Info power (and wine wholesalers)

I type this post while sitting at a coffee shop. No surprise there. But this coffee shop (Caribou) is trying to compete with Starbucks. Part of their strategy is the new “perks club” (cute name).

If I join the club I can slooooooowly build points for a free cookie or a coffee. But in exchange they get to know what I buy from them and when, exactly. Size of cup. Add-ons. Locations. And of course this is good information for Caribou Coffee to have in order to customize their message to me; to offer me more of what I want and nothing that I don’t.

So if I got a coupon for a large vanilla white latte, I personally don’t care and will throw it away. But simply a free small coffee, replicating what I always buy, will bring me in.

Here’s the point: wine wholesalers don’t have to ask their retail and restaurant customers to join a club. They already have all the information. They can, sometimes with a little work, answer some important questions:

Who bought the most Tuscan wine last year?
Who bought the most Chardonnay last summer?
Who bought the most via pre-sell opportunities?
Who bought the most diversity of our products?
Who seems to love the newest Pinot Noirs in our book?
Who seems to love the biggest names that we sell?
Who only buys the strange and unknown?

And yet, these questions rarely get asked. Most wholesalers are only concerned with two questions: who is buying the most wine, and is business going up or down?

Wholesalers can learn from the coffee shops. Get detailed, figure out motivations, and dangle the right cup of coffee in front of the right customer at the right time. It’s a simple strategy.

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