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The Modern Wine Club

Andrew Kamphuisclock 2 min

Dec 20, 2017

Wine clubs have been around for a long time. Long before words like “subscription economy” became trendy. I started developing winery software in 2005 and they existed long before that. And for a lot of wineries there hasn’t been a lot of changes.

Here’s a typical wine club:

  • Ships 4 times a year - strategically timed by the winery
  • 6 bottle shipments (smaller bottle shipments more frequently seem to be trending out)
  • Bottles are pre-selected by the winery. If your lucky you might have user choice, but the interface isn’t that great.
  • 15-25% off wines year round. A few perks at the tasting room
  • Signup in the tasting room or online (95%+ in the tasting room)
  • Cancel via the phone

Small wineries have 1000 or less club members. Larger wineries might have up to 10,000 members.

Now let’s look at the subscription economy. It’s not wine but Dollar Shave Club has 2 million members. Its not wine but Blue Apron has 500,000 shipments a month. And in wine we see Winc. All of these clubs have no real physical presence (so the 95%+ signup in the tasting room doesn’t work for them)

What differentiates the modern club from a typical wine club? Rather than placing focus on the product the modern club focuses on the customer. The formula for growth is around creating better experiences.

“Rather than placing focus on the product the modern club focuses on the customer.”

The modern club:

  • Ships when the customer wants it
  • Product selection and size focused on the customer. Deeply personal. Customer receives what they want. Designed around their preferences.
  • Ability to interact with the shipment is easy and intuitive. Features like add a product to the next shipment right from the email and visually see products in the shipment.
  • Signup, place a hold, and cancel online. Customer in complete control.
  • Create ongoing value and memorable experience.

The challenge of understanding your customer and developing a modern club is not lost on me. The “subscription economy” companies listed above have all raised millions of dollars. But in these days of hyper competition and raising customer expectations we do need to be looking at transforming our clubs to a more modern club.

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