Kevin Schild, Schild's IGA
Beer & Wine
Department Size: 13,000 SQ FT
Annual Sales: $4.2m
We’ve always had a decent wine selection, but when I took over ownership of the store from my dad I was ready to take things up a level--so we purchased our tasting license. We started offering a weekly wine tasting on Fridays from 3-6 p.m. and in just one week the increase we saw in sales paid for the initial $500 licensure fee. So, when the next holiday season rolled around, we decided to host a larger ticketed event complete with store-made food and vendors to sample a total of 16-20 bottles. This event was so successful that we now host two regular wine events in addition to our weekly tasting. Today, we have tripled our selling space for wine and still see a 20 percent surge in wine sales, equaling more than $9,000 per month.
Gross Profit on Wine Bottles
Increase in Selling Space
Increase in Wine Sales
WHY IT WORKS
For Our Shoppers
Fun Social Event
With a variety of wines and food, the events have received great feedback for their good times.
Shoppers get to experience wines that they have never tasted before and learn more about pairing wine with their meals.
Customers receive a 10 percent discount on cases.
For Our Store
Events are good opportunities to upsell wine and other products across the store.
Makes our Store a Destination
The store has gained a reputation as a knowledgeable wine vendor with a good selection, allowing customers to get their ingredients and wine pairings in one step.
No Upfront Cost
The tickets cover the cost of food and wine. There is no out-of-pocket expense.
- Start with Weekly Tastings
Schedule vendors and notify your customers about upcoming events.
- Make Tickets Available to Larger Events
Decide how many tasters your store can accommodate and price tickets to cover costs of food and additional wines.
- Plan Your Larger Events
Pick a time of year that makes sense. Schild's IGA selected the start of the holiday season at the beginning of November and again in February. Arrange for vendors and determine which of your local food offerings would pair well with featured wines. Offer a case sale to incentivize larger purchases.
- Advertise Ticket Availability
To start generating buzz, provide local business owners and other influencers with complimentary tickets.
Selling tickets for $15 per person or $25 per couple allows you to cover the costs and avoid out-of-pocket expenses.
- Keep the Food Flowing
Remember, you are first and foremost a grocery store. If you give your guests a $100 bottle of wine but run out of food, they are only going to remember that they left hungry.
- Leverage Social Media
Find unique ways to promote the event. For example, try developing a unique recipe for the event and share it with your followers to build buzz.
- Remember the Basics
At one event, they showcased new wines that customers wanted to buy, but they hadn't put the new wine in the system yet, so they couldn't ring them up.
- Ask Good Questions
The owner and his wife drink red wine, and initially assumed everyone else did too. But, they soon discovered that many from the Great Lakes region prefer sweeter wines. Now they are sure to ask, "what do you normally drink?" before suggesting a wine to sample.
Have a best practice of your own? We want to hear it!