As a bottle shop owner, your typical day will include meeting with liquor wholesalers, placing orders, receiving shipments, supervising staff, managing the books, and chatting with customers.
In addition, you will want to be diligent about monitoring stock and keeping a close eye on cash sales and expensive inventory.
It’s important to realise that an absentee owner in this industry is typically not as successful, so be prepared to be heavily involved in the day-to-day operations, devoting some long hours to both running and growing your business.
Regardless of the demanding schedule, if you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you are already well on your way to experiencing success!
Bottle shop trends:
Almost every industry has to pay attention to rising and falling trends in order to ensure it’s meeting the expectations of its clientele. Here are a few to keep in mind for the bottle shop sector:
- Offer bigger and better: Satisfy the curious palate by offering a wide variety of unique, high-quality products.
- Partner with other businesses: Network with local breweries and wineries to offer a selection of their products.
- Provide superior customer service: Socialise with your patrons. Learn their preferences, and then offer suggestions about new items they might enjoy.
- Educate your customers: Host community events like in-house wine tastings, mixology classes, and food-pairing sessions.
- Upsell: In addition to alcohol, consider selling various charcuterie items like fresh fruit, cured meat, cheese, crackers, and olives. Your customers will be willing to pay a little more for the added convenience of one-stop shopping.
Keeping up with current trends is a perfect way to engage your customers and provide them with unique experiences that will keep them coming back for more.
One of the most important tools for growing your bottle shop is effective marketing. Some tried-and-true options include:
- Create an inviting ambience: A visually appealing interior and exterior can have a huge impact on a customer’s initial impression. Install new signage and design eye-catching window displays to encourage passersby to come inside and make impulse purchases.
- Establish a strong online presence: Optimise your website and post frequently on multiple social platforms. Be sure to share relevant content about upcoming events, new products, food-pairing tips, and creative cocktail recipes.
- Develop an effective email strategy: Send out regular emails to notify customers of upcoming promotions, discounts, or events.
- Engage with the community: Attend local events and be sure to distribute marketing materials like flyers and business cards. Consider sponsoring a local sports team or club to establish a loyal customer base with individuals in your community.
These are just a few ways to grab the attention of both existing and potential customers. Take some time to think about what makes your bottle shop unique, and then get creative in how you tell people about your store!
The right equipment
It’s time to say goodbye to that old, bulky cash register and upgrade to a point-of-sale (POS) system. This innovative tool will help you build customer loyalty, increase engagement with your patrons, and implement a smoother workflow for your business.
A POS system will help you effectively manage your inventory. It will automatically add, adjust, and count the inventory in stock, alerting you when it’s time to reorder. Plus, it will enable you to monitor discounts and refunds and to track sales by item, brand, type, or purchase date.
Finally, this nifty system will capture valuable customer data and purchase history information that will help you strategically target your marketing efforts. By implementing this type of technology, you will automatically reduce a few of those long hours we talked about earlier!
The road to success
A recent report states that the key success factors for the bottle shop sector are the development of a symbiotic relationship with another industry, proximity to key markets, and the ability to control stock on hand.
In addition, you must be diligent about remaining legally compliant while maintaining competitive prices and carefully managing cash flow.
According to Terry Mott, former CEO of the Australian Liquor Stores Association, “The most successful independent operators are constantly fine-tuning their offers and getting in different products that appeal to their local customers.”
So, take the time to study your demographics and assess what’s currently in demand. If you focus on giving your customers a unique experience they can only find by visiting your shop, you will be setting a solid foundation for future growth and success.
Although it may seem a bit odd to address now, regardless of how much you enjoy ownership in the bottle shop industry, it’s always wise to begin preparing your exit strategy now.
This doesn’t mean you intend to sell your shop any time soon, it’s simply a way of preparing for your future and being ready when life moves you in a different direction. Until then, bottoms up!