Wine Club Wellness Check

Hellooooo summer! Or as many club managers like to call it, ‘that sweet slice of daylight between spring and fall shipments’. Let’s take a moment to do a wine club wellness check! In addition to cleaning up lists, addressing declined cards, getting outstanding pick-ups out the door, here is a helpful punch list of tasks for the wine club team to best leverage this downtime:

  • Member Relationship Building – It’s been a doozy of a year and a half. Reach out to your members, especially your longest tenured and highest spenders, to say ‘hey’, see how they’re doing, and show appreciation for them sticking with the winery through this rough patch. Also, if there were members that were on hold for specific reasons, it might be helpful to reengage with them and see how things are going/if you can reengage them. Relationships are based on frequent communication. Nobody likes to hear from our winery only when we want money.
  • Cross-Train Wine Club Team on VX – Staffing is short so why not cross-train the wine club team to host virtual tastings (VX), especially tastings for members. It’s a great way to ensure the winery is connecting with members over the summer even if they’re not able to visit. Layering on a VX tasting program for members is great way to add to the benefits of joining the club as well as gain access to member’s friends & family who are very ‘convertible’ guests! (Shameless plug: sign wine club staff up for WISE #119 Virtual DTC Experiences Fundamentals course to get them up to speed quickly.)
  • Upgrade Your Outbound – Take this opportunity to give outbound phone sales a try. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get started. Already dialing? This downtime is a great chance to refine skills and pick up new insights from team members. Have staff call each other to sell as a way to give constructive feedback and help take the outbound program to the next level through sharing ideas and learning from teammates.
  • Show Your Club & Advocates Love – Comb through the list and see who your best and most loyal members are as well as non-member advocates. Chances are, if they’re spending money and time with you, they’re talking about the winery to their friends. Consider developing a loyalty and rewards program to recognize these folks. Maybe collaborate with whomever handles the digital marketing to see how to leverage member and advocate support on social media. Consider gamifying it, making a sweepstakes out of it, and other fun ideas to incentivize members and advocates to shout their love.
  • Get Nerdy with Numbers – Sure, the regularly daily, weekly, monthly metrics are helpful but now is a great time to get granular with the numbers. Do a deep dive into the metrics to go beyond reporting the numbers and delve into historical patterns and correlations. Be sure to have a calendar as well as visitation numbers and any daily notes/journal the tasting room may keep handy to give context to any interesting finds. Some food for thought with an older blog about looking at your club data. Also, consider doing an annual survey to get insights from them. Let them know that we are listening. Send an annual survey to find out what they really value about our club and act on the results. Nothing says love like introducing a new benefit that was suggested by our members.
  • Inventory Inspection – Touch base with your finance department to see what items might be helpful to move through. Whether it’s wine or merchandise that are no longer being sold, attractive pricing that covers costs and brings in a little on top can help shuffle items out the door and off the books. Maybe an employee or industry sale could be helpful to move these SKUs.
  • Events & Shipment Planning – 2022 might seem far away but it’ll be here before we know it. Start thinking about the events and shipments to be offered to the membership next year. Events can be long lead, especially if they’re a big deal like cruises or weekend getaways so planning 9-18 months in advance helps set them up for greater success. Shipments may already be a part of a long-range forecast but now is a great time to circle back to the numbers in the projections and see how current metrics compare. There may be some adjustments needed so doing the work well in advance is helpful to anticipate any unexpected shifts.
  • Host Member Guests and Help Convert Non-Members – Collaborate with the tasting room team and ask them to let wine club know when member guests visit. Having a wine club associate pop into the tasting or host the tasting helps put names the members see on emails to faces, reinforces connection, and further builds upon and strengthens the relationship they have with the winery. Additionally, ask the tasting room team to call a wine club associate over for guests who have questions or are curious about the wine club or to welcome newly joined members. It can help to pay it forward to the tasting room team that might be more eager to help with club runs during the times they’re slower. Breaking down the silos between TR and WC – what’s their beef and what’s our tenderizer.
  • Automation Review – Take a moment to look over system automated emails or texts – is the information still accurate and relevant? Also review any offers or messages that pop up on the website or in the cart. Are these still working or do they need a refresh?
  • Make Time for Growth – Expand horizons and knowledge bases through wine industry classes offered. Check out WISE classes here along with seminars local wine industry organizations may be offering. Is everyone up to date on their Responsible Beverage Service training? How about CPR training? Does someone from the winemaking and vineyard teams have some time to do trainings with the team to scale up their knowledge of the vineyards and production? How about our software provider? Are we attending our systems provider’s user group meetings?
  • Benefits Review – Now is a good time to review your club benefits. Your relationship with your club members should get better over time. Find a way to reward long-time club members. This doesn’t necessarily mean bigger discounts, but rather think about privileges that give our members bragging rights. Lunch with the winemaker for local members or a stay in the guest cottage for top out-of-area members could fill the bill. Clubs that include benefits for long-term members and promote this benefit are more successful, especially with lower attrition rates.
    This is also a great time to take advantage of this stretch of breathing space and gear up for Q3 and Q4 along with the joyful madness that comes with holiday time! Enjoy, recoup, refresh, and get ready to meet the next half of the year head on!