The liquor industry has evolved over the course of the past few years as consumers have shied away from visiting bars, and have instead opted to enjoy their liquor at home.
As a result, there are a handful of consumer trends that have emerged within the alcoholic beverage industry which have revealed the following:
● Alcohol Products Are Diversifying
● Packaging Design Is Becoming More Important
● ECommerce Is Beating Out Bars
● Convenience Is Key
● Unconventional Ads Beat Out Classic Ones
What can liquor retailers, wholesalers, and producers do to stay relevant and front-of-mind with consumers?
In this blog post, we’ll go over three marketing tips that will help grow your liquor business in these challenging times.
Alcohol is part of our culture and has contributed to the fabric of American society for hundreds of years. Today, the United States produces roughly 52-billion gallons of alcohol annually, which represents over 15% of the total production of beverages, including non-alcoholic beverages.
There is certainly money to be made in the liquor industry whether you own a bar, run a brewery, or manage a vineyard. Distilled spirits alone saw a 5% increase in sales during 2019 as compared to the prior year, and the pandemic of 2020 didn’t slow that steady growth down one bit. In fact, nationwide lockdowns may have caused a spike in liquor store alcohol sales. In terms of in-store sales, the biggest competitor of liquor businesses aren’t other liquor businesses, but rather cannabis retailers…
So, how can an alcohol brand like yours retain customers and increase sales when consumers are becoming more and more attracted to cannabis? You obviously can’t boast the kinds of cognitive benefits and other health claims that cannabis brands have been getting away with, but you can differentiate your brand by accentuating the experience of indulging in your liquor products. In other words, your marketing should be all about “lifestyle,” “experience,” and “social culture.” But the presentation has to be unique and outside of the box—waaaaay outside. Research how your competitors, both alcohol and cannabis, are framing their brands… and come up with a brand image that totally goes against the grain. Your branding and advertising should not resemble anyone else’s, period.
In order to stand out, focus on “storytelling.” For both your advertising campaigns and the actual design packaging of your products, try to depict a vivid “story” that captures the lifestyle image of your brand. The goal here should be better styling and stronger stories. This concept should be applied to the look and feel of the bottle itself, the branded label design, and any other packaging aspects, especially if your product is boxed. Most importantly, your packaging should match your advertising to present a unified, memorable brand.
A clever marketing strategy that has been on the rise within the liquor industry is to offer consumers paid subscription options. If you’re a liquor brand wholesaler or retailer, or own a liquor, wine, and spirits store, you can trigger a sudden boost in sales by offering your customers the opportunity to sign up for monthly subscription packages.
Yes, this will involve developing an additional order fulfillment workflow that will also require a secure website platform to process payments and automate various aspects of your subscription cycles, including shipping operations, but the benefits will far outweigh the initial investment. When customers realize they can have their favorite liquor delivered to their home once a month, saving them time at the store and saving them money for ordering in bulk, they’ll feel inclined to at least try the service.
Try offering a no-commitment trial for new members, and also offer a slight discount for long-term members who opt-into auto-pay or a large discount for members who pay for an entire year up front. There are many incentives you could try, just remember that personalization is key, and you can never go wrong with surprise-and-delight freebies. Meaning, surprise and reward subscription members for their patronage on milestone dates and anniversaries with your brand by including mini-bottles or other thoughtful freebies in their boxed order.
There are a lot of bells and whistles to think about when you’re running a subscription service as part of your liquor business. Similar to the branding of your product packaging, the packaging of your monthly subscriptions must also capture your unique brand. Instead of working with multiple designers for your branding, advertising, and packaging, it’s best to work with one branding agency, like FTx 360, that can meet all of your marketing needs. We offer creative services to handle designing your branded packaging.
Advertising on the social media sites Facebook and Instagram can be treacherous for brands that sell liquor products, but this isn’t to say it’s impossible. Simply approach your social media ad campaign strategy with eyes wide open… and don’t blink.
Here are the sobering stats. Alcohol brands pay the highest advertising Cost Per Click on Facebook than brands of any other industry. Their CPC cost averages about $0.20, which is due in large part to strict Facebook regulations regarding ads featuring alcohol, and also due to the flooded market. There are a ton of alcohol and liquor brands that invest in ongoing Facebook ad campaigns, and you will have to compete with them.
Interestingly, more than 80% of alcohol marketing campaigns on Facebook appear on Facebook’s News Feed. That might not be where you want your ad to appear, but once you understand that News Feeds is more likely to feature your ad than any other area of Facebook, you can tailor your branded advertisements accordingly to increase the CTR. Be advised, however, that any kind of advertising on Facebook will come with risks. The CPC jumped more than 122% between 2017 – 2018, and though the CPC tapered off between 2019 – 2020, the CPA, or Cost Per Acquisition, actually increased by 76%.
Advertising on Facebook is costly, yet highly beneficial when it comes to increasing brand awareness and also driving in-store sales. We aren’t interested in discouraging liquor business owners like yourself from launching targeted Facebook campaigns, but we strongly recommend you partner with an experienced digital marketing agency like FTx 360 for all of your Facebook advertising.
There you have it—our top three marketing strategies for liquor stores, liquor brands, and liquor wholesalers.
Would you like a team of experienced designers and digital marketers to rebrand your liquor business and market your products online? FTx 360 offers affordable content marketing and digital marketing services that can help your brand stand out from the competition and stay front-of-mind with consumers. Contact our marketing specialists to learn more.