Beverage Media Group’s Zachary Sussman writes an article on the burgeoning significance of “hand selling” niche varietals. The explosion of consumer interest in new and exciting beverage experiences, he describes in an article slanted toward the retail point of sale, is just as critically relevant to the producer of these more eclectic vintages. Without intending it, Sussman’s argument makes a compelling case for the use of beverage selling technology (specifically “Sales Automation”) as a means for improving hand sell capabilities, and selling more product as a result. Allow us to draw the correlation for our readers.
“In Today’s Competitive Market, Hand-Selling Gives Savvy Merchants An Edge” notes how the rise of the non-descript and soulless inventories carried by big box and warehouse stores drive a hunger for a more refined and personalized experience — one that neighborhood sellers have been increasingly stepping in to deliver to customers. To succeed at moving more cases of Malbec and Xinomavro to customers trying to branch out beyond Cabernet and Merlot requires the retailer to inhabit the role of “curator”; offering more detail about the product than price and food pairing suggestions. Those who are better at providing customers that type of sales experience are the ones growing their brand and their business in the communities they serve.
Suppliers can support this trend by providing more and better trade marketing materials and promotional activities. However, these things are costly and a supplier needs to optimize how those precious marketing and promotional dollars are spent, ensuring the right materials are allocated to the most effective markets. A tool that can log and monitor budget planning and allocations, program performance by market and specific locations while tracking all the expenses incurred (like chargebacks from distributors and vendors against program) makes it possible to manage this diversified and highly targeted activity for maximum return on effort and investment.
Coupled with robust sales execution automation, the process of setting initiatives and sales goals better aligned with the growing trend toward hand sells helps tame what Sussman calls, “a dizzying range of options now flooding the market”. The ability to be nimbler with sales planning and execution is key because what sells hot in Boston or Bay Ridge may diverge widely from what’s killing in Chicago or Sheboygan.
Even more interesting is the intersection of consumer appetite for risk versus price among a customer culture growing into more sophisticated tastes; a dynamic Sussman refers to as, “where the hand-sell overlaps with the upsell.” He quotes a retailer who notes that her clientele is risk tolerant when it comes to trying a new varietal at the $20 price point, but grows more risk-averse as the price tag approaches $30 for a grape they can’t well pronounce. However, the spectrum of the risk to price correlation will vary widely by neighborhood. That aversion price is bound to be lower in Oakland or the Bronx than it will be in Mill Valley or on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Again, technology exists to help manage and optimize market level pricing in ways that manual processes alone would not be able to successfully manage.
Think about it. If you provide better means for your customers to move product, and you have firm control and data visibility into your pricing, sales planning and execution, you can help propel this wave and ride it all the way to profitability!