The Challenge

As one of five brands we represent from within Liquor Stores Limited Partnerships, Wine and Beyond provides a unique, engaging in-store shopping experience unlike other retailers in the same category. But because there were only two locations in Edmonton, and due to the massive size of the stores, Wine and Beyond is considered to be a "destination store" because of its need to draw from a wide geographic target to meet sales objectives.

This presented a challenge in a category where convenience is a big selling point for consumers.

The Insight & Strategy

Through customer research we conducted, both in-store and through phone interviews, we determined a key differentiator between the average liquor store customer and Wine and Beyond customers: the desire for a curated, refined shopping experience of sampling, browsing, and discovery. These weren't pop-in customers "grabbing and going" with what they bought week after week.

We knew our strategy would need to start with building a compelling narrative that gave life to the unique in-store experience, which included celebrity tastings, guest chefs, clinics, a spirits and growler bar — all amongst the biggest selection of wine and fine spirits in Alberta. To do this we made a significant shift from traditional media and focused on building engagement through a Customer Relationship Management program that would build loyalty and reach the discerning consumer.

The Execution

The three pillars of the CRM program we developed from the ground up for Wine and Beyond included social media, email marketing and events. We used social media to both engage influencers and promote contests with the goal of building the newsletter database. We created emails that shared rich content with customers, including tips, recipes, product announcements and offers — content we also extended through social media. We also created in-store contests and promotions to get sign-ups, and hosted special events that attracted customers from across the city — all of which enabled us to quickly build a robust database.

The Result

Our Wine and Beyond CRM program significantly increased customer loyalty in comparison to previous years, with an above average open rate of 36-38%. What was even more significant was the shift in membership post-implementation of CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation) with an open rate increase to an average of 43-45%.

In Q2 of 2014, as a result of our CRM and other marketing activities, Wine and Beyond sales were 22% above plan, results which steadily increased throughout the remaining quarters in 2014.

With only two big box wine stores in market, Top Drawer recommended we focus our marketing through building engagement with consumers who are passionate about wine through a digital CRM program. This strategy literally transformed our business.

— Stephen Bebis, CEO, Liquor Stores Limited Partnership

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