Perceived value through having options

I’m writing this from a large, nice, off the beaten path privately owned hotel in Madison, Wisconsin.

It’s a good, clean, practical building with very nice people working the front desk. A large free parking lot. Gentle hum of I-90 out the windows. Hot water is hot, cold water is cold, coffee is good, and free wifi. Only $60 for tonight’s stay. Couldn’t ask for anything more, just like at many other hotels across the country.

Or could you?

This hotel has an extremely large workout facility, along with the conference rooms, pools, and a hot tub, all obviously rarely used. I’m on my way back home from visiting our son in Chicago, where at his dorm building they have a very large workout room, and in a neighboring dorm building they have a rooftop pool and hot tub. All of which are rarely used.

Having options increases perceived value. At most new condo developments around the country you not only get a workout room, but a rooftop deck with bar, pool tables in the lobby, an espresso machine available 24/7, and far more. Yet the building could make ten times more money by converting that square footage into things more practical, like another condo.

But we don’t live in the practical world. We live in the world of options, and those options bring value.

How can we use this in the wine world? Start to brainstorm this. A few ideas to kickstart your thoughts:

Retailers: Hang a big sign emphasizing you can acquire almost any wine for your customers through special orders. It may take some time to track something down, but “the world of wine is available to you through Bob’s Wine Shop.” Hardly anybody will take advantage of it, but if they see the sign every time they walk in, it means something.

Restaurants: Offering half glasses of wine is great, even if few take advantage of it. Also having decanters available (cover the top with some plastic wrap, keep the dust out!) for special bottles ordered or brought in. Do your customers see the ice buckets available behind the bar? Knowing those things are out there, even if rarely used, add perceived value.

Wholesalers: Do you have a single go-to spot on a company website where your customers can find tech sheets, bottle shots, label shots, and two sentence (i.e. “server friendly”) descriptions of the wines you offer? How about just a blog where you can keep your customers up on what is new, hot, delicious, awesome, and cool? How about a simple newsletter that constantly reinforces services you offer, how you operate, and how you can make life better for those that buy from you? (Note: if you’re a wholesaler and you don’t have any of these things, let’s talk. I’m good at building them.)

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