Top New Year’s Resolution for DTC Success: Go Granular

Ready or not, here comes a new year! With a brand-spanking-new year ahead of us, let’s see how we can raise the bar on our own performance, and execute on some new, actionable initiatives we didn’t get around to this year. If we have been paying attention to the data on our dashboards, it’s time to take a deeper dive by going granular.

Tasting Room Data – Capture By Experience
How many different guest experiences do we offer? Are they all working as we had intended? Many of us have added a seated tasting, by-appointment-only experience to our original bar tasting. We know that this will require additional resources in expenses and staff hours to execute properly. What has been our return on this investment? Are we getting at least double the rates of conversion on purchases, wine club sign-ups, and contact data capture on our seated experience versus the bar tasting? If not, let’s see where we are missing the mark.

Are we capturing our data by experience, by a staff member? We can’t let one poor performer pull down our results. Instead, we have the chance to ask the star performers to share what is working for them in our team meetings and watch for the expected improvements overall. We may find that new experiences need tweaking. We may find that the new ones are working so well that we can add yet another one to boost our results even further.

Wine Club Data – Use Arrays, Not Averages
We talk all the time about the average length of wine club memberships. The good news from 2017 was that the average tenure seems to be growing, according to the latest study done by Silicon Valley Bank. Are we celebrating? Not just yet.

If I have one hand in a bucket of freezing water, and another hand in a bucket of boiling water, my average is excellent and yet I am miserable in two different ways. The same may be true for our wine club member data. A club with lots of long-term members and lots of short-term members may result in an average of 24 months, where none of the members actually has 24 months tenure. The tenure statistics on a more “normal” bell-shaped curve can also result in an average of 24 months. The actions we need to take to increase tenure are very different for each of those examples.

In the first case, we need to understand why new members don’t remain in the club. It could be that our club is being sold as just a discount program to our visitors, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge, they can cancel as soon as they leave our tasting room. The staff gets the wine club bonus, but members don’t stay long enough to be profitable. If this is our situation, we need to mystery shop or get other unbiased feedback on the staff members with the highest club member churn to see how the club is being presented and take corrective action. Sometimes we might want to hold back paying the commission until the new member has taken at least one club shipment.

In the second example, our members may be staying in the club for 24 months and then they get bored, quit, and join a competitor’s club which has a bright shiny new benefit we didn’t offer. If this is happening to us, we need to create a program that rewards club member tenure so that there is a reason for them to stay longer. Usually granting privileges will do the trick – tell members what they will get after they’ve been in the club for 36 months. Maybe it’s lunch with the winemaker or owner, or a stay in the guest house. We call this ‘neener-neener’ marketing – members get bragging rights from getting something others can’t have, and we get to keep the member longer.

Let’s start off the New Year right by going granular. Here’s to a great year!