this crisis.

Listen to the complete episode:

Don't really worry about what you can't do right now. Instead quadruple your efforts down on what you can do. Because that's the only thing under your control.

And after all the dust settles down, the steps that you're taking to adapt right now will just become extra revenue channels for you. Step out of your comfort zone and you can do anything.

Let us know if you've implemented an idea not listed above and would like to share with the community! You can reach us on social media or by email!.