Vineyard Scene

5 ways to increase your club pickup rate

Wine Club

Your club is successful. You have a great group of club members and have been doing well signing up new members, many of which are picking up their wine at the winery — or at least they are supposed to!  Unclaimed wine can take a lot of space and require extra attention.  Since time is one of your most precious commodities, here are some ways to increase the pickup rate for your club.

1. notification

Keep your communication with your club members open. As part of your wine club processing, include an email ahead of time to give them the date the package will be ready for pickup.  This can inspire your members to plan ahead.  Then, send them another email when the club is ready for pickup.  Craft the email so you can send it to club members who paid for their package as well as those whose credit cards declined, just simply state the wine is ready.  This will get more of the people with declined orders to pick-up than if they thought they could just skip it this time.

Then, at one, two and just before three months after billing, send reminders to those club members who haven’t yet retrieved their wine.  Let them know about wine specials or events that are happening at the winery to give them multiple reasons to visit.

Remember, email isn’t the only way to communicate. You can also send a postcard or call those who have not yet come to pick up their wine.

TIP: When you do reach a customer who is late to get their wine, confirm their contact information to ensure they receive future notifications.

2. give them a prize

People love feeling special.  Another way to increase your pickup rate is to include a gift in their club package.  Be sure they know it is in the package, otherwise it won’t be as effective.  Even little things like notebooks, corkscrews, coasters, and bouchons (chocolate) make the club package that much more special.

3. wine specials

Giving your pickup members special pricing for additional wine purchases of any of the wines in the package is another way to get members to visit.  You can also select a wider selection of wine, if that seems appropriate, or even a deeper discount on select products.  Make sure it is understood this is a time limited special, perhaps just on the day of their pickup, or for the current month of the pickup, etc.

4. pickup parties

A fun way to get your club members to visit and increase their loyalty with the club is to have an event at the winery/tasting room.  Pour the wine in their package, have some food and entertainment, if you can, and be sure to have special pricing on other purchases for the day of the event.

5. three-month hold policy

Finally, solidify a policy where, if the customer does not pick up their wine within 3 months (or some suitable amount of time), there is no guarantee of availability of the selected wines beyond that time.  Some wineries have a policy to ship the wine if not picked up within 3 months.  While this tip is more the stick than the carrot, if the policy is well known, there is enough notice given, and it is presented properly, it should be seen as a service rather than a punitive action.

With these five guidelines you can increase your pickup rate, keep the inventory of unclaimed club packages to a minimum and (hopefully) make your job easier.

By Lloyd Vance, Napa, California