Just trying to understand the TWS strategy so that members might be able to suggest some ideas that may or may not be adopted but which would ultimately make our society more successful.
For instance, reading Steve’s comments from the Pre-AGM ask me anything,
“I mentioned in an earlier question that I do not want us to grow for its own sake. In truth, we have to grow in order to sustain the investments required to help us survive and compete - new warehouse, new web-site, better communications tools, better data and analytics – we have to make these investments and we are unable to make them without an overall growth in membership. That said, we have another reason to grow and that is the demographic make-up of our existing member base – we are all quite old! Just to put this in context: our biggest and highest spending sub-set of our membership base has an average age of 66. (about 40,000 of the 141,000) The next biggest sub-set (about 35,000) have an average age of 59. All those interested in a Society that is secured for the future would support us in planning for our future!”
I don’t fall into that highest spending cohort, and account for only about 0.02% of the society’s annual revenue but its interesting to think how these two facts could be combined - old members spend the most and they are struggling to get new members.
So logically, the direct question is how do you get old younger members. one suggestion would be to suggest something like a “wine trust fund” where ownership falls to the child at 18. You’re then in a position to encourage older members/high spenders to spend more on long ageing wines (possibly EP) and at the same time you develop a loyal membership with people in their 20s. I’m almost certain you’d have to think about tax however as just one hurdle!
This would be very niche, but it would add incremental members into the society in the targeted “high value” demographic… whilst all members would benefit from economies of scale. Win-win as Alan Partridge would say.
Equally, if you back out from the accounts that the “average member” spends GBp 700 and the society is making an average gross margin of 20% or GBp 130/member per year…
That would suggest that if every current member was given a “free membership” to give away to someone a year and they were incentivised to regularly use TWS as an “average member” then the society would still earn GBp 110 on that initial year membership and GBp 130+ going forward. In fact the breakeven point would be if just 15% of those “free memberships” given away became “average” members TWS would at least break even and at the same time grow (which actually reduces that 15% further due to economies of scale).
But if at the end of the day, and coming back to the original question I had, was that working capital, storage or logistics became the bottleneck then the equation changes due to Capex requirements.
So to your question, basically, just interested in how our society works and plans to remain afloat!